Mardell Schumacher: 2021 candidate for Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 Board of Education
Five Candidates -- Four 4-year terms
Hometown: Elk Grove Village
Age: Senior citizen
Occupation: After graduating from Cornell College, I taught Jr. High School for thirteen years. After my children were grown, I was a Unit Manager for a merchandising company. I am presently retired.
Employer: Dist. 72 in Skokie; ACT MEDIA in Des Plaines
Civic involvement: I started the PTO at Grove Jr. High in D59 when my children were there and served as President for 4 years. I implemented Cultural Arts Programs, homemade pizza lunch day for the students at Grove, and initiated a school food purchasing program for the community at Grove. I planned a special anniversary celebration for Grove with a very lucrative raffle which allowed us to buy stage curtains for the large empty stage at Grove. I reorganized the Community Education Committee and served as president. I was awarded the Distinguished
Citizen Award from District 59. I was appointed to the CCSD59 Board of Education to fill a
vacancy and have served for several decades.
Q. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. My husband died recently. I need to have a purpose in my life and would like to continue my school board work with the people whom I respect.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. I was unhappy with the Virtual Learning in D59 last spring. This fall our teaching staff was given a week of intensive teaching in Virtual Learning, and it has improved considerably. D59 board members questioned and agreed upon the details presented by administration and staff concerning Virtual and In-School Learning. D59 is doing their best to care for and instruct all of our students.
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. I wear a mask, distance myself, and have met with the new Maintenance Dept. Head and visited 6 of our schools with him to see how the Pandemic extraordinary circumstances were being addressed in each of those schools as far as disinfecting materials and spacing were concerned. I presently serve on the curriculum, finance, and maintenance and materials committees. I am considerate of the requests from parents and community members and realize that there is no one answer that will satisfy everyone. I want what is academically stimulating for our students.
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. Fortunately, D59 is ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, as all of our students either have a computer or other device for working with technology. Where there were problems with internet reception, the district took care of the problems for those students.
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. The administrative committee has a plan which is continuous and which depends on the spread of the virus within our district now that we have opened our schools on a limited basis. It will change periodically as we are able to open up more.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. I am concerned about what our students have not learned and hope we can correct that this summer with a specialized curriculum for those who 'need it'. We will have a new superintendent next fall and need to prepare for that. We will need to work with our new supt. on a curriculum that stimulates growth and improves our grade averages.