Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Wednesday Journal sent out to all candidates running in this year's elections.
Profession: Assistant Director at an alternative high school in Chicago
Years lived in River Forest: 9 years
Spouse, if applicable: Ori Gottlieb
Do you have children in D90 schools? How many and what ages?
I have 3 children and they all attend District 90 Schools. Eli, 11, attends 6th grade at Roosevelt. Dean, 9, and Asher, 7, attend 3rd and 1st grade respectively at Willard.
Have you ever run for or served in a local political office before? If so, when and which office? No
If you are not currently on the school board, how many school board meetings have you attended
in the last year? 4 meetings
Why are you running for this office?
I want to help maintain that excellence for my children and for the community. I believe strongly that public education provides the essential foundation for future success. This high quality opportunity that River Forest provides its young people does not happen by chance, but is cultivated on many levels, including the important role of the school board. And I believe that I have unique skills to assist the Board in their work and contribute to a productive board.
What do you think are the three biggest challenges facing the district in the next four years?
The biggest challenges facing the district in the next four years are:
- Maintaining fiscal responsibility. There are potentially big changes happening at the state level in terms of the education budget and it could greatly impact districts across the state. We want to make sure that we are financially able to maintain our high level of staff and resources for our schools.
- Integrating technology appropriately so that our students are prepared for the future. Education and technology have always had a push-pull relationship. What technology provides for education is not always what teachers and schools want. A critical eye is needed to make sure that trends and technological advances are really used to ensure a quality learning experience. And we have to predict the future, in a way, for students are going to need in terms of technology skills.
- Work towards a new strategic plan. Within the next four years, the current strategic plan will expire and the work of gathering data and input, interpreting the data and input, and creating a new plan will be up to some of the elected Board members.
What skills/talents do you have that would enable you to deal with those challenges?
I have the skills necessary to look at the needs and concerns of the district as a whole, conduct and interpret research on issues, and build consensus at the board level.
I was a high school teacher. I am a school administrator. And I am a District 90 parent. I believe that I can see issues from many different perspectives. I have a staff of teachers and an administration team and I am collaborating with on a daily basis. I gather and share information, listen to input, and discuss with a group the right course of action to take. The Board and the district act in a similar way.
I believe that my experience in education gives me an added asset. While my experience is in secondary education, I am in touch with current educational research. I monitor what other districts in Illinois and across the country are doing. I have seen educational trends come and go and I believe that that experience will allow me to help the Board decide what is best for the students and staff of District 90.
If elected, what are three goals that you have for the next four years?
I plan to contribute positively in facing the above three challenges. I will bring the above skills to help inform the Board in any way I can and build consensus.
- Maintain fiscal responsibility. At my job, I help in deciding and maintaining a budget for my school in Chicago in the Austin neighborhood. This requires setting priorities, managing resources, and getting the most out of every dollar spent for the students.
- Ensure that students are prepared for high school and beyond. Common Core Standards are being implemented at the school level. Oak Park/River Forest High School is completing a strategic plan. The educational environment that District 90 students are moving towards is ever-changing. Our district prides itself on extremely high levels of achievement and this requires always knowing what expectations lay ahead for our students so that they can meet and even exceed those expectations.
- Ensure equity and access to all students. River Forest is a diverse community with diverse needs. Public education provides an opportunity for all students to learn and grow. District 90 offers a top tier elementary and middle school experience to all students that walk in the door, regardless of background. I want to make sure that tradition continues.