Scott Filipek: 2023 candidate for Arlington Heights Elementary School District 25
Town: Arlington Heights
Age on Election Day: 44
Occupation: Police sergeant
Employer: Mount Prospect Police and Illinois Air National Guard
Previous offices held: School District 25 board member, school board president
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 reelection because I am committed to providing the students and families of District 25 a high-quality education and experiences unique to our community.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The role of the school board is to set and maintain policy to empower the superintendent to recommend a comprehensive curriculum to the board for approval and implementation to meet the district's educational philosophy and goals.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: I feel the district needs to continue to be proactive in monitoring our curriculum and resources to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students both academically and socially and emotionally and to align with our district Strategic Plan.
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: During my tenure on the board I have faced many unforeseen adversities and had difficult conversations which led to making complex decisions in order to come to consensus. My role as school board member is to work collaboratively with my board colleagues to make the best decisions for the children and families in our community.
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: While a board member, then vice president and later president of the board, during COVID-19, District 25 demonstrated from day one that we were a district that was flexible, proactive and willing to re-evaluate our plan regularly. Our district worked with consultation from medical experts and professionals, within the directives of federal and state mandates and guidance from legal counsel. Our board made local decisions based on this data for the best outcome for the district. I believe we learned District 25 employs qualified professionals and the role of the school board is to support them and provide direction and oversight to the administration to enact procedures to ensure the well-being of our students in the schools no matter what the situation.
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: Since my tenure, the District 25 board has regularly reviewed and approved policy for the school district. I have been an active part of this process, and come to the table as a team player. I regularly attend professional development, am a member of professional organizations and take part in governance trainings specific to board policies. Being informed, willing to listen and collaborate, then act together is what I believe sets the best policies for our kids' education.
Q: As the district prepares to roll out full-day kindergarten, are there other programs the district
should be pursuing in the future?
A: I feel addressing and restoring our students' achievement to pre-pandemic levels as well as the responsible preparation, building construction and academic rollout of full-day kindergarten should be the top priority in the short term. Looking to the future, the school board should ensure the district constantly reviews and assesses the curriculum for our students to meet their needs. This includes social-emotional learning as well as maintaining an inovative technilogical aspect to that process for the students.
Q: Amid construction of school building additions for full-day kindergarten and planned upgrades to the physical plant, are there other capital improvements the district should be preparing for, especially considering future enrollment changes?
A: The school board regularly reviews trends and projection studies regarding local student enrollment and that potential impact on district building needs. This recent referendum allows for the district to complete capital improvements to our current buildings with a long-term lense, and for the district to act responsibly to maximize our efforts today to benefit our students well into the future.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I am a team player, my track record has shown that. I have been one of seven collaborative board members during probably the most uncertain time in our District 25 and education's history. I look forward to continuing to serve on this board to provide the best education for the kids of our community for which we are entrusted.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: As a board member I plan to work collaboratively and not with a personal agenda. A school board member is one of seven voices entrusted to approve policy and evaluate the district Superintendent. The District 25 Board employs a Superintendent with vision and creativity to effectively guide this district moving forward.