Endorsements: Guzman, Willson for Waubonsee College Board
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
The three candidates for two available six-year terms on the Waubonsee Community College board -- Richard "Rick" Guzman, Willie Mayes and Tina Medlin Willson -- echo common themes about the importance of meeting the needs of underserved communities, recruiting and retaining a diverse student body and helping students develop the skills that will make them sought-after members of the workforce.
All three have worked to improve the Aurora-area community. Guzman, who fell short in his campaign for mayor two years ago, is executive director of The Neighborhood Project, which strives to help working families with savings, education and homeownership. Willson, of Montgomery, is a former grant writer for Mutual Ground, a domestic violence and sexual assault center in Aurora. Mayes is a retired lieutenant deputy sheriff who is chairman of the Aurora African American Heritage Advisory Board.
We like Guzman's background -- he spent five years working in the Aurora mayor's office -- and his thoughtful approach to issues. We especially like his ideas about creating and expanding partnerships with businesses and other groups to create more efficiencies and think he has the experience and know-how to make them a reality.
Willson's background in adult learning and establishing educational bench marks and assessments also will be a plus for the board. She can help address one key issue facing Waubonsee -- declining enrollment -- with her plan to increase partnerships with area high schools to better define the value of community colleges at a time when the cost for four-year institutions is soaring.
In a strong field, Guzman and Willson are endorsed.