The Wednesday Journal sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Journal’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.

Holly Spurlock | CHANDLER WEST

Name:  Holly Spurlock

Age: 46

Previous Political Experience: member, D97 School Board, 8 years

Previous/Current Community Involvement: Frank Lloyd Wright Advisory Board, D97 School Board

Occupation: Attorney, Claims Director for Professional Services 

Education:  B.A., University of Texas; Law Degree, Northwestern University School of Law; MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

1. Why are you running for the school board of District 97? 

I am running for the school board of District 97 because I believe Board continuity as we move forward from the pandemic, implement our Equity Policy, and work with our new Superintendent Dr. Shah is critical.  I was elected to the Board in 2015 and over the last 8 years I have gained institutional knowledge, voted to adopt policies that support our students, and established meaningful relationships with many of our teachers, administrators, and families.   I am running for the school board to continue to listen and respond to the expectations our school community and community at large have of our schools.  

2. What experience and perspectives would you bring to the position and how would they be valuable as an elected official? 

I bring my whole self to the position of school board member.  I am an Oak Park community member since 2012 – prior to having students in D97 – and I recall how it felt to not yet be a parent in the district and want to ensure our community members are informed about the schools.  I now have an 8th grader and a 5th grader who have attended Whittier elementary school and Brooks Middle School so I am also a parent who has experienced D97 schools.  This allows me to comment on my firsthand experience in the district.  My children are biracial and interfaith and I bring that perspective to my work on the Board as we strive to make our schools inclusive and welcoming to all of our students.  I am an attorney where a large part of my job is negotiations.  Negotiations requires an understanding of different perspectives, an ability to compromise and recognize needs and wants, and involves problem solving strategies.  These skills are helpful as we balance programing and investments in initiatives.  Overall, my perspective is about serving our district.  I truly believe in our students, teachers, families and the system overall and I am committed to the success of our students.   

3. What do you believe are some of the greatest challenges facing the district?

At this juncture, the district is in a good place.  We have strong leadership in our new Superintendent and an uncontested race for the board that will ensure continuity of board members.  We have an Equity policy that was adopted in 2019 but only 6 months into implementation when the pandemic hit and our team is ready to execute on it.  Our community is recovering from the collective stress we experienced during the pandemic and ready to emerge stronger and with refreshed ideas of how best to serve our students and the community.  Being in a good place, however, does not mean we are without challenges.  We have stalled in our work to improve outcomes for all students as we navigated Covid and we need to make up for lost time.  Our achievement/opportunity gap has widened and it is imperative that we adjust and meet the needs of all of our students so that all of our children reach their potential.  Our teachers and staff have done so much to ensure our school communities powered through Covid and we need to support their growth as teachers and as individuals as they strive for personal balance. Even in the face of these challenges, however, I am confident that we will be stronger in the next 4 years than ever before and that we will work together to support each other and our students.  

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