Six candidates, including three incumbents, say they would each bring something different to the Glenbard High School District 87 board if elected in April.
There are four open seats on the board -- each with a four-year term. Current board President Rich Heim, and board members Tom Voltaggio and Bob Friend are seeking re-election. Also running are newcomers Jennifer Jendras, a parent of two children in the district; Anthony Schullo, a 2011 Glenbard North graduate; and Judith Weinstock, a former Glenbard West teacher.
Current board member Yadav Nathwani is not seeking another term on the school board, but is running for Milton Township trustee.
Heim, 51, of Lombard, president of Advocate South Suburban Hospital and a board member since 2009, said in the past two years since he has been board president, new Superintendent Dave Larson was hired, a five-year teachers contract was ratified, negotiations have begun with other unionized staff members, and the district is continuing work on its curriculum.
Voltaggio, 61, of Glen Ellyn, director of PositivEnergy Practice LLC, a consulting engineering firm, has been on the board since 2005 and previously served between 1991 and 2003. In total, he says he has had some 50 years of contact with the school district -- as a student, community member and parent.
When he was elected to the board in 1991, he described the situation as "chaotic."
More than two decades later, he says the district is on firm financial footing, has visionary leadership, enjoys improving test scores and is continuing work on improving minority student achievement.
"I've never seen Glenbard in a better position than what it's in right now," Voltaggio said.
Friend, 60, of Lombard, a retired power mechanic with the United Parcel Service and a board member since 1999, said he feels connected with the district, having been on the board during approval of the new teachers contract, while costs have been kept under control, and new national Common Core standards are being implemented into the curriculum.
Friend said the district should better use its partnership with the Technology Center of DuPage "to our full benefit" to prepare students who may not necessarily be going to college, but who are going into the workforce after graduation.
Jendras, 44, of Lombard, an occupational safety and health instructor for the U.S. Department of Labor, said she's running for the school board to stay involved in her children's education. She says she was very involved as a former PTA parent at Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard and wants to maintain that focus now that her children are in high school.
"Diversity is an important thing," Jendras said. "It's important to have more people (on the board) with kids in the schools because they have the pulse of what's going on."
Schullo, 19, of Carol Stream, a sophomore at North Central College in Naperville, was on the Glenbard Leadership Council during his time in high school -- a group of students from each of the four high schools that regularly met with then-Superintendent Mike Meissen and school board members. He says that experience furthered his interest in wanting to become a school board member, which he hopes could lead to becoming a school district superintendent one day.
Schullo is currently studying history and secondary education at North Central, and believes he could provide perspective on current trends in education -- such as Common Core standards -- that he is now studying in college. He also said board members need to be more visible around the schools to talk to teachers and department chairs.
"In my whole four years at Glenbard North, I never saw a board member in the building," Schullo said. "Board members need to be around more -- and I need to see them. I would hope to be a person who is around."
Weinstock, 61, of Glen Ellyn, was an English teacher at Glenbard West for 32 years until she retired four years ago. She said she'd like to see a reconfiguration of the school day that would allow students more opportunities to take electives. For example, students who are in the band have to take summer school to fit all their classes in. The emphasis on the Common Core "limits students," she said.
The Glenbard Education Association, which represents 580 teachers, psychologists, social workers, nurses, librarians, counselors and department chairs throughout the district, has endorsed Heim, Voltaggio, Schullo and Weinstock.
District 87 encompasses 45 square miles and includes Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Lombard and portions of Bloomingdale, Hanover Park, Addison, Downers Grove and Wheaton.
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