Jean Taylor: 2021 candidate for DuPage High School District 88 board
Seven candidates are running for three, 4-year terms on the DuPage High School District 88 board of trustees in the April 6 election. They are incumbent Diana Stout of Lombard, and challengers Andrew Edmier of Addison, Tina Haralambopoulos of Addison, Blanca Jessen of Villa Park, Al Manzo of Addison, Christine Poirier of Lombard, and Jean Taylor of Villa Park.
The Daily Herald asked each candidate about issues facing the district and how they would contribute to its progress.
Tina Haralambopoulos has dropped out of the race and is not actively campaigning. Andrew Edmier, Blanca Jessen and Al Manzo did not respond to the questionnaire.
In-person early voting with touch-screen voting is available at locations throughout the county. In-person early voting with paper ballots is available at the DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. Learn more at www.dupageco.org/earlyvoting/.
Hometown: Villa Park
Occupation: DuPage County Deputy Clerk, DuPage County Circuit Clerk
Civic involvement: In the past, I have served as chairwoman of Villa Park Summerfest Commission and the Villa Park Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission. Through districts 45 and 88, I have been involved in PTA, Willowbrook Athletics Boosters, Willowbrook Parent Organizations, and Citizens Advisory Council. I have also been a board member of the Villa Park Warriors.
Q. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. I am running for the first time for school board. I have always had a strong pull to serve the community. Until this election cycle, I have had other volunteer obligations. I am running to help keep my district strong to serve students, teachers and the community. A big issue for this board will be to return students, teachers and administration to school safely in the fall.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. The school board has done a good job of balancing all the challenges of the pandemic. I feel the school board looked at the safety of students, teachers and the administration and created policies that were best for the diverse population.
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. The role of the school board is balancing all the viewpoints of its constituents and the state. A school board should be open to listening to all opinions. In the end, the role of the board is to implement policies that are best for the district population even if they are unpopular. In terms of the pandemic, the role of the school board is to protect the student, teachers and administration while also keeping the academic standard high.
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. The district served the students to the best of their ability. One way the district continued to provide services was to provide food distributions to students during the pandemic. More recently, the district was able to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
Sports should be allowed to return following all the guidance set forth by IDPH and the IHSA. Currently, there is a plan to return to sports to play for the spring. The coaches and athletes are following the guidelines and, by all appearances, the winter season seems to be going successful.
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 spring term is currently in session. By the time of the election, the board will be preparing to return students to the fall 2021 term. I will work with all the board members to return students, teachers and administration to school safely.