Jacqueline Ryan, 2021 candidate for Northwest Community High School District 214 school board
Eight candidates for four seats
City: Arlington Heights
Occupation: Regulatory Affairs Portfolio project manager at AbbVie
Civic involvement: Youth softball, neighborhood activity group, PTO, volunteer at Ronald McDonald House, Cradles to Crayons
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: I am running for office because I honestly want to be the change that I want to see in our district for our children. My heart is right for this very important work. I think the students and the district would benefit from having more parents serving on the board. I think parents like me can be the voice of the students and can also provide insight to the board of issues the kids are facing. I think we can do a better job of being fiscally responsible while still providing the best student experience.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: To be clear, if the current board had handled the pandemic like many of the surrounding school districts that have safely been in person from the beginning of the school year, I would not be involved as I now have become. I have seen the board create their own crisis month after month. The communication between the board and the community appears to be nonexistent. Questions sent to the board go unanswered. "I think they are mistaking activity for accomplishment." (quote by John Wooden).
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: As a board member my role is to advocate for all students and families. I would do my research and back up my decisions and actions with facts and data. As a board member I am accountable to the students and the community and my actions must be transparent and collaborative. To be effective the board must work with the students, community stakeholders and school staff.
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: Candidate did not respond
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: I would bring a strategic, transparent approach to listening to and incorporating the input of families, students, teachers, and community members when designing district policies.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: Athletics and academics go hand in hand, they are called co-curricular activities. There are countless stories of how high school athletics have helped kids maintain grades to stay eligible to play which puts them on the track to graduate. During the pandemic, we have seen widespread reports of students grades declining. Remote learning is ineffective and when a driving factor for success is taken away it makes the entire situation worse. I know the importance of high school sports and I believe we must find a way to resume sports activities as quickly meaningfully and safely as we can.