Sean Cratty: 2021 candidate for Huntley District 158 school board
10 candidates are running for four, 4-year seats on the Huntley School District 158 board. Tara Masino did not complete a questionnaire.
Village: Lake in the Hills
Occupation: Retail Director
Employer: FNBO (First National Bank of Omaha)
Civic involvement: Huntley Library Board Trustee, Grafton Township Trustee, Huntley D158 School Board, Algonquin/LITH Chamber of Commerce President
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. As a member of the D158 community, I have always prided myself in my active involvement in this great community. When appointed to the D158 School Board in July of 2020, I was afforded the opportunity to explore how the district successful operates to give our students the best education possible. Prior to my appointment, I played an active role in the D158 Foundation, organizing many community events, such as, the Huntley Hootenanny, which helps provide scholarships for our seniors at HHS. With my expertise in finance, I hope to help guide our district in making sound financial decisions during budgeting conversations and spending efforts. As a father of three young children, I am personally invested in the direction of the district. I deeply value the quality of education D158 has offered this community and look forward to playing a role in continuing the great academic traditions of D158.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. Due to the dynamic nature of the pandemic, the D158 School Board's response to the challenges of the 2020-2021 school year was reflective of the safety needs of our students and staff. In collaboration with Dr. Rowe, the school board voiced the concerns of the community, while navigating the challenges of schooling during a pandemic. I believe Dr. Rowe and his administration responded appropriately to the challenges presented during the pandemic, as they were guided by information they received from both local and federal health departments.
Q. How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?
A. Due to my active involvement in our community, I am often sought out to answer questions, and to listen to the needs of our community members. During these conversations, I try to learn from the many views presented, and be a representative of our community when making decisions at the school board level. What I cherish most about this community is our ability to come together, whether we agree or disagree, for the benefit of all students in the D158 community.
Q. Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. As a school district, we acted quickly to provide solutions to Wi-Fi/location issues at the beginning of the pandemic and were able to respond quickly to the needs of our students as they transitioned to the e-learning experience. In comparison to other local districts, the response of the D158 community, including our amazing staff, was second to none. Providing further evidence of our district's ability to adapt to unforeseeable challenges.
Q. Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?
A. We are currently conducting classes for half of the day, 5 days a week at the K-5 level and 2 full days a week at the 6-12 grade level. The hope is to increase the amount of in-person learning for our students at both levels, as we continue to monitor falling positivity numbers, and local and federal guidance allows us to do so. I do believe consistency in the school day schedule is important, and to minimize the amount of changes to the schedule as we close out the school year. This consistency will allow our D158 families, students, and staff the opportunity for a smooth completion to a challenging 2020-2021 school year.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. I believe if we are able to offer sports at the safest levels for our student-athletes and coaches, then I am absolutely behind allowing competitions to begin, once again. Our children have been through a lot this past year, and it is through their stories of resilience, that I am interested in continuing conversations about the return of sports. I want to recognize the work that goes on behind the scenes, which will allow our student-athletes to return to their respective playing fields. To the entirety of Red Raider Nation- thank you! From the Athletic Directors, coaches, maintenance staff and student- athletes, it is only with their collaboration that returning to play can be done in a safe manner.