By Terry Dean
District 97 Board of Education members James Gates and Amy Felton announced their intentions to run as a slate in the April 2013 election.
Gates is seeking a second term and Felton, who was appointed to her seat a year ago, is seeking a full term in her own right. She replaced former board member Jennifer Reddy, who resigned midway through her first term last October to move to New York where her husband was newly employed.
Felton, a part-time real estate attorney, was chosen from more than a dozen hopefuls seeking the appointment.
A married mother two, she is former president of the Parenthesis Family Center board in Oak Park and former co-chair of the Holmes School PTO.
Gates was elected to the board in 2009. The Oak Park native taught for 30 years in D97, including serving as president of the Oak Park Teachers Association. After retiring in 2006, Gates, a father of two adult children, has been working part-time as a consultant with suburban school districts.
He also sits on D97's policy committee with Felton.
Both announced their candidacies at the board's Nov. 13 meeting. After the session, Felton said she feels her job is not done and wants to continue helping shape the district for the future.
Gates said he remains committed to education in Oak Park and wants to play a role in helping students become successful. As for running as a slate, Gates said that was an easy decision given how well he and Felton have worked together in the past year.
The last couple of elections for the D97 board have been uncontested, but Gates said he thinks this race will attract more candidates.
The third D97 seat in next year's election is open, following Peter Barber's decision to run for Oak Park village board.
Over at District 200, Oak Park and River Forest Township trustee Eric Davis has announced that he's running for the D200 board in April.
Meanwhile, incumbents Dietra Millard and Valerie Fisher confirmed last week that neither is running for re-election.
Millard, who is a neonatologist, is in her second term, first elected in 2005. She also served as president. Fisher, an attorney, served 12 years on the board from 1997 to 2009 and also served as president. She was appointed last year by fellow members to serve out the remaining term of Jacques Conway, who resigned from the board.
Incumbent Amy McCormack says she will not seek a second term. Terry Finnegan, the board's current president, says that he will run for re-election. Finnegan, who works for Aon Hewitt as a benefits advisor, and McCormack, a former lawyer who runs a legal staffing and placement firm, were both elected in 2009.