As a board member for 8 plus years I am ever mindful of the role I play in maintaining the excellence of a public education, therefore I have purposely focused on several areas where I have good background knowledge to bring to the table in order advance improvements at the board, district, local community, county, and state levels.
Through a tremendous amount of hard work, with fellow Board Member Mike Raczak, the four district goals are reflected in the Superintendents Contract and her evaluation process. The primary job of a school board is to ensure the right person is leading the district. Mike and I have dedicated a great deal of time to creating an evaluation process that includes a mid-year formative and end of year summative evaluation. Collaboratively with the entire board, a process has been crafted over the past four years. It is still a work in progress, but it is a stand out for School Districts across the country.
The push for equity has been a unified voice from the current board. Therefore, I am still active in my role on the Parent Diversity Advisory Council, serving in an advisory capacity. I have always advocated for change in embracing the diversity in our district by allowing room for dialogue and opening lines of communication. As the council evolves, they have worked to continue their focus of ensuring welcoming schools, and inclusive teaching practices and curriculum.
Last year, I also decided to become “active” in the Indian Prairie Education Foundation, by running the half marathon. I raised nearly $1500 with the generous support of friends, family and fellow board members.
At the local community level, I blend my knowledge as a Social worker and Board Member in my work on the Community Alliance for Prevention. Their mission is to prevent substance use in youths 6th through 12th grade within the boundaries of Districts 204 and 203. This past fall, I served on the sub-committee to hire our first director.
Together with City Councilwoman Judith Brodhead, we continued a tradition of inviting the elected women of Naperville to an annual dinner, a tradition first initiated by Judith and the late Marylou Cowlishaw. The Dinners continue, conversations are vibrant and lovely, and they facilitate a collaborative approach to leadership.
Because Indian Prairie School District 204 is considered a leader in the state, I felt it important to ensure we have a place at the table at the county level. I served as a director of the DuPage Division of the Illinois Association of School Boards for six years, and I currently serve as the Vice Chair. In this role, I have advocated for meetings that will add value to the work of board members.
At the state level, I have been successful in gaining the support of the Illinois Association of School Boards' support to include Cyberbullying in the “Bullying Prevention” statute. I have also been a leading voice for ensuring safer schools on polling days, by advocating for legislation to ensure students are not present. Although I did not get the entire support of the Association, there is discussion of the topic in the legislature.