Holly Spurlock heads a risk management team for Groupon — the popular Chicago-based tech firm — that comprises 150 employees who hail from 48 countries. It’s an employee base that’s as fluid and diverse as the industry in which it competes. Change is the norm.
“Groupon changes fast,” Spurlock said. “I manage a team that thrives on constant improvement and making adjustments for the next phase.”
Spurlock said she would apply this ability to manage the pace of change to the District 97 Board of Education. It’s a quality, she indicated, that makes her unique among the 10 candidates running for four open seats on the board in the April 7 election.
“We’re going through a lot of changes [as a district] with the Common Core and PARCC,” said Spurlock. “I’m good at getting voices from the frontline and turning that input into positive change.”
The mother of two — a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old — moved to Oak Park about 2½ years ago from a neighborhood in Chicago. She said the community’s diversity and its high-quality schools attracted her. But after talking to district parents, she noticed there were areas in which the schools could make progress.
“People have said science education needs to be improved,” she noted, and parents also told her the overall quality of education isn’t shared equitably across schools and students in the district.
“The time has come for us to look at all the data and make sure that all kids who go to middle school go to high school prepared, and my understanding is that people aren’t convinced that’s happening right now,” said Spurlock.
But her primary motivation for running is much closer to home. The former practicing attorney, who also has an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, said it’s important that her two children be able to learn in excellent middle schools when they’re older.
“I think my skills really line up with what the board needs,” she said. “I want to focus on collaboration and best-practice sharing. We need to make sure each school in the district has the benefit of information and best practices happening at other schools.”