Family therapist Al-Fuquan Brooks was appointed to Forest Park School District 91 Board of Education during the board’s July 14 meeting.
He was chosen from the field of nine candidates to fill the vacancy created after board member L’erin Cross resigned on June 3. Brooks will serve until the April 2023 municipal election, where he will have an opportunity to run for the remaining two years of Cross’ term.
According to the statement from the district, Brooks was chosen because of his professional experience, and the fact that he has two kids in the district, made him the best choice.
According to a bio provided by the district, Brooks is a veteran and holds a master’s degree from LaSalle University in Philadelphia in clinical counseling psychology. He has lived in Forest Park for the past eight years.
Brooks’ LinkedIn profile online states that his professional experience primarily revolves around providing therapy for children and couples. He offers trauma-focused couples and family therapy for active-duty service members and veterans at the Forest Park Vet Center, 1515 S. Harlem Ave. Brooks also has a private practice in Forest Park.
Since January 2022, he has been on the board of the Phoenix Clinic, a Chicago nonprofit that works to bring affordable therapy to those without access to mental health services.
District 91 school board Vice President Shannon Wood and board Secretary Monique Cotton-Yancy reviewed the applications and interviewed the candidates.
Because Cross served less than a year of her term, state law requires that the voters get a chance to weigh in on who will hold the seat at next municipal election. Brooks will be able to run for the seat, but so will any other eligible candidates.
During the July 14 meeting, board President Kyra Tyler said she appreciated the “number of qualified, talented applicants, which is really a real blessing.”
“We are really excited that, in this strange time in our country, we are able to garner interest and excitement and passion,” she said. “People are willing to lend their time for what’s really important, I think – supporting our children.”
After swearing in Brooks, Tyler said that his professional background “lends very beautifully to serving on a school board in this very interesting time in our country.”
In his application, Brooks wrote that, watching Forest Park respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s been impressed with the community’s resilience and he wanted to be more involved.
“People often describe [Forest Park] as having ‘potential,’ but I think it has much more than that,” he wrote. “I see Forest Park as a resilient community whose population, needs and resources are changing very quickly in response to the pandemic and oncoming recession.”