Leonard Munson: 2023 Candidate for Barrington District 220 school board
Age on Election Day: Not given
Previous offices held: None
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 love the Barrington Community and the District 220 school system. I'm here to support all the teachers and students, and I've been doing that since 2005 by coaching and talking with hundreds of parents. Unfortunately, most of them are not feeling confident with the current school board direction and the candidates up for Reelection. In my opinion, the board isn't functioning properly or fulfilling the needs of the students, community, district administration or teachers. So, I want to restore balance to the board and make sure every student from kindergarten to grade 12 gets the attention and respect they deserve. Plus, I want to bring back excellence in education, listen to parents and be a responsible caretaker of taxpayers' money.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: We have a duty to collaborate with the superintendent to guarantee that the curriculum is compliant with Illinois criteria. This includes guaranteeing that teachers are provided with the best materials and resources to pass on the approved knowledge to the scholars. We should meet with district officials and those with expert knowledge in the field to ensure that we remain up to code with both standards and state regulations. Our decisions should be based on data and we should implement policies that will contribute to our students' learning capabilities. Furthermore, we should recognize any deficiencies in district policy that require addressing and make sound decisions that can push these policies forward to meet curriculum state standards.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: I would defer to the district administration and community to assist in setting priorities and identify those areas needing review. As a newly elected board member I would bring a collaborative aspect to build a foundation for positive student learning. As a board member I will be open to others' views and thoughts and not my own agenda.
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: As a new member of the board, I'm committed to collaborating with the district administration and community to set priorities, identify areas needing review, and create a strong foundation for positive student learning. When faced with policy or curriculum controversies, I view my role as providing leadership, even if that means taking a stance that may be unpopular. It's my responsibility to be a leader, use good judgment, and have an open mind to others' views. I will listen to understand rather than refute, and then work together to come to a consensus. We'll follow the rules and use them as a guide in our decision making.
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: I have years of experience working in the adult health care industry and I'm aware of the potential dangers of COVID-19. I would assess the advice of experts, considering both the risk and the communities' wishes. The most vulnerable group were not the young people, and scientific facts support this. Unfortunately, our district did not adhere to the guidelines, and our youth have suffered the consequences, missing out on two years of schooling. Every school board has a duty to look after the well-being of its students and so it is essential that we reflect on our past mistakes and ensure we don't repeat them. As a leader and team player, I have been involved in making policy decisions in a group setting for over 30 years. My style is highly collaborative; I strive to build consensus through listening to all viewpoints and involving everyone in the decision-making process. I believe this is an effective way to ensure the best possible outcomes for our school district and its students.
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 am a collaborative leader and group member. I spent 20 years in the military and since in the private sector working in groups of members from varied back grounds. I believe in working cohesively as a unit or organization and would hold myself and others accountable to an agreed mission statement and established standard. A board must work together to meet the demands levied upon them to produce smart common-sense decision and drive effective policy.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I am an elected member who is committed to bringing integrity, fairness, and collaboration to the board and representing the Barrington Community. As a team builder, I am devoted to working closely with other board members to ensure continuity and cohesiveness within the board that enables us to make sound district policy decisions. Moreover, I am passionate about supporting educators to ensure excellence in our education system and positive outcomes for all students. Additionally, I am open to listening to parents' opinions and representing them in a constructive manner to ensure sensible solutions. Finally, I am committed to analyzing data to guarantee that we are responsible stewards of taxpayer funds. I am a candidate you can trust who will always strive to act with integrity and do what is right. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and I am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of influencing their future.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: It's not about me or my ideas. I'm passionate about helping the students of District 220 reach their full potential and become great adults and citizens. I'm committed to making our district and community a desirable place for families to live. I'm looking forward to teaming Superintendent Dr. Hunt and the administration to create effective policies and innovative educational programs while being mindful of how taxpayer money is spent. When elected, I am confident I can be an excellent board member who will strive to make a positive difference.