Teresa McKelvy District 209 board member

Teresa McKelvy, the newly elected District 209 school board member, wants to find out what other districts are doing to help at-risk students learn.

McKelvy was the third-highest vote getter in the race with 7,762 votes, a statistical tie with the three incumbents, Kevin McDermott (7,771), Brian Cross (7,768) and Dan Adams (7,397).

McKelvy’s win was decisive, gaining almost 2,000 more votes than fifth- and sixth-place candidates Della Patterson and Jorie Wright.

“It was a fantastic and exciting feeling to win my first election,” she said.

She hopes to learn “best practices” from other school districts, she said.

“There is a conference taking place in Chicago this month that I’ll attend just so I can get some better practices,” said McKelvy. “I hope to meet with some of the successful school districts and get ideas.”

The Berkeley resident said she pounded the pavement to meet constituents.

“If you work it, you win it. If you’re out there speaking with voters, you get their confidence. I’ve been out there and the voters have been seeing my face and hearing my name,” she said.

“I learned that you’ve got to take the high road. You have to be careful what you do and say; all eyes are on you.”

McKelvy said she thought many Proviso residents knew her from Rock of Ages Church in Maywood and her sons’ sports teams all across Proviso.

Her oldest son in eighth grade plays football, basketball and baseball. “I guess a lot of people know me because I’m a mother at the games,” she said.

McElvy said her first role as board member was to learn the ropes (she’ll be sworn in in May) and plans to do a lot of listening at the Proviso schools to find out what the district’s problems are. But she wants to focus on test scores and safety.

“Curriculum is my major issue,” she said. “I want to make sure we have children learning the right things so they’re succeeding in college and everyday life.”

McKelvy formerly worked as a staffer for Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins. She’d like to keep working in government, though, and is looking for a job now that the election’s over.

“I want to thank voters for having the confidence in me. I promise to do the things I said. If they come to me and have questions, I’m available for parents and voters of Proviso Township.”

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...