Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Forest Park Review sent out to all candidates running in this year’s in this year’s elections.

Age: 45

Education: Triton College (AAS), Richard Daily (AAS) and seeking Master at IIT (Graduating, May 2017) 

Historically, we do think the District 209 school board has been so politicized? What can be done to change that?

We let our school board become politicized. This has been allowed to happen because too many people in our communities have stopped paying attention, stopped attending our school board meetings where they decide what to do with our tax money, and we are not informed enough to make the right decisions. Additionally, the barrier to entry in these races as a result of the politics has been enormous. Spending more than $50,000 on an unpaid school board race is unattainable to most unless you have the financial backing of influential people. This all can stop this year. 

You have the chance to change this. Our community has a once in a generation opportunity to rid our school board of politicians by electing parents like me and my team instead of the politically connected incumbents who have had the chance to fix our schools and have not. We have raised our money from regular people and will not be giving contracts to our campaign donors. 

Is the physical plant at Proviso East obsolete and should it be replaced?

I do not know enough about the costs incurred in retrofitting the current Proviso East building. It is my alma matter and I am emotionally connected to the beautiful building as are many others in our community. Currently there is a plan to assess the building structure and mechanical systems to develop a Masters Facilities Plan which would outline the current condition of the facilities and what can be done to replace or upgrade the electrical and mechanical systems to be more efficient. As a union electrician and through my area of expertise in Technology and Operations Management, I have the

experience to help guide the district through these decisions involving integrated facilities management, commissioning and sustainability of older buildings like Proviso East. 

What has the district administration and school board done to adapt to the increasing Hispanic enrollment at its schools? What else can be done to respond to changing demographic trends?

Currently District 209, under the leadership of Dr. Rodriguez and guidance of three new board members (Theresa Kelly, Ned Wagner, and Claudia Medina), has been able to respond to the changing demographic of the Hispanic community in Proviso Township by:

  • Correctly placing English as a Second Language (ESL) student on the right track, instead of placing these student in special education just because of the language difference.
  • They also have understood the need to correctly translate information and have taken appropriate measures.
  • Established, welcoming and safe zone policy, in order to freely address any issues concerning immigration policy. 

There is much more to be done, but in order to understand the needs of this growing demographic group we must reach out to the community and understand their concerns and needs. Once the data is acquired a strategic plan can be implemented to adequately respond to the needs, based on order of importance (Matrix). 

What do you think about standardized test scores and academic performance at schools in District 209? What action can the school board take to help improve student achievement?

Standardized testing are good way to measure a group of student as a whole, when comparing within state districts and states nationwide. It is a way to hold the administration and teaching staff accountable. It provides instructional guidance so a 4th grade teacher does not teach the same curriculum as second grade teacher.  On the other hand they are not a good method to measure overall growth of student in a given period of time or on a given day. It can make teaching a stressful profession.1″ Many would argue that those politicians who try and use standardized test scores as a means to further political agenda are ignorant in their knowledge of what education and learning are truly about.” (ThoughtCo. 2017)

The school board can take several steps to help improve achievement. I will strengthen our relationships with local colleges, trade schools and union apprenticeship programs to create a stronger, career-based curriculum that leads to careers and college degrees. I will help create student assessment opportunities and tutoring programs to help our children excel.

When our children and their families better understand what the expectations are, to achieve the next level of learning or career, we can work with our children as a team to help them achieve success. 


Our current test results at Proviso Township is unacceptable. The District has prepared only 9% of children at Proviso East and 15% and Proviso West for college or a career. However, if we continue to change our approach and better prepare our children now for what to expect at the next level, we will see the natural increase in standardized test scores. 

How does District 209 integrate technology into the classroom? What can be done to expand the integration of technology at the classroom level?

District 209 currently integrates technology to a small degree. However, technology is growing at a fast pace and District 209 must keep up with it. In order to expand the integration of technology at the classroom level there is other systems that have to be in place. Mostly all technology is operated through a source of electrical power. In order to expand integration of technology we must see if we are capable of providing all the necessary base elements required for the expansion, especially at East and West which are the older building in much need of energy efficiency upgrades. 

The incumbent school board has put us in such a bind by not purchasing books for almost 30 years and choosing not to make the required updates to the physical building. 

Lucky for us, we are surrounded by a community college and two nationally ranked universities. We also have a strong alumni network who may work in every trade imaginable. I believe we need to think differently about the challenges we face and find solutions that use the resources that are available to us more efficiently. I’d like to strengthen our relationships with our alumni network and with our local institutions to find creative solutions to providing a more integrated curriculum with state of the art facilities until we can create our own. 

What are the essential qualities the school district should seek in the next principal at Proviso West? 

We have seen what can be accomplished when we have dedicated School Board Members, whose children will attend Proviso School this coming fall, school year (2017- 2018) With the help of these recent board members (Ned, Theresa and Claudia) They were able to hire a principal for Proviso East and a superintendent for District 209 who care about our children and are working hard to transform our school. We must hire individual with those qualities. Individuals that care about our children and that love their jobs. Principals who would be accountable to parents, administration and school board members. A principal that knows how to be a leader that motivates their team of administrators and teacher, delegates and gets things done. A principal that sees every child with the potential to succeed and knows that parental involvement is a key to that success. A principal that is willing to think differently and creatively in order to transform our school.


ThoughtCo,. (2017). Retrieved from Examining the Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing : 3194596