Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Wednesday Journal sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections. 

Age: 51

Profession: IT and Data Professional

Years lived in Oak Park:

39 years in Oak Park, and 12 years in neighboring Austin

Spouse, if applicable:

Lisa Ginet

Do you have children in D97 schools?

None current, one previous – Longfellow, Julian.

How many and what ages?

One – age 22

Have you ever run for or served in a local political office before?

Yes – District 97

If so, when and which office?

Ran 1999 and 2001; ran and served 2007-2011 and 2011-2015

If you are not currently on the school board, how many school board meetings have you attended in the

last year?

N/A – FYI, I have attended more than five hundred D97 board meetings since 1992.

 

Why are you running for this office?

  • To foster continued improvement in outcomes for all students
  • To assure high-quality staffing, building on the recent groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement with the teachers
  • To enhance collaboration among all jurisdictions
  • To sustain fiscal stability so that decisions can be made in the best long-term interest of the community

 

What do you think are the three biggest challenges facing the district in the next four years?

  • A smooth transition to the next superintendent, the educational leader of the district.
  • Maintaining focus on all the students and their long-term success.
  • Fiscal challenges due primarily to likely changes in the state funding formulas and a pension cost-shift.

 

What skills/talents do you have that would enable you to deal with those challenges?

I have extensive knowledge and networks gained through over twenty years of involvement in the community, including Project Unity, Oak Park Education Foundation, Middle Level Education committees, the creation and expansion of the Collaboration for Early Childhood, and serving as District 97 Board President. My active role in negotiations of multiple intergovernmental and collective bargaining agreements will be a valuable resource to a new superintendent, and will provide a useful long-term perspective to the board. I also have deep and detailed knowledge of the impact of state funding formulas, TIFs, pension shifts, and major contracts on District 97 that will be a critical asset to the board during the next four years.

 

If elected, what are three goals that you have for the next four years?

First, continue to raise standards and narrow achievement gaps, by monitoring, supporting, and, if appropriate, expanding, our three major educational initiatives: significant support for early childhood; strengthening the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program (MYP); and the one-to-one technology initiative. Second, continue to keep the district’s financial house in order, despite many external pressures, with a 2018 teachers’ contract that continues the transformation the recent contract began, and an appropriate balance of cuts, revenues, and new initiatives. Third, continuation of award winning board governance through on-going board training and self-evaluation, effective communication, and effective community committees.

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