There is now an ivy leaguer on the Forest Park District 91 school board.
The school board unanimously selected Rafael Rosa earlier this month to serve the remaining 10 months of former school board member Glenn Garlisch’s term. Garlisch resigned from the board in May because he moved out of Forest Park.
Rosa, 45, is already the vice president of education for the Chicago Academy of Sciences in Lincoln Park and runs educational programming at the Academy’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Rose has lived in Forest Park for 10 years and has been active in school affairs for much of that time. He was active in the Garfield Elementary and Grant-White Elementary PTAs, has served on District 91’s Citizens’ Advisory Council, and worked on committee that examined high school options for Forest Park.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, but instead of working as an engineer he decided that he was more interested in science education.
After a couple of years working at Cornell, he got a job as a guide at the Museum of Science and Industry. After three years there, he moved over to the Chicago Academy of Sciences and has been with the Notebaert Museum since it opened 10 years ago.
“I’m in charge of all the educational programming the museum provides here at the museum or in schools, parks, and community,” Rosa said.
Rose was selected by the school board from a field of four candidates who had applied for the vacancy.
District 91 board president Frank Mott says that Rosa will be a good addition to the school board.
“He’s very intelligent,” Mott said. “He seems to get what’s going on and he takes a very intellectual approach to things.”
Mott added that he hopes the three applicants who were not selected will run for the school board next year.
Rosa was already thinking about running for the school board next year when he heard about the opening at a meeting of the Citizens’ Advisory Council.
He decided to apply for the position.
“This just gives me the perfect opportunity to make sure that this is something I want to do and to feel like I can be good at it,” Rosa said.
Rosa and his wife have two sons. Ethan just graduated from Forest Park Middle School and will attend Proviso Math and Science Academy in the fall. Lucas will be a sixth grader at the middle school.
Rosa said he supports the switch to grade level centers implemented over the last year.
“I think that there are a lot of benefits to having a few more teachers at the same grade level who are able to work together closely in a building and not be quite as isolated,” Rosa said. “I think it was good first year, but we still need to make sure the integration continues this year.”