Jean Randazzo: 2021 candidate for Marquardt Elementary District 15 school board
Six candidates are running for four, 4-year terms on the Marquardt Elementary School District 15 board. They are: incumbents Jean Randazzo, Danuta Polsakiewicz and Luz Luna; and challengers Marcia Reiken, Karen Camporese and Rebecca Giannelli. Polsakiewicz and Luna did not complete a questionnaire.
Village: Glendale Heights
Occupation: Customer service agent
Employer: United Airlines
Civic involvement: Marquardt District 15 school board trustee for 20 years; health and safety fair volunteer for 22 years; and director-at-large for Illinois Association of School Boards DuPage County executive board
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. The issue that first motivated me to run for the school board besides wanting to be more involved with my children's education was class size reduction. That is still the main driving factor for me. Keeping class sizes manageable not only benefits students but staff as well.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. I would rate the current school boards response to the pandemic very high. The board, administration, and community were all in agreement on the need to maintain in person learning. The board was forced to have the administration put their alternate plan in place in the fall. The MEA (teachers union) leadership made it known to the board in August that there would be staffing issues if we proceeded with the plans brought forward by the administration. It was with extreme reluctance that the board asked for this change.
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 as a board member mirrored that of the administration, in person learning was the best course to follow. Without the support of the MEA leadership, we were not able to move forward with that plan. One of the comments that I had made to the MEA leadership was that vigilance is what would be needed to keep not only the staff but the students safe was vigilance.
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. No plan whether in a pandemic or not is ever 100% adequate for all students. Every student is unique and has different needs. We can do our best to meets the needs of every student in every decision that we make. From the data that we have seen so far, it appears that the majority of the students were adequately served in their education during the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
The improvement that I feel would have served them better would have been in-person learning so the district could have assisted them with their social emotional learning as well.
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 administration is tasked for developing those plans, they are the educators. They present their plans to the board for review and discussion. The one item I cannot stress enough is vigilance.
Q. What is your position on allowing school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. My position on allowing sports to continue during the pandemic is to let them play if it can be done safely. I am not a health or infectious disease expert. So I would have to differ to them. If their conditions/recommendations could be met, then I would support letting school sports to take place.