Endorsements: Burns, Woodman Syed for Kildeer-Countryside District 96 school board
In Kildeer-Countryside Elementary District 96, five candidates are running for three 4-year positions.
The three incumbents are all running for re-election. They are Michael Burns, 54, of Long Grove, who was appointed in 2014 and elected in 2015; Dina Manka, 45, of Kildeer, who was appointed in 2018; and Meg Woodman, 46, of Kildeer, who was appointed in 2016, then elected to fill out the term of a trustee who had died.
The other two candidates are Kelly Roskosz, 34, of Buffalo Grove, and Salma M. Syed, 39, of Long Grove.
During an endorsement session with our editorial board, the three incumbents supported one another's positions, chimed in to add to each other's points and spoke up to add detail about how the board interacts and how their positions vary even though they come together to support the decisions made.
The lively discussion, while it could be intimidating, was ample evidence of how the current board members have learned the intricacies of school issues and have learned to work well together.
Burns, with a background in finance, sees himself as bringing strategic and financial planning expertise to the board. Woodman talks passionately about the work the district is doing on solar power, classroom upgrades, dual-language immersion and embracing diversity. Manka, in her short time on the board, has been actively involved.
Syed is concerned about cyberbullying and a curriculum she sees as too heavy on homework and rote learning rather than creative thinking. In a district that is one-third Asian, she would bring ethnic diversity to the board.
Roskosz, a former teacher in Catholic and charter schools and now site coordinator in a center for gifted children, was motivated to run by unhappiness over the different programming and fees for full-day vs. half-day kindergarten.
This is one of the premier school districts in the area and the incumbents seem well positioned to keep it that way. We strongly endorse Burns and Woodman, but give Syed a slight edge for the third position because she would bring a valuable new perspective to the board.