I served on the Oak Park Elementary School District 97 board from 2013-2017. Quality public education in Oak Park has remained an important issue for me, as it is for many Oak Park residents. At this pivotal moment in time, D97 is facing urgent issues that include safely returning to school, hiring a new superintendent, and advancing equity in a manner that tangibly impacts the opportunity gap.

One of the keys to meeting these challenges and maintaining strong public schools is ensuring that we elect thoughtful board members who can exercise good judgement, think and act strategically, and coalesce around the 20% of issues that make 80% of the impact. 

Board effectiveness directly impacts the educational experience, outcomes, and lives of over 6,000 children and their families in Oak Park. And to take it one step further, in a village where D97 is the largest share of the property tax bill and continues to be the leading reason why new families move to Oak Park and thereby support property values and local businesses, getting high-caliber individuals on the D97 board is of critical importance to all Oak Park residents.

With that background, and following extensive research and vetting, I am strongly supportive of these exceptional candidates for the D97 school board:

Nancy Ross Dribin – A Beye parent, Nancy is a PTO leader, has a background in education technology, and has been involved in longitudinal equity studies in public schools as part of her graduate education at NYU.

Jeremy Duffy – A Hatch parent, Jeremy is a Teach for America alum who taught in both the Los Angeles and Chicago public schools before attending law school and entering education law. He has been outside counsel to numerous school districts on behalf of two of the most reputable firms in the field of education law, and is now in-house counsel at a large suburban district.

Venus Hurd Johnson – A Julian parent, Venus is the former Mann PTO president and is currently co-president of the PTO Council, and helped found and continues to be part of the leadership of the Oak Park PTO Diversity Committee (DIVCO). 

Based on their skill sets, insights, and experience, I think Oak Park is incredibly fortunate to have such talented and capable people raising their hands for public service. 

Please consider Nancy, Jeremy, and Venus for your vote on April 6.

Graham Brisben, Oak Park

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