Robert Collins: 2023 Candidate for Wauconda Unit District 118 School Board
Age on Election Day: 52
Occupation: School Administrator
Employer: Hawthorn School District 73
Previous offices held: Wauconda 118 Board of Education-Messiah Lutheran Church Executive Council-President of the Chicago Chamber Choir
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 for office because I am invested with two children attending Wauconda School District 118 and value the community that Wauconda School District 118 serves.
The issues that motivate me to serve on the board of education is the following: Ensuring the organization is implementing the mission and vision of the organization, developing and adopting policies, curriculum, and fiscal responsibility, ensuring a safe learning environment, and being accountable to the Wauconda School District 118 learning community and tax payers.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The role of the school board is to review and hold collegial conversations regarding curriculum with the superintendent of school and/or the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
As a board member, I reflect on ensuring the curriculum presented is aligned to the Illinois learning standards set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education.
Second, the role is to ensure the curriculum is rigorous and serves the needs of all kindergarten through high school students at Wauconda 118.
At Wauconda School District 118, the curriculum is infused into the Wauconda District 118 Strategic Plan "Provide and maintain a curriculum through which all students achieve to maximum potential and are well prepared for future choices."
These conversations are discussed regularly at Wauconda 118 Board of Education Meetings as the board monitors the progress of the strategic plan.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: Currently, discussion is being held on fostering well-rounded learning opportunities for the whole child. For example, focus on demographic representation in class to better reflect the various populations of Wauconda 118, investigate the opportunity to offer language courses at the middle school level, expand elective opportunities for grades 6-12, expand elementary programming to meet the needs of all students, expand third grade acceleration opportunities for all k-5 buildings, expand "specials" for grades k-5, and FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN.
I do not consider these issues but positive opportunities for our Wauconda 118 students.
Issues the board runs into is the Mandy mandates set forth by the State of Illinois and hoping these mandates will be decided by LOCAL CONTROL.
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 board member, it is my responsibility to confront and ask questions regarding curriculum and instruction and any other controversies that may come our way. As a leader, I am very comfortable stating my opinions even if those opinions are not popular.
I will mention I welcome constituents to contact me at any time via social media or e-mail. I always follow-up with a response and discuss the issues at hand or offer advice when constituents reach out to me personally.
Recently, I have been vocal regarding the recent sex education standards and contacting legislators to ensure decisions regarding these standards are left up to local school board and NOT the governor.
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 believe we have learned a lot from the past mandates set forth by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education regarding COVID-19.
What will guide my decision making will be to reflect on the CDC guidelines, listen to the community, and fight for local control.
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 numerous experiences in working in a group settings to determine policy. For example, reviewing and discussing Illinois policy during board meetings and through the Illinois Association of School Boards (IIASB).
My style is to research, listen to constants, and discuss in collegial conversations with the Wauconda 118 Board of Education. My style is to keep an open mind and listen to all sides of an upcoming policies.
To be an effective board member, one must be a good listener and do what is in the best interest of the organization. Popular or unpopular, that is the job of a board member.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I believe I am a good candidate due to my professional background and expertise in school legislation, curriculum. and finance. As a current board member and a respected school administrator, I understand how school systems operate and I have a fine understanding of the Wauconda community.
My professional background includes an MA.Adm.Ed in education, member of the Illinois Principal's Association and Co-Chair of the Lake County Legislative Committee/State Legislative Committee Member, National Association of Gifted Students, International Reading Association, American Association of School Personnel, and National Association of Special Education Teachers.
I have also spoke at national conferences regarding professional learning communities and infusing the social and emotional standards into school systems.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: My wife and I moved to the community for one reason ... we love this side of Lake County. The Wauconda 118 community is passionate and want what is best for ALL students.
That being said, we love the teachers, staff, and administration, of Wauconda 118 and want to ensure we are retaining the best educators for our children.
One good idea?
I would like to have several community round tables to ensure all stakeholders of the Wauconda 118 community are being hear and listened to.
Wauconda 118 is a great place to be!