Vincent J. Torossy: 2023 Candidate for Wauconda Unit District 118 School Board
Age on Election Day: 30
Occupation: Project Manager
Employer: TJM Carpentry, Inc.
Previous offices held: Wauconda Community Unit School District Board Member
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 to serve on the Wauconda School Board because I feel my job is not finished yet, and there is a lot left to accomplish. I set out to enhance Wauconda School District's college and career readiness for our students, all while enhancing our students' civic engagement. Although we have made great strides as a D118 community, there is a lot of work left. What motivates me is the goal of continuing to improve upon the quality of education we offer all of our students. We need to keep the safety of our students and staff as a number one priority, while working to ensure our district has top notch facilities, employs the best staff and administrators, and provides a well-rounded and respective learning community. I am working to leave this district in a better position than when I was first elected; my work is not done yet, and I will hit the ground running if reelected. Having grown up in Wauconda, I feel a great deal of pride for our community and its schools.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum is to first be sure we are following all state and federal guidelines that are required of a public community unit school district. More importantly, however, we as a district do not only need to meet these guidelines but also exceed them. We must always keep in mind that education is not always a one-size fits all approach. What may be best for a school elsewhere may not be the best for Wauconda CUSD. We need to do what's best for our students, our staff, and our families. Our job as a board is and should remain to ensure that we support and encourage our administration and teachers in their respective curricula. Additionally, our job as a board is to be sure that our educators have the tools and resources necessary in order to help our students succeed in the classroom and beyond the brick-and-mortar walls of D118.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: As a board and community, we need to be sure we are engaging in every facet within our D118 community, be it from our students, families, and/or teachers. As a district we need to continue to increase course offerings for our students, increase AP courses, and also increase job and internship opportunities for our students within our community, all while not exceeding our budgets. We need to continually challenge our students to be the best they can be, not only as D118 students, but as we prepare to set them forth in their respective journeys.
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 view of the school board is to serve as a voice for the community. In serving as that voice, we must advocate for what is best for our students and families. There are times that may be challenging and difficult to make decisions. But no matter what challenges arise, I will continue to confront policy and curriculum controversies with one thing in mind -- and that is what is best for our students. Our job is to provide leadership and navigate through difficult situations. I believe that it is important to provide a voice and to hear all constituents when making a decision to ensure we make the most informed decisions for our D118 community, staff, families and students. I welcome respectful disagreements and conversations, because without it there is no seeing another point of view.
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: Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the health and safety of our D118 students, staff, and families, was the most challenging matter of these past 4 years. First and foremost, I hope we do not experience such a pandemic again. However, what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that there is nothing we cannot address and overcome as a district to provide education and support to our students and families. Whatever the challenge may be, we will no doubt rise to the occasion. What has and what will continuously drive my decision making is knowing that as a school district and community we are doing everything we can to keep everyone healthy and 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: My respective style is to listen, observe, self-educate and then respond in policymaking decisions. If I do not agree with a decision or the majority of the board, I will undoubtedly be on a unified front with the six other board members. Being respectful of all and everyone's opinions is important.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I am grateful for the education I received as part of District 118, laying the foundation for my college and career success. I hope to use my experiences, and passion for Wauconda, to work with the Board so it may best serve students and the community I proudly call home. I graduated from WHS in 2011, and through my college and career experiences I have developed the philosophy that our schools must ensure students are either college ready or technically prepared to succeed in today's world. It is the role of the School Board, along with administrators, to lay this foundation for college and career readiness, while offering diverse learning experiences. We must continue to evaluate our programs and allocate district resources to the essential aspects of a K-12 education that meet these ends. I will continue to use my position to encourage a new generation of community leaders that are essential to building on Wauconda students' proven track record of achievement in school and beyond.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: I hope to work with the School Board, Administration, teachers, and parents to provide a robust curriculum for both kids who hope to attend college and those who intend to immediately pursue a career. As a whole I feel we do not place enough importance on career aspirations that do not involve college. While we continue to encourage our students to attend college, we need to take a step back and realize it is not for everyone. I want us to work on building partnerships with local businesses and creating technical programs that meet the needs of our local businesses and those of the modern labor force. While I do hope to continue to expand our AP programs for those college bound, I want us to focus efforts on what we can do to ease the transition of high school to a career immediately post high school. When in combination, this foundation of experiences will ensure the long-term health of our community and help our students lead a fulfilling, happy life.