Judith Buczkiewicz: 2023 candidate for Medinah Elementary District 11 school board


Town: Medinah

Age on Election Day: 42

Occupation: 8th Grade English Teacher

Employer: Berkeley School District #87

Previous offices held: none


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: I am running for office to advocate for the community and to be involved in the educational process. I believe that I would represent all citizens of School District #11. I value public education and find student success incredibly rewarding. Being a teacher myself, I feel very comfortable, confident, and familiar with school dynamics and would make a great asset to the Board of Education.

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

A: Teachers know their students best, so they should play an essential role in the determining factor of curriculum. Ideally, teachers should browse through several research based curriculums that all align to the Common Core Standards. They should choose one that best fits the needs of their students. Once a curriculum is chosen, teachers (in multiple grade levels) should pilot it. Parents should be made aware of the potential curriculum as well.

Once a successful program is piloted, it should propose it to the Board of Education for approval. If and when approved, the board should monitor the progress of the new curriculum through teacher and parent feedback, map assessments, as well as other data driven assessments.

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

A: When deciding to move a few years ago, I prioritized moving to a good community - one with great citizens and schools! I have found both here in Medinah. The school ratings are stellar and the neighbors are friendly and homely. Teaching in a middle school, I place a major emphasis on the social-emotional learning standards (SEL). I feel that teaching the strategies to handle emotions in the primary, intermediate, and middle school grades can positively impact emotional situations in adult life.

I would also like to familiarize myself with the district's core curriculum to assure that all students are learning and achieving their grade level standards, in addition to being challenged at their instructional level.

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: It is the moral duty of the Board of Education to assure that district policies and procedures are being followed within the district.

As a teacher for the past 18 years, I have had the privilege to be a part of many district level committees in which several voices needed to be heard and several issues needed to be addresses in a nonjudgmental manner.

We must listen to each other's perspectives, be understanding to each other's needs, and be flexible to determine what is in the best interest of the students.

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: Not only has the pandemic has had a significant impact on student's academic status, but it has greatly impacted student's social-emotional status as well. We MUST do what is in the best interest of our students to keep them in the classroom. Parents, teachers, and students all agree that remote learning may not the best option for school.

Along with the recommendation of all district stakeholders (staff, parents, students, taxpayers, etc.), the Board of Education would need to meet to discuss a decision in which is in the best interest of the students in School District #11.

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: As a teacher, I meet with colleagues on a daily basis to discuss curriculum, student progress, challenges, and goals. I actively participate in a goal oriented manner. In addition, I remain an active voice who is focused, flexible, and willing to listen (and change) for the best interest of the students.

As a Board of Education member, I would participate in a similar way. I will be an active voice for the community, I will be focused, attentive, and flexible to meet one common goal - student academic gains and accomplishments.

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

A: My entire life, I have had a passion to teach children - from as young as I can remember! I have a lot of essential qualities to be a productive member of the Board of Education. I am organized, prepared, and responsible. I feel obligated to meet the needs of students as well as the community.

I have a positive, goal oriented mindset and know how to effectively collaborate within a school system. My top priority is student achievement. As a board member, I will make it a priority to meet the needs of the students in District #11.

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

A: Making connections with the students and community is key. I feel that community involvement is essential

to a school system. I would like to get the input from the community to better our school district.

The whole concept of "It takes a village to raise" a child is real. We need to work together as a whole community to bring an awareness of what is needed to better School District #11.

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