*EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates submitted their own biographies
Lisa (Nocita) Bickel is currently a School District 89/Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview fourth grade English Language Arts (ELA) instructor at Melrose Park Elementary School, where she’s been employed since 2014. Bickel taught second grade from 2014-2018 and in 2019 shifted to fourth grade instruction. Prior to her current position, Lisa pursued and completed her clinical/student teaching experience at Stevenson Elementary School (School District 89/Melrose Park).
In her current position at Melrose Park Elementary School, Bickel is a member of the National Education Association (NEA) and the Maywood Education Association (MEA).
Lisa attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grade School (Melrose Park) from 1992-1998 and completed her elementary education graduating from Visitation School (Elmhurst) in June of 2000. Bickel is an alumna and a graduate of Trinity High School (River Forest) Class of 2004 and a proud member of Trinity Nation. Throughout her time at Trinity, Lisa earned National Honor Society recognition for her academic achievement.
Bickel attended the University of Iowa and graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in business and communication.
After college, Lisa worked for Marriott International from 2011-2012 as an event coordinator. She was a point of contact for group stays and ensured all arrangements were agreeable for their visit.
In 2012, Bickel used her experience in business events to obtain a position with Gibsons Restaurant Group. She continued to plan and organize social and public occasions, working with customers, leading a team of servers, and analyzing detailed proposals and business contracts until 2014.
While being employed in the hospitality field, Lisa continued her education and received a master’s degree in elementary education in 2014 from Concordia University (River Forest) and while teaching, Bickel worked hard to receive an MA +15 (a master’s plus 15 credits (five courses)) and an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement from Dominican University (River Forest) in 2017.
Bickel was appointed to the Triton College Board of Trustees in September 2020, and was appointed to serve as a member of the Board Finance/Maintenance & Operations Committee that same year. Lisa is a proponent of quality education and first-class future learning, and sought to join the board to help promote the growth of Triton College for the well-being of its students and stakeholders.
Born and raised in Melrose Park, Bickel now resides in Elmwood Park with her husband Bob and her two beautiful children – Natalie (5) and Bobby (3). She has extreme family values and takes pride in her children’s education.
Lisa and her family are parishioners at St. Vincent Ferrer Church (River Forest), and Natalie and Bobby are enrolled at St. Vincent Ferrer School.
What is your understanding of the role of a board trustee?
The primary role of a Trustee is developing policies that provide the framework for the administration and staff in the operation of the college. A Trustee supports the daily decisions made by the administration that reflect those policies in order to benefit the community and students. Another vital role of a Trustee is to engage and interact with the community in order to share the educational opportunities Triton presents, and to receive feedback from the community on their thoughts and experiences with the college.
Do you believe that Triton College adequately serves the needs of its Black, Brown and otherwise disadvantaged students? Please explain.
Having just been appointed to the board a few months ago, my personal experience as a board member is obviously somewhat limited. However, as a former Triton student and current teacher in District 89, I have witnessed and have had people of diverse backgrounds share with me their positive experiences at Triton College and how Triton has helped to better their lives. The broad range of educational opportunities provides students of all backgrounds the opportunity to achieve their goals.
Does the Triton College administration have a healthy relationship with its various bargaining units? Please explain.
During my brief tenure as a Triton College Trustee, I have only had limited opportunities to witness the interaction and the relationship between the administration and various employee groups at the college. However, at the board and finance committee meetings that I have participated in, I witnessed mutual respect among the administration and the various employee groups. During these meetings, I have observed active listening to concerns and comments, as well as cordial yet candid dialogue between college employees. To me, that is a sign of an open and healthy working relationship.
Is a Triton College education affordable? Please explain.
As a former Triton student, I can personally testify to the fact that Triton College is substantially more affordable than a four-year college. That is true even more so today than when I attended Triton. As compared to other community colleges in our area, Triton compares quite favorably from a cost standpoint, especially considering the wide range of course and program offerings that Triton has available. The transformation of the campus and the upgrades in classroom and facilities that I have personally observed recently lead me to believe that Triton offers a superior educational experience at an affordable price.
Is Triton College sufficiently engaged with its feeder communities? Please explain.
As a lifelong resident of the Triton district, I feel that Triton has always done a good job of communicating the educational opportunities that Triton has available. From grade schoolers taking organized class trips to Triton’s Cernan Center to open houses and job fairs that inform the community about educational and employment opportunities to the Triton College Foundation events that bring together all of Triton’s diverse constituencies, I feel that Triton College does a great job of reaching out to all district residents.
Does the college have adequate COVID-19 mitigations and protocols in place? Please explain.
Since joining the board, I have been on campus for meetings and have personally witnessed the steps that Triton has taken to ensure safety for those coming on campus. There are markings for 6-foot distancing, there are hand sanitizers at every building entrance and also throughout each building, and signage indicating that wearing a mask is mandatory. Furnishings are spread out to accommodate 6-foot distancing, and restroom facilities have been temporarily modified to ensure proper distancing.
Furthermore, at our most recent board meeting, which was held in person and on campus at our board room, we were informed of the updating of the air filtration systems to “MERV 13,” which is the highest efficiency filter that the systems can accept without compromising ventilation. The board has also been advised that cleaning protocols have been put in place that meet or exceed the CDC guidelines.
While the majority of Triton classes have been held remotely since the middle of the spring semester, a significant number of classes that have lab requirements or otherwise require in person learning have been held on campus and continue to be held on campus with relatively insignificant instances of COVID 19 exposure being reported. I am certain that the COVID 19 mitigations and protocols that have been put in place at Triton College are more than adequate to ensure safety to those coming on campus.