Matt Sheriff: 2023 Candidate for Barrington District 220 school board
Town: Port Barrington
Age on Election Day: 50
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 am running to be the voice of our community. I have witnessed extremely poor leadership and seemingly lack of common sense from some board members over the last few years. They push personal agendas and ignore the wants and needs of the community. I am motivated by a sense of community and a desire to represent the voice of our children and taxpayers.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The state sets specific standards of education that the administration abides by. Our role as a school board is to ensure that the values, beliefs and priorities of the community are being met.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: I want to ensure we are providing the teachers and administration the tools they need to implement a meaningful curriculum in a timely and cost-effective manner. I believe there are many programs that require some oversight to ensure we are getting a return on the investment.
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: The community (board), teachers and administration need to collaborate and work together when there are differences of opinion around curriculum. What we shouldn't do is what we have seen over the last few years and push through wildly unpopular opinions based on personal agendas and ideologies. We need to ALL work together and come to some kind of consensus. As a board, we are volunteers that have to keep service to our kids, community, teachers and administrators at the heart of our decisions.
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: Health and safety are always the priority. We need to follow the science and facts. This means not to be pressured by the media or politicians with personal agendas. We have the technology to offer solutions to ensure everyone is safe.
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 very strong observer initially - reviewing what is happening around me. Then I Iead by example. I have been leading people across multiple spectrums for over 35 years. After over 25 years professionally, of leading teams large and small in the private sector, I believe I have developed a skill set to listen, understand needs, and work with everyone to help achieve objectives and balance that can satisfy the group, company and community together.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I care about the future of our children and this district. I will put the needs of our children and community above all.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: There is one simple answer. We have to start working together and become selfless. Our job is to stand up for the well-being of our children and represent and be a voice for our community -truly representing everyone. We are failing currently, and this is reflective within our schools and within our community.