Geneva, Elgin among crowded Kane County school board races

 
 

Seventeen contenders are running for school board next spring in Geneva and Elgin -- among the most contentious races in Kane County where candidate filing concluded Monday.

In Geneva Unit District 304, nine hopefuls are vying for three 4-year terms, with two incumbents not seeking reelection.

The candidates are incumbent Michael McCormick, and newcomers Jessica Breugelmans, Jill Johnson, Katherine Frye, Alicia Saxton, Robert Cabeen, Kim Edwards, Al Gaston and Prerak Patel.

School board members Mary Stith and Kelly Nowak are not running. Stith has been a trustee since 2003, and served several years as board president. Nowak joined the board in 2007.

Eight candidates are vying for four 4-year terms on the Elgin Area School District U-46 board. They include incumbents Sue Kerr of Bartlett and Jeanette Ward of West Chicago, both running for a second term, John Devereux of Bartlett, who was appointed to the board in June, and Eva Porter, Daniel Hancock, Tina Rio, Kathleen Thommes of Elgin, and Ina Silva-Sobolewski.

Board member Phil Costello of Bartlett earlier announced he would not seek re-election.

West Aurora District 129's seven candidates include incumbents Robert Gonzalez, vying for a third term, Ira Lathan, running for a second term, and Melody Saperston of North Aurora, who was appointed to the school board this year. Also running are James Buzzard, Joseph Grisson and Thomas St. Jules, all of Aurora, and Daniel Renz of North Aurora. Four, 4-year terms will be on the ballot.

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In Batavia Unit District 101, six people are running for three available seats: incumbents Cathy Dremel and Chris Lowe, and newcomers Scott Naylor, Erin Meitzler, Christopher John Solfa and David Niekamp.

Board member John Dryden did not seek reelection to a second term. Dryden was a Batavia High School teacher who got in trouble for telling his social studies students that they had a constitutional right not to incriminate themselves when answering questions on a school survey about their social, emotional and mental health. After he retired, he ran for school board.

Earlier this fall, he faced criticism for how he responded to several parents who disagreed with how the district handled the presence of a transgender child at Rotolo Middle School.

In Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300, incumbents Stephen Fiorentino of Algonquin, Kym Garcia of West Dundee, and Joe Stevens of Pingree Grove, and challengers Leslie LaMarca of Pingree Grove and Nancy Zettler of Algonquin are vying for four seats. Board member Susie Kopacz of Hampshire's term expires in April.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Five candidates filed for three 4-year terms on the St. Charles Unit District 303 school board. They are incumbent Kathleen Hewell, running for her fifth term, and newcomers Jillian Barker, Michael Bryant, Rebecca McCabe and Garrett Seaman.

Terms for board members Nick Manheim, serving his second term, and Lori Linkimer, serving her third term, expire in April. Manheim is running for an unexpired 2-year term against Poonam Gupta-Krishnan.

Among uncontested races is Burlington-based Central Unit District 301 where incumbents Jeff Gorman of St. Charles, Eric Nolan, Mitchell Penar and Laura Rabe, all of Elgin, are running for reelection for 4-year seats.

East Aurora District 131 incumbents Alex Arroyo and Kimberly Hatchett and newcomers Juan Sifuentes, Jr. and Avis Miller are vying for four 4-year terms. Board members Kenneth Darby and John Laesch are not seeking reelection.

In Kaneland Unit District 302, Megan Junk of Sugar Grove, who was appointed to the school board this year, and incumbent Ryan Kerry of Campton Hills are running with four 4-year terms up. Two incumbents did not seek re-election: former board President Teresa Graue Witt and Gale Pavlak.

Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.

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