Politics aside, Seguin and O'Hara just want to help
Matt O'Hara and Michelle Seguin sought their slots on the Glenbrook High Schools District 225 Board of Education based on simple concepts.
They both wanted to serve their communities -- and what better place to do that than in education.
Results from the April 6 consolidated election won't be official until after votes are certified April 27, but Seguin and O'Hara -- as well as incumbents Bruce Doughty and Peter Glowacki -- are in good stead for the official nod.
Seguin's 8,139 votes, as of Friday's most recent update from the Cook County Clerk's Office, lead all District 225 candidates. O'Hara has a 3,347-vote advantage over his nearest pursuer, Dr. Carol Schmidt, as mail-in ballots continued to be counted. Board president Doughty and vice president Glowacki are in between the two newcomers.
"I really wanted to run for a couple of reasons," said Seguin (pronounced "see-gwin"), a Michigan native now eight years in Northbrook.
"One is I'm obviously invested in the community and I have children in the school district. I think it's important to give back to the community and be a part of it," she said.
"I do want to focus on maintaining a level of excellence at the school district and work for the community to ensure that it stays one of the best school districts in the state. I also think, too, that while it may be obvious schools are really the bedrock of the community, and if you don't have good schools it can really hurt the community," she said.
O'Hara was a little taken aback by the process. The Glenview resident, who like Seguin has three children, was surprised by the 10 candidates flocking toward the ballot. Once on it, he didn't expect some of the vitriol along the way to Election Day.
"I wanted to give back to the community," said O'Hara, 49. "Frankly, I thought that the hard part would be getting signatures because it doesn't pay anything and it's a little thankless. I'm a little surprised that there was a campaign all of a sudden."
He's got a diverse background. Schooled initially as a tax attorney, O'Hara instead owned a small, family pest control business. He sold that about five years ago and has since been trading independently in the stock market.
"Having a business background, it makes you focus ideally on your product and your customers," he said. "In this case our product is education and our customers are the community of parents, as it were. I think that's what we need to get back to, instead of politics, is education. The entire reason I ran was not to get my name in the paper but was to volunteer and help."
O'Hara is a former youth hockey coach for both the Glenview and Northbrook park district programs. He also played in a men's hockey league at the North Shore Ice Arena in Northbrook.
Seguin's game is in the kitchen, where she can cook just about anything. A product of quality academics at the University of Michigan and Columbia University in New York City, she's a former client executive at JPMorgan Chase now working as chief revenue officer for Audira Labs in Northbrook, which provides leadership development training and executive coaching.
She's volunteered with Northbrook School District 28 and the parent-teacher organizations of both Glenbrook North and Northbrook Junior High, but she also brings a new voice. In fact, she hadn't met Glowacki until last week when the four successful candidates assembled for a group photo.
"I think as a nonincumbent it's going to be interesting to bring a different perspective to the board," Sequin said. "I think whatever the situation is, when you put a new set of eyes on something, a different perspective, that's always helpful."
After all the noisy preamble, being helpful is what these new candidates are shooting for.
"I'm excited to actually start the real work now," O'Hara said.