Lorraine Perry: 2023 Candidate for Cary District 26 School Board
Age on Election Day: 47
Employer: ACCO Brands Corporation
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 for this office because not all parents' voices were being represented within D26. As a parent of two children that are currently in the district and one that was just last year, I kept waiting for a board member with whom shared, or would at least raise, the concerns that I had regarding curriculum, schooling during COVID-19 and transparency regarding spend of taxpayer money. I decided I needed to quit hoping someone else would stand-up and instead run for the office myself.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The school board is responsible for setting the school's curriculum in accordance with Illinois' Learning Standards. The board also represents the beliefs and values of parents and children within the community. As a school board member, I will ensure all voices are heard.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: With the pandemic shedding a spotlight on education, parents have become more aware of what is being taught in their child's classroom. To this end, parents should be able to have more input and decision making ability into their child's education. In addition, within D26 I have a few concerns regarding the curriculum, however, the one closest to my heart is the Dual Language program. I have had two of my children in the program. In the years since its inception the program has gone downhill. Teacher turn-over is high and every year parents are pulling their children from the program. The promise to parents that by the fifth grade the dual language students will meet or exceed the standards of non-dual language students has not been met. I believe Dual Language needs a champion to make it the success I know it can be.
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 school board member, my role would be to (1) understand Illinois' education regulations; (2) communicate with parents, teachers, community members, etc. to fully understand all positions on the topic; and (3) digest the information learned in order to participate in an open dialogue with other board members and ensure all opinions are vocalized. In summary, my goal is to ensure all constituents voices are heard (no matter what my stand on the topic may be).
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: The pandemic had many devastating impacts on children, most importantly education. More focus should be placed on trying to keep children safely in the classroom to prevent as much learning loss as possible. I understand that technology allows for remote learning, however this method causes challenges for which children and teachers were and still are not prepared.
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 job requires me to work with various groups of people, daily, to keep projects moving. Therefore, in a group setting, I am a cooperative and detail-oriented person. As a D26 board member, my work style will enable me to make strategic and thoughtful decisions while being able to express my ideas verbally so they may be developed as a group.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: As a paralegal I have experience with more than just legal issues. I have managed people, portfolios, and deadlines; researched and implemented new processes and technologies; and created and managed a budget. I believe this expertise provides a knowledge base from which to draw and reflect on when developing and reviewing policy for the management and governance of the district.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: Transparency. I believe it is in the best interest of the school district to be as open and transparent as possible. Transparency leads to an ongoing two-way conversation with parents, allowing for community involvement. It also prevents any misunderstandings that may cause outrage within the community.