U-46 school board seats elected members
The Elgin Area School District U-46 school board seated two new and two incumbent members elected in April during a special meeting Tuesday.
Newcomer Eva Porter and incumbents Sue Kerr and John Devereux were sworn in, while Kathleen Thommes, who was not present, will be sworn in at next week's school board meeting. They join Donna Smith, Veronica Noland and Melissa Owens on the seven-member board.
Kerr was elected board president replacing Smith, who served in that role for eight years. Devereux was named board vice president and Noland secretary pro tempore.
Porter, of Hanover Park, is a retired educator, a former trustee of the Poplar Creek Public Library District board and a parent of U-46 graduates. Thommes, of Elgin, is a former U-46 educator who now teaches at Elgin Community College and served as co-chair of the U-46 Citizens' Advisory Council's specialized student services and finance committees. She has three children in U-46.
The board bid farewell to members Jeanette Ward and Phil Costello -- two conservative voices -- and thanked them for four years of service.
Ward thanked her supporters, noted achievements during her term, and vowed to continue to advocate for conservative issues and remain politically active.
"I'm grateful for the things I was able to accomplish, even in the minority: increased transparency via a state law affirming the right of all Illinois elected board members to access closed session recordings; diversity of thought; dialogue surrounding privacy and safety for all students; increased parental choice via the EMSA charter school; and a modicum of respect for the taxpayer," she said. "I hope the current board will not forget the perspective of a sizable portion of this district who agreed with me that curriculum resources should present all sides of controversial issues and that taxpayers need relief."
Costello implored the next board "to work directly with citizens, including students, to gauge your effectiveness and supplement your perspective."
"The socioeconomic impact of what U-46 does or doesn't do has and will have a dramatic impact on the welfare of our families and the prosperity of our communities that we live in," said Costello, who added he was proud of his efforts toward improving the district's accountability and financial planning.
Hallie Furtak, a junior at Streamwood High School, replaced Jackson Teetor as the school board's new student adviser representing students from all U-46 high schools for one year.
"This has been truly an amazing experience," said Teetor, who will graduate this month from Larkin High School and study music at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He was given a plaque recognizing his service as the board's 10th student adviser.