Endorsements: Marinier, Shultz, Padberg, May for Dist. 45 school board
DuPage County Voters will choose from eight candidates to fill four 4-year seats on the Lombard-Villa Park District 45 School Board on April 6.
Incumbents Judith C. Degnan and Navreet Kaur Heneghan are running along with a group of first-time challengers including West Conway Marinier, Emily Shultz, John E. Naughton III, Kathryn Padberg, Allen Legutki and Kelli P. May.
Degnan was elected to the school board in 2013 and currently serves as board president. Board members adopt a school for periodic visits and chats, according to the District 45 website. Degnan's adopted schools are Stevenson Elementary and York Center Elementary.
Heneghan has been on the school board since 2017. Her adopted school is Schafer Elementary.
Marinier is a Lombard resident with a background in special education and behavior therapy. He said he understands how the pandemic was a struggle for teachers and students but feels the board did a good job of prioritizing safety. He said the district should learn from that experience and look at different form of education, such as outdoor classrooms.
Shultz is a Lombard resident who has worked as an attorney and runs a family business. She said the system isn't set up to work individually with students with special needs and too many get left behind. She hopes to make an effort to change that environment along with fighting racism in the schools and making a push to get more diversity in the teaching staff.
Lombard resident Naughton, a civil engineer, said he is running for the school board to get the schools open. He said he believes it is safe for students to be in school and, during the pandemic, the school board failed to put children first.
Padberg, of Lombard, has been teaching for 26 years and worked in education administration and the PTA. She said she is concerned with mental health issues in the schools. She feels it's important to address social and emotional issues with students, in addition to teachers and parents.
Legutki, who grew up in Villa Park, is an educator with three children attending District 45 schools and a graduate of the district. He said it's important for every student to have a fair chance and every decision the board makes should promote equality and inclusion in the district.
May, a former teacher and current stay-at-home parent, attended District 45 schools and has a child in the district. She said the district could have been more transparent and consistent during the pandemic. She feels it's important for the school board to be in tough with the community. She said the district should work on acceptance and inclusion for all students.
Marinier, Shultz, Padberg, Legutki and May all have concerns about equality and inclusion in the schools that could help students and teachers. Each has fresh ideas that would be beneficial to the district.
Incumbents Degnan and Heneghan did not participate in our endorsement process and made little to no effort to respond to our invitations to discuss their vision for the district. We're confident Marinier, Shultz, Padberg and May can bring enthusiasm and responsiveness to the board along with their relevant background experiences. They get our endorsement.