Two incumbents, one newcomer on top in race for Maine Dist. 207 board

  • Paula Meyer Besler

    Paula Meyer Besler

  • Sean Sullivan

    Sean Sullivan

  • Teri Collins

    Teri Collins

Updated 4/8/2015 12:50 AM

Voters in Maine Township High School District 207 appear to have chosen to maintain the direction being set by the current school board, although not completely.

With all precincts reporting, voters elected two incumbents to return to their seats, but they removed a third incumbent, according to unofficial election returns.


A political newcomer finished third for the last available seat on the board, which oversees the district that encompasses Maine East, South and West high schools.

Incumbent Paula Meyer Besler had 5,531 votes, followed by incumbent Sean Sullivan with 5,149 and newcomer Teri Collins with 4,935 -- earning spots on the board. Jill Dolan had 3,914 votes, incumbent Pablo Morales had 3,335, and Chimanlal Patel had 1,947, according to unofficial results.

Besler, the director of community and health relations at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, was appointed to the board last April following the resignation of longtime board member Donna Pellar, who stepped down after 19 years when she moved out of the district. Besler said during the campaign that there's synergy between her work at the hospital and in education, since she believes education is a social determinant of health. She said the school district should continue to make education "culturally competent" for all students.

For Sullivan, an eight-year board member, the election results mean a third 4-year term on the board. Sullivan, the vice president of business services at Triton College, previously said "education runs through my veins," since a number of family members are teachers, and he said voters should choose him if they like the direction the school district is going.

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Sullivan ran on a slate with fellow board members Besler and Morales. Morales was appointed to the board last August after Eric Leys, a 13-year board member, stepped down when he took a job out of state.

The board's newcomer, Collins, is executive director of the Maine Community Youth Assistance Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on drug and alcohol prevention. A chemist by training and holder of six patents, Collins has worked on both the nonprofit and corporate sides.

All of the candidates, with the exception of Patel, are Park Ridge residents, and all are parents of students who either currently go, or formerly went, to Maine South.

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