Paul Radlinski: 2023 candidate for Geneva Unit District 304 board, 4-year term
Age on Election Day: 63
Previous offices held: Appointed to Geneva Unit District 304 board in March 2022
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: Serving on the Geneva 304 BoE provides an opportunity for me to give back to and make a difference for my community that I have been a part of for nearly 20 years. I believe my professional experience in managing global businesses and my life experiences of living in both Europe and Asia give me a strong basis and unique perspective to address the social, educational, and financial issues facing our school district over the next several years.
As a BoE member for the last year, I believe I have positively contributed to the continued progress the Geneva 304 BoE has made toward securing the highest quality education for our current and future students. I would like to continue my involvement by serving a full term on the Geneva 304 BoE.
Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?
A: The BoE is responsible for working along side the superintendent, staff, teachers, students, and parents to set a strategic vision and goals for the district. Once the overall strategic plan is approved by the BoE on behalf of the community, the BoE monitors the district's progress in achieving its stated goals.
This monitoring effort includes the evaluation and critique of the current curriculum as to whether it is robust enough to ensure that the academic targets are met. Various curriculum segments are periodically reviewed by the district staff and their results are presented to the BoE where an open discussion with the community, staff and students takes place to determine if improvements are needed and how they can be implemented.
Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?
A: I do not see an area of specific concern for the current curriculum in District 304. The board's responsibility is to listen to the various community opinions then to work with district staff to ensure that students are receiving a curriculum that appropriately and fully prepares them for future endeavors.
It is vital, that the Geneva 304 curriculum be broad enough to allow students to find their academic areas of passion and interest. The rigor of the curriculum must also be strong enough to engage each student's interest and prepare them for a higher level of education should the student decide to pursue further study.
Personally, as a trained chemist and business person, I will always have an affinity to both the STEM and business based curriculums and enjoy listening to presentations concerning these subject matters.
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: It is the responsibility of the BoE members to listen to all constituent concerns. There may be instances where the district must explore alternative options or paths for students and parents who may be in conflict with curriculum requirements. District 304 staff has a long successful history of working with parents' and students' concerns so that confrontation is not necessary.
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: In case of a pandemic, it is the responsibility of the BoE to protect the health and safety for all students, staff, teachers, parents and community members while maintaining its current academic standards.
In order to meet these goals, one must listen and follow the guidance of the medical experts, recognizing that full knowledge of the current pathogen may still be in development. The BoE must maintain a close contact with national and state health organizations and be willing to adjust its policy as new scientific recommendations are instituted.
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: In my professional experience, I had the opportunity to lead several global business teams with members from different regions, cultures and ethnicities. Managing these teams taught me that to come to the best solution to any problems, a leader must listen first, distill the best ideas into one strategy and engage all members so that everyone is on the same page once a decision has been taken.
A BoE team is not so different and this style of management can be expanded to include not only other board members but also include input from staff, teachers, student, parent and community members. I strongly believe that the best solution to difficult or complex problems is normally found after a series of inputs, discussions and brainstorming by all stakeholders.
This allows for everybody to be all in when the policy has been finalized to work in the best interest of all students.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: My personal strengths are that I have a strong core belief in fairness for all parties, a tenacity to reach the best decision, a transparent method of working with colleagues, and a willingness to embrace cultural differences within our community.
My top concern will always be to ensure that the students of District have the best resources (i.e. superintendent, teachers staff, curriculum and facilities) to support them in their academic journey and preparation for their future involvement in our community.
I have proven over the last year that I have made and will continue to make a positive impact on the BoE for District 304. I am committed to providing the time and effort needed to be a involved and invested board member
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: As a result of the pandemic, community members should recognize that our students have experienced a significant trauma in their lives. We as a community must be vigilant in providing the mental health support that students might require as they return to their new normal life.