Candidate name: Kyra Tyler

Candidate bio:

Kyra Tyler has been a resident of Forest Park since 2012 and has a child in the district. Her tenure on the D91 school board began as an appointment in summer 2016. She was then elected to her seat in 2017 and became president in 2019. Kyra is an educational consultant and graduate of both Northwestern and Harvard Universities. When she’s not participating in school board work or her actual job and we’re not in a pandemic, she prioritizes spending time with her parents, friends and other family, watching live theater and concerts, co-leading a Girl Scout troop of phenomenal young women and trying to find a streaming show she can stick with.

Questionnaire:

1.    What are some of the unique challenges and opportunities that will face a brand-new superintendent and a board with three new members?

a.    The challenges that our new board and superintendent face center mostly around finding our new normal regarding in-person school attendance for our students and staff. There is no perfect solution, so finding the most palatable one that resumes operations safely is our biggest challenge.

b.    In terms of an opportunity, any time you are able to introduce a fresh perspective can be a profound experience. And, bringing in Dr.Alvarez, plus three new members, allows us the chance to do so. We’re so appreciative of Dr. Cavallo’s leadership over the last decade and a half, and I’m thrilled to see Dr. Alvarez implement some of her ideas, with the support and guidance of the administration, staff and board.

2.    A criticism of the District 91 school board has been its lack of communication, including videos and meeting minutes not being posted to the website. If you have been on the board previously, was this a conscious decision that the board made, and if so, why? How can communication between the D91 board of education and the residents of Forest Park be improved?

No, this wasn’t a conscious decision made by the board. I believe that in the flurry around the pandemic and while the board was trying to find its footing conducting meetings in a virtual setting, some of the duties like posting minutes and other communication weren’t fully executed. When asked for more information, the board always complies, provided it is within our legal boundaries to do yet. But, I would like to see more consistency and transparency around some of the ways the board communicates and will continue to investigate solutions to do so.

3.    What are some of the biggest challenges facing the D91 school district right now, and what steps can the board take to help address these difficulties?

Everything is up for grabs around public education, as we move out of the pandemic. So, in addition to getting back to school better than we left it in March 2020, I’d like us to think big about a few things including: the way our student’s days are scheduled, less screen time but a continued appreciation for ways in which technology can work for our families and staff, and increasing our enrollment. There are many more, but these are top-of-mind as I think about moving out of the pandemic.

4.    What are some improvements you’d like to see in the district within the next three years?

Increased enrollment, more parent participation in our schools when it’s safe and assessment scores that are more in line with the brilliance of our students.

5.    Describe how you see your position as a board member in terms of your commitment to the students and their families, the faculty and staff, and the greater Forest Park community.

I am only in this role because of my commitment to all the constituents I serve. I am a huge proponent of strong neighborhood schools, an equitable education for all, an encouraging and fulling work environment for our staff and cultivating trust in the community around the finances of the district. This is a position I am passionate about, and I am 100% invested in doing my best to serve the community.

6.    In your opinion, how has D91 handled equity, specifically as it relates to remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis?

I think D91 has handled equity to the best of our ability concerning remote learning, and am proud that we have continued our work with the National Equity Project. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t have gone better but with no preparation, playbook and constantly shifting guidelines, I think we handled remote learning for our students head and shoulders above many other districts. I’m certain that we will discover many lessons from this experience after we’ve moved on but in the moment, I’m proud of our entire staff who masterfully pivoted to remote learning.

Read about the other D91 candidates.