Douglas Goldberg: 2023 Candidate for School District 95 Board Member
Town: Lake Zurich
Age on Election Day: 64
Occupation: Engineering Consultant to the Department of Defense
Previous offices held: President of CUSD 95 Board of Education, Vice President CUSD 95 Board of Education
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: As a long serving board member and community advocate I have found that serving as a member of the Board of Education a great way to create a shared vision for academic achievement by establishing a rigorous culture of learning, creating an expectation of high academic standards for all students. This is best accomplished through collaboration with all stakeholders including students, parents, educators, community leaders, and with my fellow board members. All school related issues motivate me to drive for continuous improvement in our outcomes, that is the success of students. These include curriculum, facilities and the districts financial well being. I have been a particularly strong advocate of STEAM, having volunteered as a robotics mentor and currently serving as an INCubatoredu coach. I also believe that we need do to more for those students who may look for career opportunities that do not require college.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: In partnership with the community and staff, school boards set the vision for student learning and articulate the beliefs about students and learning that serve as the foundation for the district goals and direction for school improvement. I believe that the most effective learning environment is a partnership between teachers and families. To do that, parents need to understand what their children are learning in the classroom so they can best support their students' educations. In support of this the board currently has a standing curriculum committee that meets monthly to review and discuss curriculum before it comes before the board for discussion and approval. This committee has as members students, parents, board members, and staff to insure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to have their voices heard on curriculum.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: The educational landscape continues to change at a rapid pace. In order to keep up with this rapid evolution the district must have a curriculum review cycle that allows it quickly adapt to both new state mandates and internally desired changes that provide the best outcomes with relevant information. Curriculum trends that are becoming popular and have shown benefits include; Project-based learning, Personalized learning, Mobile learning, Gamification and Experiential learning. The district should study these and determine how and when to implement best practices utilizing these techniques.
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: School boards are bodies created for the purpose of implementing state legislative policy concerning public schools and locally administering the state's system of public education while representing their local stakeholders. These stakeholders include all members of the community including those that do not have children in the district. A school board member must carefully balance the opinion of the constituents with state mandates and legislation, insuring that no laws are broken, while insuring that decisions are made that represent the best compromise for all parties. Decisions are made that are in the best interest of our learners.
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: Some of the most important lessons that were learned from the COVID pandemic are that it's the people and not the programs that make the biggest difference in the education and achievement of students and that students and teachers' social and emotional health is vital in maintaining a positive school culture. Also, the need for family members to be active and oftentimes primary educators during school closure underscores the importance of family partnerships and the power of collaboration. Schools and classrooms in District 95 are being reimagined to equally center the social, emotional, and academic needs of each student. As safety protocols were constantly being changed by the county/state we had to continually change and pivot our approach to delivering education. Flexibility will be to key managing future large scale issues such as pandemics. I'm very proud of the manner in which the district managed the pandemic. We returned to in person learning ahead of many other districts.
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: Difference in opinion is a key contributor to a variety of problem-solving measures. I value diversity of opinion. Effective school boards always have a collaborative relationship with staff and the community and establish a strong communications structure to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders. Policy is a good example of this. The board has a policy committee which meets regularly to review policy changes either mandated by state statute or due recommendations from staff, legal counsel, board members, or community members. The board has vigorous public debate surrounding policy and in fact has recently reviewed and revised the entire policy manual. This was done in an open and collaborative manner.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I am an experienced and passionate board member, having served for over 12 years, including four as president. My tenure as president was during the passage of the recent referendum. I'm very proud of what the district has accomplished during my tenure. When I first joined the board the district was in very bad financial shape, requiring it to borrow money annually just to make payroll. We now have a AAA bond rating, good cash reserves, and a bright future. The recent completion of the New May Whitney, the LZHS STEAM lab, and the Seth Paine addition are examples of the leadership and commitment to the responsibilities of a board member I have shown. I feel well equipped to continue to represent our community and to drive the district forward. I look forward to continuing to serve and represent my community and most importantly to insure that our students have the resources to achieve to their maximum potential.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: I would like to see the district embrace opportunities for adults in our community to utilize the resources and facilities of the school district. Over 70% of the residents in our community do not have students that attend our schools. I'd like to see the district allow our residents to utilize both our academic and athletics facilities in manners which may be mutually beneficial. Fox example, allowing community groups to use classrooms and lecture facilities to deliver continuing education and gymnasiums and fields for adult recreation leagues. Given that this body of stakeholders provides a large portion of the districts revenue stream without direct benefit, I believe that the district should work to provide access where possible.