Juan Peralta: 2023 candidate for Glen Ellyn Elementary District 89 board, 4-year term
Town: Glen Ellyn
Age on Election Day: 38
Occupation: Digital sales marketing
Employer: Cox Enterprises
Previous offices held: N/A
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: There are many reasons that I have decided to run for office. Im already a stakeholder in my son's education but I want to go above and beyond that. I have a great work life balance that affords me the opportunity to serve the district, especially as a military Veteran. Moreover, I am motivated to work alongside of students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Glen Ellyn schools have a great reputation and some of the best teachers in Illinois.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: All students need the basics: reading, math, writing, computer literacy, and physical education. Setting and monitoring curriculum is top priority! It is paramount that teachers have a say in curriculum as well, as they spend the most time with our children. It is important to look at data such as MAP scores etc. when it comes to curriculum. There is always room for improvement. Bottom line, the school board has the final say in all curriculum decisions.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: I recently read and listened to a short podcast (Sold A Story) that schools were using disproven reading curriculums. D89 recently adopted a new reading curriculum called "Into Reading." This new curriculum was tested across campuses by various D89 teachers.
A lot of teacher time and feedback was heavily involved. Listening to teacher feedback and support recently at a board meeting about "Into Reading" gave me a lot of confidence. Our teachers are the boots on the ground and they deserve to have the most input.
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 believe that it is possible for creative solutions. Confrontation is not easy. It is important to try and find common ground when we don't agree. The easy part is to place blame and make excuses.
Everyone needs to be heard including students, parents and teachers!
Surveys would be a great tool. Part of being a good leader is being an active listener. Most importantly, being on the board is a nonpartisan position which I think most people forget. Not every issue is black and white.
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: Safety is paramount for students, teachers, and staff. A big lesson learned, was to listen to parents and teachers of our district! Moreover, it's important to listen to all the science and all the data. Facts will guide decision making.
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 a lot of professional experience working in groups. What I've learned over time is to allow everyone a chance to be heard. It is also important to note our own confirmation bias. Doing the aforementioned will make it easy to come up with effective solutions.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I am a product of public schools and a public university. Being a school board member will bring forth new perspective and perhaps contribute to new ideas. That being said, my dedication to hard work and resiliency regarding past/present leadership; as well as financial experience will lend well on the board. Also, having a student in school allows for empathetic conversations with constituents. Not to mention, being involved in the local community such as coaching youth baseball has afforded me the opportunity to form relationships with parents and students of our district.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: Board and administration transparency instills trust from the community. I have seen other school districts like Frisco ISD in Frisco, Texas; use their social media presence in regards to comments/concerns of constituents via video.
Frisco leadership post responses on district page or social media. Names and faces are blurred out. They call it "correcting the commentary."
I have been to many school board meetings where speakers are allowed only 3 minutes to speak and can only speak once. It always appears that the comments or concerns go unnoticed from the board. This idea would also allow the district to address misinformation as well! Social media would be a great tool to use! See the link at www.friscoisd.org/trending-topics/topic/2023/02/17/correcting-the-commentary.