Park Ridge man selected for vacant District 64 board seat

A Park Ridge resident has been chosen to fill a vacancy on the embattled Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 board.

Demetri Touzios will succeed Nicole Woitowich, who resigned in January.

Board members unanimously selected Touzios during a special meeting Monday night, a district spokesman said. He'll be sworn in March 16 and will serve until spring 2025.

"It's nice to think you can be part of something that's a little bit bigger than yourself," Touzios said in a news release.

Elected in 2021, Woitowich was the second board member to resign in less than a year. Rebecca Little did so in February 2022.

Often a political hornet's nest, the District 64 board has seen more controversy than usual in the last couple years.

Officials have drawn criticism from some members of the community over COVID-19 mitigations, a plan to launch all-day kindergarten classes and an aborted plan to reschedule a winter holiday concert to spring 2023, as well as other issues.

Superintendent Eric Olson announced his resignation in January, citing unspecified "irreconcilable differences." Woitowich stepped down about a week later.

Touzios was among 12 applicants who applied and were interviewed for the board position, the spokesman said.

Eight candidates are seeking four seats on the board in the April 4 election. Six of the hopefuls are competing for three seats with 4-year terms. A separate contest for a two-year term drew two candidates.

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