We, the team behind Sandra Hixson, Jenny Barbahen, and David Ocampo, known as Proviso 209 United, would like to share why we are so incredibly passionate about electing these three parents and subject matter experts to the District 209 school board. Elections are a referendum on the incumbents and the following events of the last few years make it incredibly clear that we need reform — yes, again. 

The current board unanimously voted to hire the superintendent in August of 2020. At that time, he sold to the board, and our Proviso community including many of us, a vision of greatness for our schools. But it became clear almost two years ago on Feb. 23, 2021, during a surprise Saturday morning board meeting that Henderson had a very different vision of what makes a school district great. 

This vision consisted of ending partnerships with PAEC (special education), outsourcing IT, and other radical cuts in the name of turning a profit with austerity budgeting rather than educating our children. As we emailed, called, and pleaded with our trusted board members for clarity, we saw them support the measures dismantling much of the recent progress made. 

This was heartbreaking to say the least. We felt defeated. We felt hopeless. 

Not anymore. Proviso 209 United was formed to restore that hope. Restore our schools. Put our students first. Bring back the values that got the district heading in the right direction: connection with the community, connection with teachers and staff, fiscal accountability, and transparency. When we do what is right for a united Proviso, we will usher in an era of success for all Proviso students. 

After months of searching and careful vetting, in August 2022 we chose and announced our slate of three candidates: Sandra Joseph-Hixson, Jenny Barbahen, and David Ocampo. These three candidates together represent the brightest and best future for the students in our district. It’s that simple. 

It is imperative to not just gain a favorable board balance but to also restore decorum and professionalism to the governing body of the school district. Hixson, Barbahen, and Ocampo will be deliberate and methodical as they work to restore transparency and order to the board, thoroughly evaluating the district from top to bottom in a careful review process. 

While these are only three seats on a seven-person board, Amanda Grant has officially endorsed our team, and together we will have the ability to effect change from day one. 

Even though the current board lost its way over the last 2.5 years, we see a bright future for Proviso and District 209.

Sandra Hixson, Jenny Barbahen, and David Ocampo are running for seats on the District 209 Board of Education.