Rising enrollment, social skills among top concerns for Stevenson candidates
Candidates for the Stevenson High School District 125 board believe rising enrollment, security and the need to teach social skills are among the top issues facing the district.
Five people are competing for four seats with 4-year terms in the April 2 election: incumbents Heena Agrawal, Terry Moons, Amy Neault and David Weisberg; and newcomer Manish "Bobby" Tuli.
Consistently ranked among the best public high schools in the state and nation, Stevenson High is in Lincolnshire. Students come from that town as well as parts or all of Long Grove, Prairie View, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Hawthorn Woods, Indian Creek, Kildeer, Lake Forest, Lake Zurich, Mettawa, Mundelein, Riverwoods, Vernon Hills and Wheeling.
The candidates spoke about the issues facing the district and other topics in questionnaires for the Daily Herald.
Agrawal, a Lake Forest resident who was appointed to the board last year, said the board's highest priority should be providing excellent academic and extracurricular opportunities to every student in a safe an inclusive environment.
She also stressed the need for transparency and open communication between administrators, teachers, students and parents.
Moons, a Lincolnshire resident who has served on the board since 1985, cited Stevenson's increasing student enrollment as a top concern. About 4,300 teens attend the school this year, and that figure could hit 4,500 by 2025, officials have said.
A $28 million expansion is underway. Moons said officials also are remodeling existing spaces on campus to create more classrooms.
Neault, a Kildeer resident who was appointed to the board last year, cited security, mental health and cultural and ideological divides as the top issues in the district.
Stevenson staff is dealing with those issues with social and emotional learning programs within the curriculum, Neault said.
"Teaching students responsibility, decision-making and relationship-building skills is essential to solving the issues we face as a society," she said.
Tuli, a Vernon Hills resident who has never held elected office, also expressed concern about the emotional health and social success of students.
If elected, he said he will focus on "stress management in this high-achieving and competitive district."
Weisberg, a Long Grove resident who first was elected to the board in 2011, said Stevenson must continue working toward "educational excellence." He also said the school must prepare students to compete globally.
"I think this would be best accomplished by staying the course," Weisberg said.