Interim Director, Policy and Communications Unit, and Director, Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Unit, Cook County Department of Public Health
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Master of Public Health (MPH), with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
My husband and I have lived in Berwyn for 15 years. We have two sons, ages 11 and 8, who are enrolled in District 100 schools.
Board member, Berwyn Cares; Work group member, Fix the Funding; Volunteer, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance; Co-chair, District 100 DACEE Early Childhood Committee; Work group member, City of Homes Organization Healthy People 2020 grant application; Past board member, Berwyn Arts Council; Member, Emerson PTA; Past board member, PCC Wellness; Volunteer, Berwyn Oktoberfest and Berwyn Bungalow Tour.
Previous elected offices held
Berwyn South School District 100 - elected to the school board in 2013; board Vice President since 2015.
Why have you decided to run for this office?
Students in District 100 deserve educational opportunities that prepare them for success. I would like to be re-elected to the board to develop initiatives that promote student achievement and foster school environments that support children’s academic and social-emotional development. I would like to continue to work with the community to improve communication and engagement within the District.
What experience and strengths would you bring to this office if elected?
I’ve worked in health and education policy for over 25 years. This has taught me to explore solutions to complex problems, formulate ways to apply those best practices in the real world, and successfully advocate for investments to support initiatives that make a difference in the lives of children and their families. I’ve secured grant funds, managed budgets, and mentored staff. I am the only incumbent running for re-election – my four years on the school board have provided insight into D100’s challenges as well as the many initiatives focused on improving student achievement.
Where do you stand on the district’s referendum measure asking for an increase to the limiting tax rate?
Since 2012, District 100 has lost over $8 million in state funding because Illinois has not paid the full funding it promised to districts. We balanced the budget this year by cutting $1.5 million through reducing staff, increasing class size, cutting preschool, and trimming extracurriculars, but more cuts are imminent if we do not pass our first operational referendum since 1986. For an average of $20/month, we’ll be able to keep band, sports, arts programs, after school clubs, and maintain class sizes and avoid school closings. I strongly support the referendum.
What are your thoughts regarding Illinois’ school funding formula?
Lower-income children in Illinois are shortchanged in our current system. Illinois is ranked the worst in the nation according to the proportion of total education funding it provides to its school districts. For every dollar spent on a more affluent student, Illinois provides low-income students only 81 cents (edtrust.org). That leaves local property taxes to fill the gap, asking for more investment in the neighborhoods that can least shoulder that burden. Lower-income children need more supports to be successful, not fewer. We must advocate for a more equitable system that eliminates the over-reliance on local contributions.
What types of new technologies or styles of learning should the district explore or implement in the coming years?
Technology itself doesn’t improve students’ achievement – the way teachers implement technology makes the impact. BSD100 has engaged in “above the line” teaching for several years, an instructional model that moves from merely substituting technology (ex: using online books instead of paperbacks) to using apps/programs that help students engage with and create their own content to demonstrate mastery of subjects. I am interested in deepening these opportunities for redefining learning. Continuing our nascent dual language programs, maintaining co-teaching classrooms where children with disabilities learn alongside their non-disabled peers, and expanding preschool are also critical to student achievement.
The current political climate across the United States seems more divided than ever. What will you do to foster cooperation and compromise on the board?
While this is true nationally, my current board member colleagues and I have demonstrated a commitment to collaboration by openly discussing issues, asking questions, listening well, and disagreeing respectfully. The candidates for school board have demonstrated this same spirit of collaboration. While we are competing for election, we are working together to pass the referendum that we know will benefit our students. I respect the other candidates. We share a commitment to educational equity and a focus on what is best for the children of District 100. I believe this common philosophy will enable us to work together successfully.