Jim Connell: 2021 candidate for District 128 school board
10 candidates are vying for four seats (4-year term) in the 2021 Libertyville-Vernon Hills District 128 race.
Occupation: Self-employed, Craftsman Media
Civic involvement: None listed
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: First time election for me. One of the issues that has motivated me to run is around communication. I think communication at the district level could be improved. Another issue that motivated me is the fact we are onboarding a new superintendent and it is important that she is acclimated to our communities and district quickly and effectively. I have done a lot of work with students over the years and serving on the board would be a natural extension of this work. I think a great education is critical for laying the foundation for a productive and happy life.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I would give our board a "B." They have done an above average job of keeping our students, families, administration and teachers safe. Our board has also supported and empowered our administration and teachers well.
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: My role would be to synthesize all three, review data, and work with our administration, staff and community to develop the best way forward for our students and teachers. Leadership? Yes. Give voice to all of our constituents? Yes. Listen and leverage the expertise of state authorities? Yes. Listen, debate, research, and review all of these aspects? Yes.
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: I believe our district worked extremely hard and was effective in adequately serving our students. On recent example is the COVID testing program they implemented when hybrid kicked off.
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 board's role is to provide the resources and support for our administration and staff to conduct classes effectively, and our current board has done this well. As a board member I would continue to advocate for resources to support our students and staff so they can exercise creativity and flexibility that benefits all students.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: IHSA is the body who establishes these rules, and I am in full support of starting sports as directed and empowering our athletic directors to use their creativity and flexibility to serve and benefit all students.