Amy L. Magnus: 2023 candidate for Roselle Elementary District 12 board


Town: Roselle

Age on Election Day: 48

Occupation: Administrative assistant

Employer: St. Walter Parish

Previous offices held: Appointed to District 12 board in June 2021


Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: Roselle School District 12 was one of only nine schools that were able to offer in person learning during the 2020-21 school year.

During this time the administration and teachers were still able to make progress on their strategic agenda goals and continue to push student achievement forward. As a result, our district experienced very little learning loss.

As a former early childhood educator and director and longtime parent of District 12, I was grateful for everything that was done to ensure the students safety, social emotional well-being and academic growth.

I really wanted to give back to the district that had given so much to me as a parent. I felt my knowledge and experience in early childhood education would be a benefit to the current board. I was appointed to the District 12 board of education in 2021 and since then have been committed to helping our district continue its positive momentum in student achievement, curriculum enhancements, and facility improvements.

Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?

A: The primary responsibility in setting and monitoring curriculum falls to the administration, instructional coaches, and teachers in our schools. Teachers know their students best and will always be the primary stakeholders in the curriculum that is utilized.

New curriculum is carefully selected by a committee of teachers and administration and is often times piloted by a group of students who will also give feedback.

Curriculum selections go before the board for final approval. The board will serve as the final checks and balances to ensure that all curriculum aligns with the goals of the district, the budget, and most importantly, is the best choice for our students and student achievement.

Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?

A: There has been a large focus on curriculum the last two school years. Updates to the science, English Language Arts, and math curriculums have all been adopted and we have seen our student achievement scores increase with the changes in curriculum that have been made so far which is a testament to the outstanding job our faculty in District 12 did when choosing new curriculum!

The next goal of the district is to work on integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into all areas of curriculum. There is a dedicated SEL task force comprised of administration, teachers, and parents and the goal is to write our own curriculum that will be streamlined across all curricular areas.

Research shows that students learn more, feel safer, and develop more trusting relationships when their social emotional needs are being met. Our schools have already included SEL curriculum lessons for several years. This has created a solid foundation for enhancing the SEL curriculum and providing more support to our students.

Q: How do you view your role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents - even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?

A: The bottom line is that the best interests of the district must take precedence over a personal position. As a current board member, it is my responsibility to separate personal emotion from decisions that need to be taken, especially if they align with the district's strategic agenda and put students at the center of the decision being made.

As the COVID-19 outbreak showed, not every decision made will make everyone happy. Board members also have the responsibility to their constituents to listen, give facts and the "why" behind decisions that were shared at a public forum, and direct concerns and questions to the superintendent as needed.

Q: Concerns are growing regarding a new resurgence of the pandemic. If another massive outbreak of infectious disease occurs, what have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will guide your decision making?

A: Again, if the COVID-19 outbreak taught us anything, it is that you cannot make everyone happy and there will never be 100% agreement in certain areas regarding the best way to manage the health and safety of every student. District 12 has already successfully navigated a pandemic while managing to drive student achievement in a positive direction.

I have full trust that if our schools face another infectious outbreak, administration will take what we have already successfully done and do it even better than before with full board support.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.

A: In my former career as an early childhood director, I have many years of experience in working and collaborating in a group to produce positive results. When it comes to school policy it is important that there are many entities working together to ensure that policies are fully vetted and reviewed before they even come to the board for approval.

One of District 12's strengths is ensuring that every step is taken when determining and adopting policies. Administration and lawyers look over the policy, a draft is presented to the board before any action is taken, community input is sought, and then a final review of the policy is given to the board for approval.

The final step is to have a plan and/or a goal to review and revisit the policy for any future adjustments that need to be made. When policy is presented to the board I listen, ask questions, and get as much information as needed to work effectively with the rest of the board members and administration in the final approval process.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: I earned my degree in Family Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Child Development from Northern Illinois University. I spent over 10 years working as an educator and a director in the field of Early Childhood.

In my year and a half on the District 12 board of education, I have demonstrated my ability to listen, ask questions, and respond to my constituents in an appropriate manner. I feel that my knowledge, education, and experience as a longtime District 12 parent has made me a valuable asset to our current board.

I believe that my experience in Child Development brings a unique perspective regarding social emotional learning and how it relates to academic progress.

Finally, I am a champion of the Roselle School District and community! I have three children, one of which is a District 12 graduate at Lake Park High School and another about to graduate eighth grade. My family has had so many positive experiences in the District 12 community, and I want to make sure every family feels the same!

Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?

A: Of course since I have an extensive background in early childhood education, I would love to see an early childhood program added to District 12. The addition of an early childhood program would make the transition from preschool to kindergarten a seamless one.

Currently, preschool children in the district needing early intervention have to provide their own transportation to our schools to receive services.

With the addition of an early childhood program, preschool families would have the benefit of being familiar with the staff and the buildings, children needing early intervention could receive services on-site as a part of their day, and the teachers would be able to prepare their preschoolers for the curriculum expectations of kindergarten.

Who knows, if a Pre-K program was added maybe I would come out of retirement to run it!

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