Sandy Jacobs: 2023 Candidate for Antioch High School District 117 School Board


Town: Antioch

Age on Election Day: 72

Occupation: 6th grade teacher

Employer: Millburn School District #24

Previous offices held:


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 because I am interested in issues that affect our school children. Whether the students are in grade school or high school, the quality of their education depends greatly on how much the adults in charge of the schools care about them. I have been a teacher for over 30 years and what goes on in the schools is determined by the administration at the buildings. The school board is in charge of those administrators. A good school board can have a positive affect on the district which trickles down to the teachers and students.

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

A: The school board does not set the curriculum. That is done by the teachers and curriculum directors. They are the professionals who know what the best practices are and how to implement them for our school. The role of the board is to approve of the curriculum when it is brought to them. It is also to listen to why this curriculum is being recommended and to hear what the positives and negatives are. If it is warranted or there are concerns, the role of the board is to hear all sides and to make a final decision either for or against the recommendation.

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

A: At this time, there are not any concerns. District 117 is highly respected and has been ranked as one of the top school districts in Illinois. Each of our high schools has been recognized for the work they are doing and the quality of their programs.

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 past few years have brought forward some constituents that have not agreed with the policies of the district. The board has listened to their concerns - all of them - in Open Session during Public Comments. Each of the members of them public receives an answer shortly after they have spoken at a board meeting. They receive either a phone call or an email. There is often discussion among the board members about concerns that were brought forth and we all weigh in on thoughts about what was being challenged - for example, the wearing of masks in school. The results of the discussions are shared with those who brought the issues up - either via phone or email.

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: If a new resurgences occurs, the call for remote learning in place of in person attendance has to be well thought out if it is going to happen. There were so many challenges with keeping the children home to learn. It was not a positive time for the emotional health of our children and their academic success. We can see that now - all of the challenges as well as the isolation. It is a different time now because there is a vaccine and scientists and medical professionals understand the disease much better. All of these factors will help to guide discussion as to the best decision that should be made for our children and our schools.

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: I have been lucky to work in groups that have been able to work together to come to agreements and determine policy. Every member may not agree with every decision, but when there is a disagreement, all thoughts are shared and we listen respectfully to each other. The thoughts are discussed and a decision is made by the majority. My role is to express my thoughts if they are different from those of others and to be willing to compromise for the good of the district. There are people from all different backgrounds and experiences on the board. Each one brings something important to their role as a member.

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

A: I have a lot of experience with the district, having served over 20 years as a member of the board. I have seen the changes the district has gone through and know that it is getting better all the time. Our district is always looking for ways to improve. The people who work in the schools genuinely care about the students and each other. There is a great deal of pride that you can see in the students and the staff. I would like to think that the school board has had a part in making sure people know they are valued and appreciated. That is why I think I am a good candidate for the job.

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

A: I would love to see more students able to spend a day "shadowing" someone that is doing a career they might be interested in for their future. The school would have a list of approved people in different professions that would be willing to have them spend a day seeing what that career is like. It seems like this would be a great way for students to get a feel for what they might like to pursue in their future. It could also be a way for students to find out that they are not interested in something.

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