Endorsements: Camporese, Giannelli, Randazzo, Reiken for Marquardt District 15

Our endorsement in the race for Marquardt Elementary School District 15 board is tempered by the fact that none of the incumbents accepted our invitation to participate in a joint Zoom endorsement interview to discuss their goals and qualifications, and two of the incumbents did not complete a candidate questionnaire to give voters some insights into their candidacies.

Six candidates are vying for four, 4-year terms on the board. They are: incumbents Jean Randazzo, Danuta Polsakiewicz and Luz Luna; and challengers Marcia Reiken, Karen Camporese and Rebecca Giannelli.

District 15 serves 2,600 students in Glendale Heights, Addison, Lombard, Bloomingdale, and Glen Ellyn, and Black and Latino students comprise more than 60% of the district's population.

Randazzo, who serves as the board's president, is a customer service agent residing in Glendale Heights. She is motivated to keep class sizes low. She rates the school board's response to the pandemic "very high," stating that the board, administration and community were all in agreement on the need to maintain in-person learning, and only with "extreme reluctance" and pressure from the teachers union did they switch to remote learning in the fall.

Camporese, also of Glendale Heights, a physical therapist whose oldest son is in first grade, says she was asked to run for the board by teachers at Hall Elementary. She believes the board did an "outstanding" job at providing both the technology for a "robust" remote learning system and support packs with books and learning tools, and lauds it for its continued weekly meal pickup service, which she feels has a significant impact on students' well-being.

Giannelli, who works in accounting and collections for a medical group, is a 37-year resident of Glendale Heights and a District 15 graduate who wants to give back to her community. She points out that District 15 is a blue-collar community and gives the district credit for supporting the needs of working families through the pandemic, although communication was poor at first.

Reiken, a teacher in another school district, recently moved to Glendale Heights and says she specifically chose Marquardt for its kindergarten program. She is an enthusiastic supporter of giving teachers ownership and choices and not pushing them to teach to a test. She advocates for adding more social workers and "specials" teachers to the district, noting that art class is only offered one day every other week.

Polsakiewicz and Luna did not complete a questionnaire. We endorse Camporese, Giannelli, Randazzo and Reiken as the candidates with the best combination of devotion to the needs and goals of the district and responsiveness to voters.

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