Hot races taking shape in several DuPage school districts
Races for school board in several districts across DuPage County are drawing high levels of interest as candidates vie for the chance to make decisions that affect education.
Issues such as the aftermath of a tax increase to fund school construction or the upcoming expiration of a superintendent's contract are among the conditions driving interest in some of the districts, where the number of candidates sometimes doubles the number of available seats.
Here is a look at who has filed to run for school board in nine of the hottest races across the county. All candidates are set to appear on the April 2 ballot.
Eight candidates are seeking four seats on the board representing the 13-school district, where voters in November approved a $168.5 million tax increase that will fund several construction projects.
Only one incumbent, board secretary Karen Steufen of Elmhurst, is among them. Others seeking the seats include Bojana Ozegovic Carey of Elmhurst, Paul DeMichele of Bensenville and Elmhurst residents Elizabeth Hosler, Christopher Kocinski, Stephan Schlesinger, Gordon Snyder and Courtenae Trautmann.
Glen Ellyn 41
Stephanie Clark, the current board president, and Kurt Buchholz, the panel's vice president, are seeking their second terms after first running in 2015 as part of a slate critical of district leadership and curriculum changes. Incumbent Erica Nelson, a board member since 2007, is not pursuing re-election.
Five other candidates also are seeking the three available seats. New candidates in the race, which comes before Superintendent Paul Gordon's contract ends in June 2019, include Glen Ellyn residents Jessica Buttimer, David Check, Edward "Ted" Estes, Julie Hill and Wade Kennedy.
To serve the district that features Addison Trail and Willowbrook High schools in Addison and Villa Park, eight candidates are vying for four available seats. Incumbents Constantina Haralambopoulos and Mark Turk of Addison are among them, along with incumbent Donna Craft Cain of Lombard. Incumbent Sharon Kucki did not file for another term. Five newcomers round out the field, including Ray Chaidez of Addison, Amy Finnegan of Lombard, Lisa Knauf of Addison, Glen Matthews of Addison and Daniel Olson of Villa Park.
Seven hopefuls have stepped forward seeking four seats on the Bensenville Elementary District 2 school board, including all four incumbents whose terms are expiring.
Board President Robert Laudadio, Vice President Matthew Vassar, Treasurer Jorge Sanchez and Secretary Kathyrine "Katie" Krajecki, all of Bensenville, are set to be on the ballot. Opposing them are Christopher McCullough of Bensenville, Lori Parthimos of Wood Dale and James Stoltman Jr. of Bensenville.
Races for one 2-year seat and three 4-year terms on the Lisle Unit District 202 school board both will be contested.
Seeking the 2-year seat are incumbent Pamela "Pam" Ahlmann, who has been on the board since 2004, and challenger Susan Cassa.
Five candidates are running for the three 4-year terms, including incumbents Daniel Helderle, who was appointed to the board in October 2017, and Wendy Nadeau, who won election in 2015. Also running are Elizabeth Kennedy, Lisa Kiener-Barnett and James R. Strnad.
Incumbents Kristine Gericke and Janet Yang Rohr are seeking 4-year terms after Gericke won a 2-year seat in spring 2017 and Yang Rohr was appointed in July 2017 to fill a vacancy. Incumbent Terry Fielden has announced he is not seeking re-election and did not file. Newcomers joining Gericke and Yang Rohr in seeking three available seats are Char Lynnette Dalton, Cecilia Fox, Joseph Kozminski and Becky Rudolph, all of Naperville.
Indian Prairie 204
The five candidates competing for three available seats on the board representing parts of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield all came forward at the beginning of the filing period. Candidates include longtime incumbents Justin Karubas of Naperville and Mark Rising of Aurora and incumbent Natasha Grover of Naperville, who was appointed to the board in October. Challengers Bautam "GB" Bhatia of Aurora and Carole Jones of Naperville round out the field.
Wheaton Warrenville 200
Of three board members with expiring terms, only Chris Crabtree, a former District 200 teacher who won her first term in 2015, is vying to keep her seat. Incumbents Jim Vroman and Jim Gambiani did not file to seek re-election. But newcomers Susan Booton of Wheaton, Dave Long of Winfield, Harold Lonks of Winfield and Mary Yeboah of Wheaton all entered the race, setting a field of five candidates for three seats.
Four candidates are seeking to handle the business of the state's third-largest high school district, covering parts of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Glendale Heights, Glen Ellyn, Hanover Park, Lombard and Wheaton. Three seats are up for grabs.
Incumbents Margaret DeLaRosa of Glen Ellyn and Martha Mueller of Lombard are running to retain their seats, as is newly appointed board member Mireya Vera of Lombard, who was tapped to fill the seat vacated when Mary FitzGerald Ozog joined the DuPage County Board. The fourth candidate in the race is John Kenwood of Glen Ellyn.
College of DuPage
Four candidates are seeking two 6-year terms on the College of DuPage board. Incumbents Alan Bennett and Joe Wozniak are not seeking re-election, leaving newcomers Annette Corrigan of Wheaton, Marc Incrocci of Darien, Dan Bailey of Wheaton and Maureen Dunne of Naperville to compete for the seats.