Carol Klamecki: 2023 candidate for Villa Park-Lombard Elementary District 45 school board
Town: Villa Park
Age on Election Day: 54
Occupation: Customer service
Employer: Enthusiast Enterprises
Previous offices held: Villa Park-Lombard District 45 school board since 2015
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A: I initially ran to become a school board member because my neighbor was coming off the school board and had been speaking to me about considering running. She took time to explain her experience and answered all of my questions.
I had a personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of our school system since at the time, my children were all attending District 45 schools. Currently, my reasons to stay are still focused around students, they just happen to be children in the community instead of my own children. This term, I would like to refine a long-term vision that maps a course that provides the necessary opportunities for our students to reach their full potential. The board is responsible for establishing a structure that will support this vision, empower the staff and provide leadership.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The role of the school board is to approve curriculum that will be implemented in the district. However, curriculum is not just the textbook or program. It can also include the philosophy that governs instruction that occurs in classrooms.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: At this time, I don't feel there are large unaddressed with curriculum within the district. I have heard concerns voiced at school board meetings and those concerns were appropriately addressed in either a follow-up email or phone conversation with our superintendent.
Q: How do you view your role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?
A: I consider myself part of my community and my role as a school board member is to listen and represent the interests of those who live within the district. I want everyone to feel heard and listened to, I want to take time to talk less and listen more. Some viewpoints may be unpopular but everyone should feel free to contact their school board or go to a school board meeting and give voice to their concerns.
I am not afraid to confront controversies or ask hard questions of our district. I want every stakeholder to know they are valued and that every opinion and emotion is valued. Even when we don't agree, we can all respect each other.
Q: Concerns are growing regarding a new resurgence of the pandemic. If another massive outbreak of infectious disease occurs, what have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will guide your decision making?
A: COVID-19 took the country by surprise, we spend a year reacting and scrambling to respond. To be better prepared for another pandemic school leaders should invest in learning more about their community and involving them. Perhaps create and sustain an advisory board of families from various backgrounds, organization heads and diverse community leaders who offer knowledge, critical thought and can ask probing questions to make sure the district is better prepared. I think mistakes were made but that's okay as long as we learn from them.
Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.
A: I have had many experiences in working within a group to determine policy, both as a member of the school board and in different jobs. My style is to encourage collaboration, emotional intelligence and teamwork, it also helps if we have a common vision. Groups can do more and enjoy their work more if they have a vision to work toward.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I have eight years of experience as a school board member and one of those years was during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have learned a lot about the district, about the schools, about the role of the board and look forward to continued growth in my development as school board member. I love my community, I love our schools and I hope to have the opportunity to continue to work in their best interest.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: I mentioned it earlier, I think our district should consider creating an advisory board to be better prepared to face a pandemic (or any emergency) so that we're not caught flat-footed and without a plan in place.