Endorsements: Chan Ding, Ficke-Bradford, Shackleton, Windon for Barrington Dist. 220 school board
A heated debate over how schooling should be conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic divided the Barrington community and contributed to an 11-way race for four seats on the District 220 school board. While that disagreement over in-person vs. remote learning still brews, it is not the only challenge on the horizon. The school board can look ahead to a host of additional tests.
Chief among them will be how the school district will climb out of the pandemic. Educational, economic, emotional and psychological repercussions for students and their families might well last for years and require long-lasting school adaptations. A new superintendent starts on the job July 1, a building campaign funded by a $147 million tax referendum is under way and the teacher's contract expires in 2023, during the term of board members who will be chosen in the April 6 election.
It's imperative to choose board members who are interested in and knowledgeable about all of the issues, not just one.
Incumbents don't always win our endorsement, but in this case we support returning Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Michael Shackleton to the school board. Ficke-Bradford, 49, executive advisor and software solution architect at CVS Health and a resident of Barrington, and Shackleton, 54, a management consultant from Barrington Hills, navigated thoughtfully amid the chaos of building a new educational system on the fly after Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered schools shut down a year ago. They will provide continuity after the imminent departure of Superintendent Brian Harris, who is retiring, and board President Penny Kazmier, who is not seeking re-election.
Erin Chan Ding provides an enthusiastic, positive voice and a focus on equity and inclusiveness. A 39-year-old freelance journalist from South Barrington, she co-founded a racial justice ministry at Willow Creek Community Church, among other community involvement experiences. She was a Daily Herald college intern 21 years ago, which does not factor into our endorsement of her.
Finally, we endorse Robert Windon, a 43-year-old lawyer and former Barrington village trustee who is on the executive board of the McHenry County Child Advocacy Center. He was among the founders of the Barrington Chinese Immersion Council, which advocates for the Mandarin immersion program in District 220, and was on the referendum committee. His experience and knowledge of the community will make him a solid addition to the District 220 school board.
Other candidates on the ballot are Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, William Betz, Katie Karam, Jonathan Matta, Malgorzata McGonigal, Thomas J. Mitoraj and Steve Wang. But the combination that seems best suited to the future needs of the district is Chan Ding, Ficke-Bradford, Shackleton and Windon. They get our endorsement.