District 200 School Board Candidate
JUMP TO: Questionnaire
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates submitted their own biographies
From an early age, my parents instilled in my siblings and me the importance of education. My parents are originally from Jamaica and moved to the US to provide their children with more educational and professional opportunities.
I am originally from Tallahassee, Florida, where I was fortunate to attend a high school that had a new International Baccalaureate Program. The curriculum was rigorous and challenging and I was fully prepared for when I entered college.
I attended Florida International University in Miami, where I met my wonderful wife Nicole. I later received my MS in Urban Planning from Florida State University. There I learned the importance of community participation in shaping a vision of an equitable society.
My family and I relocated to Oak Park in 2011 and fell in love with the community’s diversity, friendly neighbors, and excellent schools. Our daughter, Breanna, matriculated through Holmes, Brooks, and OPRF, and is now a freshman in the UIC Honors Program. Along her educational journey, we began to realize that there were many inequities, which became increasingly visible throughout her high school years.
For the past two years, I have served as a member of the OPRF High School Culture, Climate and Behavior Committee where I have been thoroughly engaged in the goal of creating more equitable experiences for our students. I believe OPRF can live up to its commitment to ensure that all students are well-equipped to take on the challenges of our complex, culturally diverse, and ever-changing world.
I have 2 young sons, Kemuel and Khayan. My dream is for them to attend an OPRF that encourages their success, is well along the path of eradicating any semblance of structural racism and bias, and truly embraces and embodies equity in all facets of student life.
As a business owner and a 10-year professional in the telecommunications industry, I have the experience and ability to create and manage large scale budgets. This involves minimizing costs while maximizing efficiencies and impact. Delivering sound judgment and excellent service has been the key to my continued success. I will bring this same skillset to the school board to ensure that the first solution is not raising taxes to achieve our goals.
My commitment to the residents of Oak Park and River Forest is that I will continue to strive to ensure that each student has the opportunities and support needed to blossom and thrive.
On April 6, I humbly ask that you cast your ballot for me. With your support, I believe OPRF can, and will be, a school where all students are fully prepared for success.
Do you believe the district is adequately addressing the needs of its most marginalized students, particularly Black and Brown students?
I believe the district is moving in the right direction with the development and implementation of the Strategic Plan. I am also encouraged by the recent adoption of a more equitable freshman curriculum that will allow all students to be challenged based solely upon their abilities.
What are your expectations from the next superintendent who will succeed outgoing Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams?
My expectation of the incoming superintendent will be that they are fully prepared to work within a very diverse population. The diversity of our communities is what makes our area so desirable for families, and they should have experience working in that kind of environment. Also, I would expect the superintendent to be an active practitioner of equity work and not solely an academic. Ideally, they will be ready to hit the ground running, and possess strong leadership skills that will sometimes require making tough decisions that are in best interest of the students and community
What are your thoughts on the district’s hybrid learning model and its implementation?
I think the district did a good job based upon the unprecedented situation, particularly with the commitment of putting the physical health of our students and administration first. We learned a lot from this experience, and it highlighted opportunities for improvement such as more mental health support required for our students.
Will you support the district’s plans for freshmen curriculum restructuring? Please explain your reasoning.
I fully support revamping the curriculum to allow for all students to be afforded the opportunity to be intellectually challenged based solely upon their ability. There is a misconception that Honors level classes are being eliminated which is incorrect. I would highly suggest residents and parents read the plan on the websites, and if necessary, seek clarification from the administration.
What are your thoughts on the current teacher contract?
I support any solution that is fair to all parties concerned and ultimately ensures the best outcome for the students and administration. My approach is to always consider the opinions of all stakeholders and base a decision on what is fair and equitable.
What do you understand to be the core functions of a school board member?
From my understanding, the core functions of a board member are to provide oversight and accountability, as well as taking the opinions of all community members into consideration prior to rendering a decision. The decision should be rooted in logic and data, and ultimately what provides the best outcome for our students and community.