Former member returning to Glen Ellyn District 41 school board

 
 
Updated 6/7/2016 4:35 PM
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  • Glen Ellyn resident Willie DiFabio has been named to the Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 school board. He was selected from a field of 19 applicants.

    Glen Ellyn resident Willie DiFabio has been named to the Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 school board. He was selected from a field of 19 applicants.

Former Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 school board member Willie DiFabio has been appointed to a one-year seat on the panel.

The board chose DiFabio from a field of 19 applicants seeking to fill the vacant seat. Unlike previous decisions by the often-divided board, the remaining six members unanimously supported DiFabio.

He will be sworn in at a board meeting June 27.

"I'm excited to be able to work with Willie in that he brings a strong understanding of governance and the role of board members, obviously having served in that, but also still being involved with the district," board President Erica Nelson said Tuesday.

DiFabio, 66, was first elected to the board in 1997. After two terms, he decided not to seek re-election in 2005. More recently, the substitute teacher at Hadley Junior High sat on a committee of parents and taxpayers that studied the future of the district's schools.

"I just very much appreciate the trust the board has extended and I want to live up to that trust," said DiFabio, adding that he aims to help build a "stronger team" on the board.

District spokeswoman Erika Krehbiel, who worked with the group, called DiFabio a "very strong voice" and "dedicated" task force member.

That committee released a report in April endorsing a project to remove portable classrooms and replace them with a brick-and-mortar addition at Hadley. Some members also supported expanding elementary schools to house proposed full-day kindergarten classes and make other building improvements.

DiFabio says he supported both recommendations.

"They've outlived their usefulness," he said of the Hadley portable classrooms. "And it's a safety issue. It's a health issue. It's an efficiency issue."

DiFabio will serve until April 2017, when the seat -- and three others -- will be up for election. He says he won't seek a four-year term.

"I just don't have any desire to do that," he said. "There's an awful lot of really talented and younger people willing to get involved."

DiFabio succeeds Dean Elger, who announced in early May that he will step down at the end of the board meeting next Monday because he is moving to Utah.

The other six members had until June 17, or 45 days from Elger's written resignation, to make their pick. DiFabio's appointment came after the board held closed-door interviews with other applicants.

DiFabio has lived in Glen Ellyn for 25 years and has two adult sons, who both graduated from the district.

"He's just very well-respected, and so I think that was what raised to the surface," Nelson said.

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