Endorsements: Bharadwa, Hanlon, Brad Paulsen and Yeboah for Dist. 200 board

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted3/18/2021 9:00 PM

Ten candidates are running for four school board seats in Wheaton Warrenville Community District 200 in the April 6 election.

Incumbents Rob Hanlon and Brad Paulsen are challenged by eight candidates. They are Anjali Bharadwa, Angela Blatner, Michael Evans, Steven Gross, Kevin Nickell, Tom Paulsen, Amanda Spans and Mary Yeboah.


Brad Paulsen has served as the board president for more than two years, and he was the board's vice president and secretary prior to that. Hanlon has served on the board since 2017. Both are focused on a variety of issues in the district, including contract renewals, social-emotional student health, facility improvements, financial management and community engagement that will extend beyond the pandemic and past the next two years.

They see their roles on the board as unifiers, leaders and collaborators. They are committed to following state and local health guidelines, which we view as a good decision for the safety of the community and district employees. After utilizing these skills to lead the district through a pandemic, offering both in-person and virtual options for students, they deserve a chance to see out their plans and prepare for the fall. Brad Paulsen and Hanlon are endorsed.

Bharadwa, Tom Paulsen (who is not related to Brad Paulsen) and Yeboah offer impressive civic involvement, backgrounds and experience that would benefit the board. Bharadwa would bring much-needed diversity and perspective, and she is the creator of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Parent Council for District 200. Yeboah is a member of the CUSD200 Citizens Advisory Committee and Equity Task Force, and both are committed to quality education for all students in the district.

Yeboah's experience as a teacher and school principal can only benefit the board in seeing the big picture as we move past the pandemic. Tom Paulsen also brings experience as a retired public school teacher, principal and past member of the District 200 Citizens Advisory Committee. While all three are qualified for the job, we endorse Bharadwa and Yeboah for their thoughtful and detailed responses regarding academic achievement gaps, diversity among the schools and the diversity they offer the District 200 board.

Gross could also bring a fresh perspective to the board, and he could be a good contribution in the future. He is focused on STEM/STEAM curriculum, which is commendable, but we had hoped to hear more specifics from him on a variety of issues.

Blatner, Evans, Nickell and Spans, who are running together as a slate, have qualities to recommend them, but it is clear that each also is primarily running on the issue of getting students back to school five days a week. The candidates we're recommending offer a more well-rounded and comprehensive approach to the school district's needs.

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