Judith Zapf: Candidate Profile
Wheaton Warrenville District 200 School Board
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Carol Stream
Family: Married to Mark Zapf for 18 years and Mom to Patrick, age 8
Occupation: Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage--Wheaton
Education: Bachelors of Science, Communications Management, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York
Civic involvement: Jefferson Preschool PTA, 2009-2012 Jefferson Preschool Classroom Volunteer, 2009-2012 Washington Elementary PTA, 2012-Present Washington Elementary Classroom Volunteer, 2012-Present Wheaton-Warrenville PTA Council, 2009-Present Illinois PTA, 2009 - Present National PTA, 2009 - Present Engage 200 Facilitating Team Member, 2013-2014 Friends of the Schools-Yes to the Jefferson Early Childhood Center Referendum, 2012-2013 Families for School Communities/Anti-Washington Redistricting Campaign, 2011-2012 St. Michael Catholic Church Religious Education Teacher, 2012-Present Cub Scout Pack 63 Den 9 Parent Volunteer, 2013-Present Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, 2013-present Illinois Association of Realtors, 2013-present National Association of Realtors, 2013-present
Elected offices held: Washington Elementary PTA President, 2013-2014 & 2014-2015 Wheaton-Warrenville PTA Council Corresponding Secretary, 2012-2013 & 2013-2014 Jefferson Preschool PTA President, 2010-2011 & 2011-2012
How satisfied are you that your school district is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
CUSD200 is doing an outstanding job of preparing students for their post-high-school lives. The results are impressive with a 92% Graduation rate (vs. state average: 86%); an 81% Post-Secondary Enrollment rate (vs. state average: 70%); and a Ready for College Coursework rate of 70% (vs. state average: 46%). At the lower levels the challenges are complex. We need to look at data in a way that reflects how exactly our schools are meeting the needs of all different learners - the students who are performing below grade level, those in the middle at grade level and those that are above grade level. We need to be moving each of those groups forward with differentiated instruction that meets their needs and sharing with our stake-holders how we're doing on that front.
What budgetary issues will your district have to confront during the next four years and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, be specific about programs and expenses that should be considered for reduction or elimination. On the income side, do you support any tax increases for local schools? Again, be specific.
Public education funding is an ongoing challenge. Four key factors will make this a critically important issue facing the CUSD200 School Board. (1) CUSD200 has the 2nd lowest per pupil spending compared to our benchmark districts. (2) Illinois contributes a smaller share to public education funding than any other state. (3) State funds for CUSD200 have decreased by more than $6 million since 2008. (4) Following last Fall's Senate Bill 16 that threatened to dramatically decrease CUSD200's state funding, there remains the likelihood of revised school funding legislation being put forward. If elected, I am committed to prudent financial management, to thoughtful consideration of all our options and to cost-effectively meeting the needs of our students.
Are you currently employed by or retired from a school district, if so, which one? Is any member of your direct family - spouse, child or child-in-law - employed by the school district where you are seeking a school board seat?
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups -- teachers, support staff, etc. -- what posture should the school board take? Do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
Salaries make up the largest portion of our CUSD200 budget at 67.3% of the total. Careful management of this expense is critical to the success of our students and to the financial health of our district. As a CUSD200 School Board Member, I would (1) seek to balance quality staff with a combination of experienced and new-to-the-profession educators; and (2) seek to obtain contracts that ensure maximum quality at minimal cost while maintaining CUSD200 as a "Destination District" for talented educators.
If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?
Our Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Shuler came to CUSD200 in September 2014. His contract runs through June 2018 and he has made a long-term public commitment to CUSD200. I do not believe the school board will address this issue in the near future.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I want to serve as a member of CUSD200 School Board because I am passionate about public education and am committed to providing the best possible and most cost-effective experience for our children. With six years tenure as an active and involved parent of a CUSD200 student I am well acquainted with our school system's success-stories and its challenges. While we can take great pride in our many accomplishments, we can also embrace opportunities to improve. As a member of the Facilitating Team for Engage 200, I got to know a large number of stake-holders. I experienced first-hand the willingness of our community to develop a better understanding of our schools and the challenges they face. I also witnessed the power of that same group in collaborating on the future of our schools. I am confident I can successfully and accurately represent our community as a member of the CUSD200 School Board.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Malala Yousafzai, International Advocate for Education/Nobel Peace Prize 2014
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
As one of four children each only a year apart, I learned the importance of getting along with one another while remaining true to oneself.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Had I realized how impactful and satisfying volunteer work can be, I would have stepped up my involvement earlier in life.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
English/Language Arts--The ability to clearly and effectively promote understanding through written and verbal communications is invaluable both in my personal and professional life.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
In whatever you're doing, make the very most of every moment you have