The reign of District 91’s longtime Board of Education president, Francis Mott, concluded during the board’s special meeting on May 4. According to Mary Win Connor, the newly elected board president, it is imperative to schedule a special meeting every election cycle. D91’s board conducts meetings on the second Thursday of each month, but elections are always held the first Tuesday in April. In order to comply with the Cook County Clerk’s timeline for election certifications, the board’s reorganization must be completed before the deadline, which precedes this week’s regular meeting.
Connor said the procedure was “pretty simple” and involved outgoing President Mott assigning duties to an acting president and acting secretary. Mott appointed Connor acting president and then ceded control of the meeting.
Elections were then conducted to assign new leadership roles. The board members elected Connor as president, Rafael Rosa as vice president and Kim Costello as secretary. According to Connor, each individual ran unopposed and the votes for each position were unanimously in favor. Newly elected members Blake Harvey and Corrissa Smith were sworn in, too, replacing Mott and departing board member Sean Blaylock, who was first appointed in 2006.
Mott gave a “heartfelt speech,” admitting it was difficult to relinquish his executive duties. Connor pointed out that Mott was “involved in a lot of stuff” during his tenure while also balancing “ramped up” duties at his day job. Mott, she said, was appointed in 2005, ran for re-election in 2007 and again in 2011. He served as board president from 2009 to 2015.
The amalgamation of responsibilities proved too onerous and Mott decided in December not to run for re-election. Mott’s tenure coincided with a variety of difficult issues, including complying with testing regulations, implementing technological innovations and overseeing the district’s relationship with teachers.
“It is hard to see him go,” Connor concluded.