8 | March 21, 2019 | the mokena messenger election 2019 mokenamessenger.com Summit Hill School D161 (5 candidates for 3 four-Year positions) Name: Stacey Borgens Age: 45 Party: Independent Town of Residence: Frankfort Occupation: HR administrator Prior elected political experience: Elected and serving on the Summit Hill School Board since 2011 Why are you running for the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education? I am seeking re-election to the Summit Hill School Board because I believe in the work that we have done over the past eight years, and I am invested in the work that we have started to set forth for teachers, students and our community. What makes you the best candidate for this position? Throughout my time on the board I have sought to increase opportunities for students and teachers to be successful in their current classrooms and as they move forward into high school and beyond. I believe that my efforts focus on the total child — not only their educational development, but their social and emotional skills as well. I have worked toward smaller class sizes, remaining fiscally responsible and been an advocate for teachers and staff in the process. What are the Top 3 issues you see facing the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education and what would you do to solve them? • Providing students with an education that prepares them for High School and beyond — continuing to work with administration and staff to increase rigor in the classrooms, supporting teachers that find new ways to reach students and help them achieve growth and support better technology and training for students and staff. Student success and the District’s success does not boil down to how they perform on standardized testing. Education is constantly evolving and we need to stay ahead of the curve. • The status of funding our schools — staying aware of what happens in Springfield, remaining fiscally responsible to the tax payers of District 161, finding ways to best utilize the funds and resources that we have on hand. • Recognizing that with additional technology comes greater responsibility for student safety — we need to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place to protect our students from inappropriate content that is now more easily accessible than ever, train our staff to watch for any warning signs of cyberbullying and keep an open dialogue with parents so they are active participants in this process. Name: Katie Campbell Age: 47 Party: Town of Residence: Tinley Park Occupation: Teacher Prior elected political experience: None Why are you running for the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education? I am running for Summit Hill 161 Board of Education because I have two young children in the district, and, after attending numerous Superintendent Parent Advisory Meetings I became concerned. I have learned that there is an enormous lack of depth and accountability with program implementation and our students and community are paying the price. I would like to see a more rigorous curriculum for all students with an abundance of support and resources for our teachers and students. My concern is not only for my children, but for all of our children and community members. What makes you the best candidate for this position? Most importantly, I bring 25 years dedicated to public education and all of the practical/real-world experiences within that time to the board. My professional career has included 11 years as a District Department Supervisor, which involved program implementation, using data to evaluate said programs, and curriculum development. My professional record within the educational setting is unmatched among any of the other candidates. What are the Top 3 issues you see facing the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education and what would you do to solve them? The top issues facing Summit Hill School District are: Improved student achievement especially as it relates to meeting and exceeding state standards; Enhanced performance goals used to evaluate the superintendent to include a clear direction for improvement of our district; Fiscal responsibility that includes wisely managing funds to provide resources that allow students and staff to maximize their talent. Our district is testing 10-39 percent below Frankfort 157-C students on state-wide tests. This leaves Summit Hill students to enter Lincoln-Way East significantly behind their peers. We need a more rigorous curriculum across all grade levels and all learning abilities. We have remarkable facilities; we have talented and distinguished teachers; we have exceptional students and parents who are highly engaged in their child’s education; and we have a first-class community. Why have our test scores flat-lined while our neighboring districts have soared? Current and prior performance goals used to evaluate our superintendent lack depth and long-term vision. The Please see campbell, 13 Name: George Leonard Age: 44 Party: N/A Town of Residence: Frankfort Occupation: Teacher Prior elected political experience: I have held a seat on the D161 board for the past four years Why are you running for the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education? To help guide District 161 as it continues on its path of excellence and strives to grow to even higher heights, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Participating in board, district and community discussions by adding my insights as an educator and community member, but understanding my role as a school board member and allowing the district staff to preform their duties. What makes you the best candidate for this position? I have extensive experience in the field of education. As a teacher and board member, I have been dedicated to finding better ways to serve the needs of the students we are entrusted to educate. I believe that is my duty to work with fellow stakeholders, not to find problems, but to find solutions. I am proud to serve a district that has been wonderful for my children and continues to be a pillar of our community. What are the Top 3 issues you see facing the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education and what would you do to solve them? 1. Declining enrollment — Because of declining enrollment we may have to make some tough choices in the future. While it is too early to predict what this will entail, it is important that we take all factors into consideration as we move towards what is best for our district and our community. Some of these factors include, fiscal responsibility, community concerns, economic impacts, educational benefits and many more. Too often, major decisions are made in our community without considering the multitude of factors that are involved. 2. Negativity — We have too many people that complain about problems and attack new initiatives in order to further political agendas or carry out personal vendettas. It is easy to point to a problem and assign blame, but that is not what our district needs. We need people that want to do the hard work necessary to find solutions and pathways for improvement. We need people that are motivated by a desire to provide the safest environment, most fiscally sound budget and strongest education possible for our children. I am proud of our district and I am excited to continue to work to make it even better. 3. The Unknown — Through my experience in education, I have learned that it is almost impossible to predict the myriad of changes and issues that arise with each new school year. Many of the changes come from the state or even the federal level, and we have no control over them. Thus, it is imperative that we have experienced, solutionfocused people at every level of our district. Our ability to adapt and stay ahead of the curve is what will allow us to continue on our path of excellence.
mokenamessenger.com election 2019 the mokena messenger | March 21, 2019 | 9 Summit Hill School D161 (5 for 3 four-Year positions) Name: Trudy K. Sturino Age: 59 Party: Independent Town of Residence: Frankfort Occupation: Information technology manager Prior elected political experience: None Why are you running for the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education? I believe that a school district needs to provide students with a well-rounded education, building necessary life skills that will develop them into successful young adults and assist them as they pursue their future academic and career goals. Additionally, I believe that a school district owes constituents a district that is stable, provides a sense of community, manages tax dollars responsibly and maintains property values. As a parent, I have demonstrated a willingness to work with school administrators, teachers, parents and community members to build on D161’s existing success and continue to drive improvement. What makes you the best candidate for this position? I have been a D161 community member for 20 years, active in multiple elections and have four sons who are all graduates of Summit Hill D161. Throughout my children’s education, I have maintained heavy involvement in managing my children with special needs, supported them in curricular and extra-curricular activities, and maintained the best possible educational environment for them. I have a strong education in business management, with an emphasis on accounting and information systems. I have served as an auditor, logistics manager, project manager, systems architect and solutions manager. In my current role as an IT consultant, I have had to work with many business and project teams to achieve goals to ensure the project’s success. I believe all of these create a unique ability to identify challenges, view the whole problem, and identify multiple solutions, which leads to a foundation for better dynamics for resolution. What are the Top 3 issues you see facing the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education and what would you do to solve them? The first item is aligning our curriculum to incorporate new technologies into our curricular footprint that allow teachers to enhance and support their curriculum and assist in students learning these tools. My recent LW high school graduates have had some very limited exposure to these classroom technologies. We as a community need to broaden these tools for the benefit of all of our educators and students. Without them, I believe that our students will not be properly prepared for the post high school environments, and we need to consistently work to shorten this gap to allow our students every opportunity to succeed. The second item I see is to continue to move forward and build on the solid foundation the current board has successfully implemented. We have been able to see the benefits of fiscally responsible decisions, stabilized the use of our assets, invested in the development of our educators and seen their vision with the district roadmap. While challenges will always exist, we need to continue open conversations with our tax base, our entire community and our educators to ensure we identify new paths for success to maintain the current level of excellence and accountability. The third item is to provide additional curricular and extracurricular opportunities for all students. We have seen growth in this area, and using my direct experience with my own IEP children in many district sponsored programs, I hope to expand the offerings. This will allow all of our students to have opportunities for personal growth, expanded learning, and leadership opportunities to ensure they have the best school experience possible. Learning does not just happen inside the classroom, it occurs all areas the student participates in. Name: Debbie Staples Age: 50 Party: My understanding is that the school board is not affiliated with any political party Town of Residence: Tinley Park Occupation: Human Resources / Labor Relations Prior elected political experience: None Why are you running for the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education? I have been a resident of Brookside Glen for over 20 years and it’s important to me that we retain and continue to attract residents to the neighborhood, and having an excellent school system is one of the main reasons people chose to move into a neighborhood. The residents pay a lot of money in taxes and if they don’t feel they are getting a return on their investment, the attraction to the neighborhood will decline. What makes you the best candidate for this position? I have approximately 25 years of experience in the human resources field including the last nine years in labor relations. I believe that expertise makes me a very qualified candidate for recruiting and developing talent, developing goals and negotiating. What are the Top 3 issues you see facing the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education and what would you do to solve them? The main issue facing Summit Hill District 161 are the flatlined test scores compared to Frankfort 157-C district. Over the past four years, the PARCC scores for district 157-C have improved for both language arts and math but Summit Hill have flatlined. My recommendation to improve scores begins with the board working with the superintendent to set ambitious, measurable goals and to evaluate the progression of the goals regularly. The superintendent’s performance must be evaluated based on the progress of the goals and improvement of scores. We must have a more rigorous curriculum with an abundance of support for the teachers and the students. The program must be inclusive of everyone and not only focus on the students in the accelerated programs. kirkeeng From Page 4 state government processes could create headwinds and hurdles that the board needs to be constantly considering and monitoring. Ensure the ongoing management of district’s reputation: This can be achieved by enhancing communication, sharing information and continuing the dialogue with the community. We have been working closely with the administration to review and improve the formal organizational structure, and augment everyone’s ability to fulfil on D161 From Page 6 ing enough busses, drivers and timing of the delay.” Unit district update Marron said after the the district’s mission. This includes the district’s academic excellence, the success in the arts and athletics, the expansion of additional opportunities, and the overall improvements pertaining to the educational process. We will look to continue augmenting the educational process. This will include offering a variety options for all students. The development of the curriculum for students who are work-force oriented as well as those who are college bound after high school is needed. The assessing and implementing the next phase of technology will provide great assistance as the district improves its meeting that there has been no response to the request for proposal to help conduct a feasibility study on Lincoln-Way North. At the moment, the Unit District committee is at a standstill. “Without responses we educational experience for all students. A focus on the long-term debt analysis and management: The long-term debt incurred by the district when it was in an expansion phase needs to be evaluated and the options fully vetted. This includes the options and the alternatives for the capital assets still held by the district, including vacant land and the Lincoln-Way North building. The timeline for some of the potential options to be considered is approaching. The board has started its evaluation and we will look to review all potential courses as it pertains to this topic. don’t have a clear-cut path in how to move forward,” Marron said. For now the committee will continue to follow up on, research and weigh the next steps to take its course of action.