*EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates submitted their own biographies
I am Carolyn Wilhight your Candidate of Choice for Triton Community College Trustee. I believe that successful schools create successful communities and Triton is a valuable asset to our community. My goal is to CREATE DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY for all students by ensuring Triton remains affordable, accessible and available to all.
I am a committed 26-year resident of the Triton and Westchester communities with a vested interest in the continuing advancement of schools. I believe that our schools are key to attracting the residents and businesses that will continue to build, support, and sustain a community’s infrastructure for years to come. This can be done by building partnerships with our local businesses and organizations to develop enrichment programs, internships, and scholarships to assist our students.
I know first-hand what it takes to be a successful Trustee. I was the first African American to serve eight years on the Westchester – District 92 ½ School Board, where I held the positions of Board President, Secretary and Financial Committee Chairperson. I worked to ensure the following: that each school and child in the district would meet or exceed the state academic achievement standards, our schools were safe for all through our capital planning-investment projects, our teachers were supported through successful union negotiations and the hiring of exceptional leadership, and we obtain the necessary financial resources to remain solvent through referendums and adequate levying of property taxes.
I am passionate about ensuring individuals and businesses thrive financially. That is why I am currently an active instructor at the Living Word Christian Center-Joseph Business School (JBS) located in Forest Park, IL. The overall mission is to equip business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with sound practical business and biblical principles to raise up companies and create wealth to transform desolate places into flourishing communities for the glory of God.
In addition, I have consulted a variety of small businesses and non-for-profit organizations providing solutions to their accounting, bookkeeping, tax or operational needs. This is an asset I can share with the Triton students to provide them with relevant guidance for being future employees or entrepreneurs.
The success of our schools begins at the top, and that is with its Board of Trustees and School President. A well-rounded, relevant Trustee must practice good governance, understand government finances, think strategically, and have a heart for the community.
As a Certified Public Accountant, with vast experience in the financial industry, I am a firm believer in being integrous, accountable, and transparent. I am a servant-leader with governing experience and a heart for students, while understanding the needs of other community stakeholders.
I am Ready to Lead and Prepared to Serve the Triton Community.
What is your understanding of the role of a board trustee?
The success of our schools begins at the top with the Board of Trustees and School President. A well-rounded, relevant Trustee must practice good governance which includes, but not limited to establishing measurable and sustainable policies and procedures. They must understand government finances and budgeting in order to properly fulfill their fiduciary duties. In addition, they must be a strategic thinker in order to adequately plan for the future and have a heart for the community by being engaged.
Do you believe that Triton College adequately serves the needs of its Black, Brown and otherwise disadvantaged students? Please explain.
Currently the Black, Brown student population is 14%. This number reflects Triton’s outreach to those communities. Even though Triton has an avenue to reach the underserved students, we are at a time in which we need to revisit and assess those methods and enhance them.
Does the Triton College administration have a healthy relationship with its various bargaining units? Please explain.
In recent years, the Cook County College Teachers Union has had a very acrimonious relationship with the Triton Administration. In late 2019, there was a one day strike due to unfair treatment.
In my time as President of the Westchester School District, I diligently worked to maintain rapport and a collaborative working relationship with our teachers and staff. They are the strength of our schools.
Is a Triton College education affordable? Please explain.
The question of affordability is relative to a family’s given financial situation. What is clearly affordable and a bargain to some students may be a heightened struggle to others. To level set the conversation, I believe that a clearer question is whether or not Triton College is a good “Value” for the investment that a student makes towards achieving their educational and career aspirations. There are many success stories that we can all draw from that illustrates evident value from a Triton College education.
Is Triton College sufficiently engaged with its feeder communities? Please explain.
Twenty- five (25) towns and villages feed into and support the Triton Community through property taxes. Triton has many opportunities that are not maximized by the entire Triton Community. Thus, we need to expand our community outreach and which will create doors of opportunity for all ages.
Does the college have adequate COVID-19 mitigations and protocols in place? Please explain.
Triton implemented COVID-19 best practices based on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
However, many college campuses have instituted random testing of students as a proactive measure.