College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn District 41 among hottest school board races

  • The pursuit for three available seats on the College of DuPage board is just one of many contested school board races on the April 2017 ballot.

    The pursuit for three available seats on the College of DuPage board is just one of many contested school board races on the April 2017 ballot. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 12/21/2016 5:05 PM

More than a dozen contested school board races will appear on DuPage County ballots in the spring.

Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 has the most crowded field, with 10 candidates vying for just four seats. But there are plenty of other interesting races, too.


Here's a quick look at some of the hottest ...

College of DuPage

Two years ago, a dozen candidates ran in the most closely watched race for the board of trustees in recent memory.

In that contest, which focused mostly on controversies surrounding then-President Robert Breuder, both incumbents were toppled by three candidates who vowed to bring change.

The April campaign likely will have a different tone.

The political firestorm that fueled COD's last election is over. None of the three incumbents whose terms are expiring -- Erin Birt, Dianne McGuire and David Olsen -- is seeking re-election. And the field looking to replace them is smaller.

There are four candidates vying for two 6-year spots: Christine Fenne of Wheaton, Dan Markwell of Lombard, Taso Triantafillos of Addison and Rafath Waheed of Lisle. Meanwhile, Alan L. Bennett of Lombard and Husna T. Ghani of Oak Brook are running for one 2-year seat.

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"April 2015 was a change election to bring needed reforms," said COD board Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi, who won her seat in 2015. "April 2017 is just as important to ensure the board remains dedicated to advancing good governance principles and preserving and protecting our accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission."

District 41

Voters have a lot of choices in Glen Ellyn, where 10 people are running for four open 4-year seats.

The only incumbent who has decided to run is Willie DiFabio, who was appointed to a one-year seat in June. At the time, DiFabio said he didn't have "any desire" to seek a full four-year term. Prior to his appointment, DiFabio served two terms on the board, from 1997 to 2005.

Board members Drew Ellis, Joe Bochenski and Patrick Escalante are not seeking re-election.

Other candidates are Jeff Cooper, Erin Dieter, Marty Glover Boyd, Linda D'Ambrosio, Bruce Currie, Jason Loebach, Al D'Ambrosio, Robert Bruno and Janet Wagner.

District 53

There are contested races for both the unexpired 2-year term and the four 4-year terms on the Butler Elementary District 53 board. The district was plagued by a National Geographic Bee cheating scandal earlier this year.


Cabin Kim and incumbent Ahmad T. Sulaiman may face each other in the race for the unexpired 2-year term. Sulaiman also has filed to run for a 4-year term and will have to choose one or the other before the election.

None of the others pursuing 4-year terms are incumbents. They are Rahma Hasan, Terri Arain, Sally Beatty, Margo Tomaras, Eric Gausche, James Chow and Christopher S. Edmonds.

District 100

Three incumbents -- David Vogel, Susan Ralph and Nancy Gonzales -- will have tough campaigns as they face five other candidates in their quest to serve another term on the Fenton High School District 100 board.

The eight candidates are vying for four open 4-year terms. The other hopefuls are Jacci Ramirez, Mary Ann Payton-Howell, Patty Jalowiec, Monika Metzger and Oronzo Peconio.

Juliet Rago is running unopposed for the unexpired 2-year seat.

District 204

Two incumbents seeking to keep their seats on the Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board face challenges from six other hopefuls vying for the four open 4-year seats.

Board members Cathy Piehl and Michael Raczak are running for new terms. Board member Benny White decided to seek a seat on the Naperville City Council instead and board member Maria Curry did not file for re-election.

Challengers include Vasavi Chakka, who ran unsuccessfully for the board in 2013, Laurie Donahue, chairwoman of the city of Naperville's Sister Cities Commission, and Renata Sliva, who ran unsuccessfully in 2015. Candidates Susan Taylor-Demming, Marland Brazier and J. Randy Sidio round out the field.

District 200

Only two incumbents, Jim Mathieson and Brad Paulsen, are seeking a second term on the Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 school board. Longtime board member and past president Barb Intihar and Joann Coghill have decided not to run for re-election.

Others running for the four available 4-year terms are Rob Hanlon, Harold Lonks, Thomas E. Hudock, Neil F. Harnen, Marcus D. Hamilton and Ginna Ericksen.

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