I have lived in Oak Park for the last 43 years and have been Jennifer Kovar’s next-door neighbor for the last 14. I’m also a newly retired teacher who taught in this century and the last one. I’m so excited to support her campaign for the District 97 school board!

Over the years, I have shared many thoughtful conversations about wide-ranging education topics with Jen. Talking over the fence with her recently, we both agreed strongly that the classroom experience for children has changed dramatically from what most adults remember from their own school days and even from when we started teaching.

This is why it is critical to have a highly qualified classroom teacher like Jen Kovar on the D97 school board. As the only professional educator on the board, Jen will bring a teacher’s voice, better connecting the board with classroom experience.

She has taught for 20 years, the last 15 in sixth-grade Language Arts in Riverside. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, which is one of the highest distinctions for an educator and something we value here in our Oak Park schools. Plus, having dedicated her teaching career to middle schools, I am confident she can help the board direct much-needed attention to Brooks and Julian.

Jen understands firsthand how the pandemic has affected students and their families because she has been on the frontline — teaching in person and remote simultaneously, all while her two sons attend school in hybrid modes. She knows this experience has highlighted many challenges facing D97 that won’t simply disappear with schools returning to “normal.”

Beyond her background and experience, I am also compelled by Jen’s priorities. As a D97 school board member, she will listen to and amplify historically marginalized voices and strengthen the district’s engagement with the community. Importantly for me as a fellow educator, she will help the board keep students at the center of all its decisions.

For all these reasons, I am voting for Jen Kovar for D97 school board and I encourage you to vote for her too.

Susan Tindall, Oak Park

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