Gail Bush: Candidate profile
Name: Gail Bush
Office sought: Oakton Community College Trustee
Family: Husband Rob, married 40 years; Son, Matthew, 37; Daughter, Claire, 35. Matthew and family live and work in Oakton District. Claire and family live in New Jersey and work in New York. 3 grandsons.
Occupation: Professor emeritus of education, National Louis University
Education: Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, educational psychology; M.S., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, library science; B.A., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, anthropology.
Civic involvement: Evanston Public Library, Trustee; Illinois Library Association, President; RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Libraries) Library System, Charter Board Member; Illinois State Library Advisory Committee, Member; IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations), U.S. Delegate; Suburban Mosaic, Member; Poetry Foundation, Trustee; Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice Grant Program, Chicago Public Schools, Founder and Sponsor; Battle of the Books, Chicago Public Schools, Judge; Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy Handler serving schools and libraries in the Oakton district including Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles Township High Schools, Evanston Township High School, Chicago Public Schools; Project Linus, North Suburban Chicago Chapter, Northbrook, Blanketeer.
Previous elected offices held: None public. Evanston Public Library Trustee is a mayoral appointment. Illinois Library Association presidency was elected within the association membership.
Website: None. Profiles available at: LinkedIn; National Louis University Faculty Profile; Amazon Author Page
Describe your vision for the primary role of a community college.
The community college is a uniquely transformative postsecondary educational institution where each student comes with a unique entry point and an expectation of becoming more than they are at the time of their enrollment. For some, it is an exploration; for others, it is a way station on a determined path; for all, it is a learning environment designed to be of service to students' aspirations as they rise through life. While it is the fundamental responsibility of the college to impact student lives through education, it is also inspiring and empowering to experience this journey along side each other, it is the human story told every day at Oakton Community College.
How well is your community college fulfilling that role? What changes, if any, need to be made?
Following the vision stated above, we would need to ask each student for an individual response. As a learning environment serving our pluralistic district, a few considerations are respectfully recommended: 1) In the Oakton Community College Environmental Scan, the National Center for Education Statistics is quoted as predicting a significant increase in adult students in coming years. The intake process as we assess the needs of new incoming adult students must ensure that student support services are designed as comprehensively as possible. That assessment requires active listening, respectful inquiry, and dedicated guidance and advisement. 2) All Oakton community members' sense of safety around issues of identity and equity is a complex issue that requires continual review. 3) Another recommendation is to look east to Evanston and prioritize the work that has begun to increase enrollment from this largely underserved area of our district. The Evanston partnership with the Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research could be approached as a resource. This is a multi-faceted challenge but one that is essential to meet with innovative and creative problem-solving strategies. The entire college community suffers when all voices are not heard.
Are you currently employed by or retired from a school district, if so, which one? Is any member of your direct family -- spouse, child or child-in-law -- employed by the school district where you are seeking a school board seat?
No. I was employed by Maine Township High School (West) District 207, Curriculum Librarian, 1992-2002; Evanston Township High School District 202, Permanent Substitute, Librarian, 1991-1992.
Community colleges provide many services to a diverse population. Is there a service your college should be providing that it is not, or reaching a segment of the population that it is not?
The learning community of the college includes not just the students but also hourly staff, classified staff, faculty, and administration. Robust learning and professional goals inform each one to lift the spirit, mission, and vision of the institution as a whole. Oakton Community College as a community could increase opportunities for more boundary crossing, collaborative, and cooperative outlets for each member to engage with others and together strive to meet the challenges mentioned above -- to secure abundant support services for incoming adult students from enrollment through persistence to completion; to ensure a safe environment where learning is everything; and to change our current status quo regarding Evanston. We respect each past, serve the present, and empower the future. Meeting each student where they are, and serving as an educational compass to aid in their navigation toward where and who they want to be, is a mighty but relevant goal to achieve all a community college could be.