Callie Johnson: 2021 candidate for Libertyville District 70 board
Seven candidates for four four-year seats
Candidate did not provide biographical information.
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 the D70 school board for the first time. This is my first time running for any position in office. One particular issue that motivated me to run, was the need for leadership in the school district during the COVID-19 pandemic. While advocating for my own children, I met many other parents and community members who were advocating for their families as well. The community came together to fight a cause that was not only important to our community, but the future of our children's education. I met Lauren, Evan, Travis, and Colin, and we decided to run for school board on a slate called Parents Delivering Leadership. We came together with a shared mission to put kids first.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. The current school board did not represent the community at large when making the decisions to keep the school doors closed for the start of the 2020-21 school year. While schools were safe to open their doors, with common sense mitigation strategies in place, D70 decided to start the year full remote. In November, we transitioned to the hybrid model, while our COVID numbers were the highest. Even though it was still safe for schools to remain open, it was contradictory to the narrative used in the summer to keep our doors closed. The amount of in person school time our D70 student's have received represents the poor planning and poor leadership at the district level. Communication to the community at all levels has been unsatisfactory, and at times insulting to the students and parents the board represents. The community was asking for accountability and received none.
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. When the pandemic hit our schools in March, and we were forced to close the doors, I volunteered my time at the Lake County Health Department through the Medical Reserve Corp. At the time, it was my duty as a public health nurse to help where I could. I gained knowledge, perspective, and confidence from my experience there, and I was able to bring over that experience to my job as a school nurse during the pandemic. Education and evidence based research, along with common sense mitigation strategies, and safety procedures, are how a pandemic is confronted. I stayed the course of following the science and research that supported in person schooling, specifically for our K-8 students. Schools across the county, state, country, and globe were opening, and opening safely.
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. Superintendent Dr. Barbini and the board voted on Monday 2/22/21 for full time, in person instruction to start on April 12, 2021 at the K-5 level, and a two full day hybrid schedule with livestreaming to start March 8, 2021 at the junior high level. All parents currently have the option for remote. As a board member, it would not be my responsibility to create a plan, but rather to set the directive and hold the administration accountable for creating and implementing a plan. I have plenty of ideas and ways to ensure safety in schools, I would be more than happy to engage in conversation.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. High school sports should continue. Common sense safety measures and mitigations are in place, and sports across the country have continued throughout the pandemic safely since the summer and fall.