Saul Olivas: 2023 candidate for East Aurora Unit District 131 board, 4-year term


Town: Aurora

Age on Election Day: 41

Occupation: Teacher

Employer: Oswego Community Unit District 308

Previous offices held: No past public office 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: As a board member, this would allow me to advocate for students, the community, and the future of the district. As a long life community member and alumni of District 131, it would be a privilege to serve and continue to improve the district for the success of our students.

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

A: The role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum would be to first listen to the recommendations provided by the district leadership team and teacher input, to ensure it is the right fit for our student population. Once the curriculum has been approved, the board will monitor through professional development feedback and student data result from curriculum use. This would allow the school board to continually monitor and support curriculum initiatives.

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

A: To be able to answer this question regarding curriculum, I would need a better understanding of the current curriculum programs provided by the district, implementations and data collected from the use of such curriculum.

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: If elected, my role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies is to have clear in-depth research knowledge, to be able to advocate for the students of East Aurora. I want to ensure the policies and curriculum support our students' demographics.

I would provide leadership by providing dialogue with the school board members, district leaders, staff members, students and constituents to make the best decision for our students as a team.

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 another massive outbreak of infectious disease would occur I believe District 131 is in a great position to implement the best decision for the students and staff members after listening to ALL stakeholders. I am pleased to say in attending the board meetings during the pandemic much feedback was shared from district staff and parents.

First, students were able to get one-to-one access to technology and quickly connect online to attend online learning. Teachers were resourceful and creative in helping our students from kindergarten to high school.

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: According to, policy is defined as, "a set of ideas or plans that is used as a basis for making decisions, especially in politics, economics, or business." My experience in volunteering with nonprofit organizations in the Aurora community and many school committees has allowed me to work with many diverse individuals to set policy to ensure things can run smoothly.

To ensure the school board team reaches agreement, we must be open-minded to others opinions, communicate with each other respectfully, collaborate, do the research and work as a team to provide the non-negotiables. Being able to collaborate and having those open conversations as a team will produce effective actions and decisions to continue improving the district for our community.

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

A: I believe I am the best candidate for the position of school board member because I am fully invested in this community and the only candidate with classroom experience. I have been a resident and active community member of East Aurora for more than 30 years. As an educator, East Aurora alumni and current Professional Educator License holder, I bring a diverse perspective to the team.

Also, my endorsements in English as a Second Language and bilingual education would allow me to provide feedback as the district continues to move into Dual Language. I would love the opportunity to be elected to serve in the school board to continue advocating for our students, staff and community.

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

A: There are several ideas that cross my mind when talking about how to better the district. One of my ideas is to provide more hands-on learning with inquiry-based learning for all students. This method of teaching is more student-centered and allows students to guide their instruction through questioning and interpreting data collected by the students. It allows students to explore, create and present information to peers.

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