Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Forest Park Review sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Profession: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Coordinator
Years in Proviso: 13
Are you a Proviso graduate?
No. I grew up in Park Forest, IL and graduated from Crete-Monee High School.
Do you have children who have, are or will be attending Proviso Township high schools? What are their ages?
I have two sons 11 and 7 who are currently attending Proviso Township public elementary schools in Forest Park.
Why are you running for this office?
I am running for election to the Proviso Township High Schools District Board of Education because our high schools are in a state of crisis and I feel that the current board majority does not care. In the 13 years that I have lived in Proviso Township, I feel that District 209 does not care that about 50% of the high school age children choose not to attend the public high schools. I feel that our right to a high quality, public education for our children is compromised and District 209 does not care. Parents would rather move out of the township or re-mortgage their home to pay for private school than to send their children to a Proviso Township high school – and still the current school board majority does not care. They do not care that the state of our high schools is tearing at the very fabric of our community. And on top of that, if so few children are attending the high schools, then where is the money? Where is the surplus? I am running for the Proviso Township District 209 Board of Education because enough is enough. It is time that we parents and independent, non-politically backed citizens stand up for our rights TOGETHER and become the educational leaders and tax dollar stewards of our community.
Have you ever run for or served in a local political office before? If so, when and which office?
I have not run for office before.
Are there individuals or groups which actively encouraged your interest in running for the D209 board?
I would not be running for this office without the undying and unflagging support of all the families who came to The Brown Cow on November 2, 2014 and subsequently formed the group “209 Together.” After attending a couple District 209 school board meetings and talking with current District 209 Board members, it became apparent that an immediate way to affect any kind of change to help transform these schools is to be elected to the school board. Kevin McDermott, current District 209 Board member, helped me navigate the nomination process.
What do you consider to be the greatest strengths of Proviso Township High School District 209?
First, Proviso Township has a wealth of cultural diversity that can be tapped into to create a vibrant and exciting educational atmosphere. Second, Proviso Township has the financial, intellectual and social capital of ten villages to draw upon to develop high achieving, innovative high schools. And third, Proviso Township high schools also have a long and proud history in both sports and academics that students can identify with as they develop a positive sense of self worth as they grow towards adulthood.
What are your strongest concerns about the district at this time?
First of all, I am deeply concerned about the current board majority’s lack of stewardship of our educational tax dollars. Second, I am deeply concerned about the poor levels of academic achievement in our high school district. Only 23% of graduating seniors are ready for college is unacceptable. And third, I am deeply concerned about the lack of urgency displayed by the superintendent and the current board majority in the face of this crisis facing our high schools and its impact on the fabric of our Proviso Township communities.
How many District 209 school board meetings have you attended in the past two years?
I have attended 5 District 209 school board meetings plus the Articulation Summit that was held on 1/22/15.