Four new leaders, well chosen

Opinion: Columns

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Eric Davis

I want to congratulate Jackie, Jeff, Tom, and Steve on their victories and on their willingness to give their time, passion, and expertise to help lead OPRF High School. It was a pleasure to get to know them and some other terrific candidates, a great group from which our community chose four new leaders. We will be well served by their joining the District 200 board.

I also want to thank some amazing people who supported me in my efforts to be among them, most especially David and Mena Boulanger, Galen Gockel, Clarmarie Keenan, Wyanetta Johnson and Ben Iglar-Mobley. It was humbling and gratifying that people, including several I didn't even know before, were willing to go out of their way to call me, email me, and send Facebook messages, to ask if they could help with my campaign.

Two suggestions to the new board: First, to improve board governance, reform the policy where all board members are on all committees. That's not a committee structure; that's the board meeting endlessly with different agendas. It also means that it's much harder for the public to keep track of decisions and deliberations. Second, to improve engagement with the public and your local government partners, hold the full monthly board meeting sometimes at the Oak Park and River Forest public libraries, or at the middle schools.

To save Wednesday Journal the trouble of asking, yes I do intend to run again in two years. In two years my qualifications and the reasons for my candidacy will be the same, if not greater. I will still have two terms' worth of experience as an elected board member, I will still be an architect who mainly designs schools, I will still be enthusiastically involved with the STEM and facilities planning committees at OPRF, and we will still have a child attending the school. OPRF is the crown jewel of our community, but it has real challenges ahead and always needs a fresh supply of skilled, motivated leadership.

Finally, I want to thank this community for putting its trust in me for eight years as an Oak Park Township trustee. Under Supervisor Boulanger's enlightened leadership, the township has done some great things and helped many of those who needed it the most: seniors, at-risk children, and those — and their families — with mental health challenges.

Thanks also to my fellow trustees over the years, to Clerk Greg White and to Assessor Ali ElSaffar. With its outstanding staff, including Township Manager Gavin Morgan, Senior Services Director Desiree Scully, Youth Services Director John Williams, and the Community Mental Health Board's Lisa DeVivo, Oak Park Township is a model of how small government, closest to the people it serves, can make lives better without breaking the bank. It has been my honor to serve as part of the leadership of such a noble and well-executed endeavor.

Eric Davis was a candidate for the District 200 Board of Education and is completing his second term as an Oak Park Township trustee.

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