A) Spring Brook Elementary, Gregory Middle, and Neuqua Valley High School
B & C) A combination of life experience, as well as first-hand involvement in teaching and learning, make me an excellent candidate for the IPSD 204 school board. Our district serves students from preschool through high school and beyond, and in each stage, students and families encounter unique challenges. As a parent with students currently in elementary, middle, high school, AND college, I’m able to both keep a finger on the pulse point at each level as well as relate personally to the full spectrum of education. Years of working as part of a volunteer ensemble (in multiple PTAs, various boards, in the theater) have honed my skills as a team player, creative and independent thinker, listener, and leader. This expertise prepares me well for the collaboration required for an effective school board. It reinforces my strengths as an empathetic, sincere, open-minded, and community-focused team member.
Teaching in higher education gives me a keen awareness of and appreciation for the level of college-readiness IPSD provides our students. It underscores for me the need for varied and accessible resources and tools for students who wish to pursue a path other than that of a traditional “college.” My time in the classroom (particularly over the last year) has allowed me to practice new, adapted methods of instruction. This informs my understanding of the challenges our educators face. I witness first-hand what’s essential for our students to succeed academically, and I’m committed to supporting policies that provide those tools and opportunities. Volunteer leadership positions (especially as PTA president) gave me invaluable experience in being fiscally responsible with funds while striving to provide the highest quality resources and services for constituents. This particular form of servant leadership will be critical in managing the policy of an underfunded district such as Indian Prairie.
I’m running for the IPSD 204 school board because my children have benefitted enormously from the high-quality education and experience they’ve received here. I was raised with the idea that with privilege comes the responsibility to give back, and serving the community as a school board member is a perfect opportunity to do just that. I want to contribute to ensuring all district students receive the resources and tools they need to achieve the academic and personal excellence for which our district is known.
Our district’s most important issue at this time is three-fold and directly related to the pandemic’s effect on students. First, we need to find innovative ways to ensure that ALL students are able to receive an equitable, quality education—whether they are in-person or remote. While we are in a hybrid learning model, I'd really like to explore options that include teachers dedicated to only in-person students and teachers dedicated to only remote students. This best serves students in both learning modalities as well as teachers who would then be able to focus their attention on a single group of students at a time. Second, we need to double down on social-emotional programs and resources to support our students’ mental health. Enlisting the aid of well-established local organizations such as Youth 360 is one way can we strengthen the social-emotional support system for our students. Finally, we must focus on working together. We all have what we believe are the best interests of our students at heart, and assuming "positive intent" of one another allows us to hear and respect differing viewpoints. This demonstrates true leadership for our students, and for the community as well.
The metrics currently used by IPSD 204 are the DuPage County Health Department data and the Northwestern 7-Day Positivity Rate for the ZIP codes in the district. Local public health experts can provide the most informed guidance, and so even though many of us are eager to get our kids back in the classroom asap, we must adhere to public health guidelines in doing so. I’m hopeful that with increasing numbers of teachers, staff, and community members receiving the vaccine that community transmission will continue to fall. This in turn would allow the district to bring in students for more in-person learning while following necessary mitigation strategies. The sooner we can do that, the better off our students will be. We should prioritize giving students with existing IEPs and special needs the most time in-person to start, as these students are at the greatest risk of significant and severe learning loss. For a truly successful transition though, I believe ALL students will need to be evaluated so we can identify the unique needs of each and provide appropriate support. One element of remote learning that I think might be useful to retain is “intervention” time. This allows all students (not only those already identified as needing extra help) time to get one-on-one attention and support from their teachers. I think this is valuable for all students, especially as they learn to navigate the new normal.
Our district is known for doing a lot with a little, and as a school board member, I will support continuing to be good stewards of our assets while providing high quality education. As a result of the state’s budget deficit, we will not receive the funds to get us closer to being adequately funded. That leaves us with no choice but to continue to make stringent, thoughtful financial decisions despite the fact that we are already a very lean district. In the past, we’ve managed this by putting off building maintenance and upgrades; however, we’ll be facing an even bigger challenge now that we have essentially maxed out those options. We need to do whatever we can to ensure that services for our students are reduced as little as possible, and I’ll be a strong advocate for putting students’ needs at the top of our list.
I live in the southern part of Naperville. My kids attended Graham Elementary, Crone Middle School and Neuqua Valley High School.
I have been in the field of education for the past 25 years. I have a Bachelor's Degree from Purdue University in Political Science and Spanish, a Master's Degree in Latin American Studies, a Master's of Arts in Teacher Leadership from Roosevelt University and my Administrative certification from North Central College. I have served as a classroom teacher as well as a building administrator in the roles of Dean, Assistant Principal and Principal. I understand the complexities that go into serving on a school board. A school board member must be ready and willing to serve their constituents while always making decisions in what is in the best interest of the students. I bring the passion for serving kids to the table while understanding the different facets that go into decision making processes.
My 25 year career has been spent in public schools. I have worked primarily at the high school level, however, I do have experience at the middle school level as well. I have worked with many different stakeholder groups throughout my tenure from school board members to parent groups to teacher unions. When my own kids attended Graham Elementary I often volunteered in their classrooms as well as attended several field trips. I have given a lot of time and energy to thousands of students in other districts and I now want to bring my expertise and knowledge to my Indian Prairie School District by serving as a school board member.
I am passionate about serving kids and that has fueled my career for the past 25 years. We live in a community in which schools play a vital role in the daily lives of our own children. My kids have grown up in District 204 and they have had their challenges as well as their successes. I have seen what this district has to offer from the incredible academic curriculum, athletics, extra-curricular activities, fine arts as well as social emotional learning. I want to ensure that we continue to provide these opportunities for ALL of the students of our IPSD community. It is imperative that we continue to provide the best possible education for our students so that families want to move to the school district, stay in the school district and increase our property values.
There are a few important issues that must be addressed immediately. The last year our education system has been in turmoil with the pandemic. For the past 11 months teachers have been asked to teach like they never have before. They have had to create thought provoking lessons without the hands on experience everyone is so used to. They have worked hard! However, the amount of material and the depth in which the curriculum has been covered is not the same. It will be important for the district and building administration to ensure that vertical articulation is occurring at all the different levels. We must have a reintegration plan to full time face to face
instruction in which students, staff and parents feel safe when in the school setting.
In reviewing the most recent assessment data on the 2019 State Report Card we also must address the achievement gap that exists in IPSD 204. Are the resources we are providing to students along with the interventions offering equal opportunities for success? Are teachers being provided the right professional development to understand equity and culturally relevant teaching to help address the gaps that exist? This is not something that will be solved overnight but there is a need to decrease the gaps that exist between our student sub-groups.
One other issue that needs to be investigated is the issue of class size. IPSD 204's class sizes are much higher than the state average (yet our per pupil expenditure is below the state average). Research shows that class size can have a significant impact on student success at the younger grade levels. I would like to understand better the thought process that has gone into maintaining this large class size and seeking possibilities to improve that number while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
If a family believes that it is in the best interest of their child to be in school they should have the option of in-school learning 5 days per week. If a family believes that their child should remain in remote learning for the remainder of the year then they should have that option as well. There should have been a phased plan from the beginning of they year that included metrics for either an advancement to another phase or pulling back to full remote learning when it was deemed necessary. The current metrics as well as the distribution of vaccines lends themselves to our students being in school full time if they so choose. In order for everyone to feel safe masks should be required and social distancing maintained when feasible. Since we are not sure of what the future holds with the vaccine for children or what the state of Illinois will require of schools come fall, I believe that we can make full remote learning an option in the fall without having teachers instructing in both hybrid and remote. This would require our building administrators to think creatively when it comes to scheduling but it should be an option.
As stated previously we must understand that through remote learning our students have not had the opportunities for hands on learning that they are used to. The depth into the curriculum just has not been the same as previous years. It is important that this spring our teachers are collaborating and articulating vertically so that the next teachers understand which part of the curricula may have not gotten addressed as it has in the past. The teachers in the fall need to fully aware of what their students mastered and make changes to their curriculum as needed.
My understanding of Evidence Based Funding (EBF) that was passed in the state of Illinois in 2017 was that it was supposed to send more resources to those districts that are under funded and create more equity among school districts. However, the state of Illinois has not always been on time with its payments and that has created some fiscal constraints for some school districts. Our state needs to understand that we rely on their funding for our schools to operate on a day to day basis. Currently IPSD 204 is funded at 80% from our local revenue sources which means that we rely on both state and federal funds to make up the remainder of our operating budget. There are surrounding districts in which they are 117% funded due to the industry and commercial properties that reside in their district. We unfortunately do not have those advantages and we have to be more fiscally aware that we are using our funds responsibly. If IPSD 204 continues to see lags in receiving funding I would not hesitate to reach out to state lawmakers to demand the funds promised to ensure that we are providing the best possible education for ALL of our students.
a) Patterson • Crone • Neuqua b) A portion of my platform states support of the fine arts and enrichment programs because my pursuits as a thespian in high school had a tremendously positive impact on me. I want to support our district's efforts to be dynamic in its ability to provide quality academic and supplemental enrichment. I am the first woman in my family to graduate college after attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and as a result, have immense appreciation for education. My career includes advertising sales for the Chicago Sun-Times, background screening software sales in Seattle, and pharmaceutical sales as a neuroscience representative in Arizona. I have operated a photography/graphic design business for the last 12 years. All of my life experiences have given me the business acumen, communication skills, and grit to tackle the learning curve, goals, and oath of a school board member.
c) Upon relocating to Naperville, I immediately became involved in our elementary school PTA when our oldest started 1st grade. I became Teacher Appreciation Chair (2016-2017), VP Administration (2017-2019), and am currently Secretary (2019-present).
I participated as a Reflections judge for the photography submissions in 2017; It was a pleasure to witness the efforts and creativity of district students! I provide photography services to Patterson PTA (2017-present) and Springbrook Elementary (2019 & 2020) to assist with fundraising that has resulted in $4k+ funds raised. I photographed the Patterson 5th grade portraits and also captured/produced their 5th-grade celebration videos (since 2017), which resulted in significant cost-savings versus using 3rd party vendors.
I participated in the STEM/Career day at Patterson Elementary this past March to provide k-5 students with a mini-course in photography. During Spring lockdown, I provided free virtual photography lessons to students.
• Hesed House Mission Sponsor, 2021 • Knox Councilwoman (2017-2020)
I sincerely feel called to serving the community as an advocate for students. Rather than sit by the sidelines of policy-making, I opted to run after seeing board vacancies with the goal of bringing a parent perspective and a focus on transparency. During the board term, I
will have children at each level of district education: elementary, middle, and high school. Our children deserve dynamic leadership, especially after the pandemic year, so they may advance and achieve their greatest potential.
1) The Pandemic Gaps: Academic, Social, and Emotional
A student struggling socially/emotionally will be hard-pressed to learn effectively and perform optimally. A “whole-child” approach to assessments and learning will be imperative to bridge the pandemic gaps. I have begun proposing strategies at my candidate site blog, such as the “Spring Forward” concept to get buy-in from all in the community who are supporting student advancement. Feedback from educators and staff regarding best practices should be regularly shared among the district administrators. To best address these gaps, the transition to in-person is critical (see the answer to transition question below).
2) District Finances-see my response to the last question.
The word “equity” has become a prominent part of district nomenclature. I only deem it as an “issue” became of its vulnerability to subjectivity spanned across a district of 27,400 students, its educators, staff, and administrators. The fact that we are a diverse community should be celebrated as a given, not a variable. The board has taken to building an “equity statement” which at the surface is well-intentioned. It appears to be proclaiming an unbiased approach to delivering equitable opportunities to district students. I applaud this concept but assumed this was already in place in its mission statement, without further amendment. I see an issue with our district inventing a solution to a problem that hasn’t even been fully defined. We need clarity of terms to have a clarity of purpose. Otherwise, we are taking time and resources away from other issues.
Since the pandemic began, I have as a citizen and parent researched public health organizations (IDPH, CDC, etc.), local health statistics (county), medical journals, and Illinois State Board of Education policies to discern what options would be safest for our family. This method would apply to my role as a board member. These sources have published guidelines and resources to safely return to in-person learning. At my candidate site, I published statistics from Dupage County Health Dept. (the rolling 7-day average in January when IPSD began hybrid was higher than when I initially advocated for hybrid choice in August) and statements of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both organizations among others have advocated for making a return to in-person learning a priority with clearly outlined mitigation strategies. The ISBE has stated that local districts have the autonomy and authority regarding the transition to in-person learning. If all remains the same by the time I am elected, I would advocate for a “sunset” approach to remote learning where by the end of 2021, the remote option will cease. Our district, educators, staff, facilities and programming are designed and budgeted for optimal in-person learning. The priority is a safe return to in-person learning. Every successful strategy to solve complex issues should have input and collaboration with all stakeholders. The district should be continually surveying the entire district for a litmus on what is and what is not working. School-level task forces at the elementary, middle, and high schools would be a great resource to assess the impact of any transition plan; each level of district learning has its own challenges and successes. Chromebook and zoom are excellent tools for reinforcing of curriculum; not a full replacement. At the high school level, independent/ small-group learning remotely is good practice for future collegiate experiences; remote isn't the gold standard.
Operating the 4th largest school district in a debt-laden state will require a multi-faceted approach to solutions. It’s imperative that the board, parents, and stakeholders pay attention to elections and legislation that will have a direct impact on education. As a board member, I would take a proactive role in advocating for the best state and local policies to ensure the highest caliber of education possible for our community.
The district will have to take a forensic dive into district finances. The past year has given insight into what programming is most essential to academic, social, and emotional success. The students have to be the priority, not the institution. A district of our size and demand is only sustainable with fiscal discipline and innovative approaches to the delivery of quality education.
In addition to ensuring the maximization of district funds, a dedicated grant coordinator would be extremely beneficial to the overall grant funding of the district. Many grade/school level educators have taken on the efforts individually to pursue grants. A district-level coordinator would be beneficial for ensuring equitable grant funding across the district.
The Indian Prairie Education Fund is extremely helpful in supporting district goals. Continued community engagement with this organization will have direct benefits to district students.
a. Springbrook, Gregory, Neuqua
b. I worked for 35+ years for the various forms of Bell Labs, AT&T, Lucent, Alcatel/Lucent, and Nokia. During my career as a Senior Director, I led a variety of large, global business and technical teams, included a $1B procurement program and a $250M investment portfolio.
I retired in 2018 to dedicate more time to the school district and my other volunteer activities.
I hold a BS degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Benedictine University. Additionally, I am a professionally certified program manager.
c. In 2017 I was elected to the District 204 board and currently serve as the Secretary. While on the board, the district continued strong academic performance results while gaining focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and equity. Besides the internal topics, our board is involved with local and state government to lobby for district interests. In the past year, we signed an innovative TIF agreement with the City of Aurora to protect district funding. At the State level, we were successful in getting lobbying positions accepted including, HS student voter registration, active shooter training, and equity.
Besides my role as a school board member, I have an extensive history of volunteer activities in the community. For over 15 years, my therapy dogs have been visiting patients at Edward Hospital in the Animal Assisted Therapy program. I am often in the District schools with my dogs regularly providing support for reading and special needs students. I lead the Naperville League of Women Voters “Voter Girl” program which teaches students about the importance of voting. I am on the board member of the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation (IPEF) which funds a variety of District programs
My two children were fortunate to attend District 204 schools from kindergarten through high school graduation. My original intention for running for the school board in 2017 was to make sure that all current and future students were given this same opportunity to flourish. I wanted to make sure that each of the 2,340 days a student is in public school between kindergarten and 12th grade are filled with enlightenment and the joy of learning. I want to give every student the ability to reach their full potential.
I am running for re-election with this same intent. I am an active volunteer who holds strong beliefs about the importance of giving back to your community. Our board made important changes to focus on Social Emotional Learning and equity. I want to see this work continue. Board members carry tremendous responsibility in forming future generations and managing significant community tax dollars. I’ve been a diligent board member striving for knowledge, insight, community connection and self-improvement. Retiring in 2018 allows me to devote significant time to actions that will allow our students to achieve their greatest.
A cohesive school board is a key attribute of a high performing school district. Just a few short years ago, we witnessed the impact a dysfunctional board had on the College of DuPage. We need people with different opinions, but who can work together to achieve results. At least two seats in District 204 will be filled with new, inexperienced people who will be on a steep learning curve to fulfill their new role. School Districts are complex organizations. My accumulated knowledge will benefit our district and community.
I bring a proven track record with my school board experience, career background, and extensive volunteer activities of integrity and the ability to work with others to create success.
Right now, the district’s immediate challenges are related to the pandemic. This is a complex environment with many differing opinions, evolving guidelines, and district resource constraints. The board and administration decisions are made with student, staff, and community safety in mind. Teachers and staff have done an admirable job converting teaching to a remote model and focusing on essential learnings, but we know some of our students are struggling. We count on the staff to continue their track record of finding innovative techniques to deliver excellence in teaching. For struggling students, we need to provide interventions to address academic gaps and social emotion needs, including addition mental health resources and a robust summer school offering.
Beyond the immediate situation, the district needs to continue to be vigilant around school funding. If you line up all the State of Illinois school mandates, District 204 is 80% funded. As a result, we have large class sizes and are below the state average for spending per student. There are ongoing conversations by law-makers regarding pension shifting, property tax freezes, and refinements to the current school funding formula. TIF districts in Aurora and Naperville are continuous discussions and can have very detrimental impacts on school funding. In the past year, an innovative agreement was created with the City of Aurora to protect district funding. The board will need to be attentive and active in continuing school funding discussions.
Another area facing the district is school populations. We have disparity in the enrollment in our district schools and new housing developments are on the horizon. Our schools in the north end of the district are at capacity, while some in the southern end of the district are under-utilized. If boundary modifications are needed, we want to make sure we take a long term view and minimize the possibility of changes in the future.
I want to see the students in the building as soon as safely possible. Board decisions prioritize the safety of our students, staff, and community. The District follows guidance from public health agencies including the CDC and the IDPH. Plans for in-person learning use metrics from the DuPage County Health Department and local zip-code infection rates from Northwestern University. I support this strategy, measures, and welcomed the addition of the local metric.
I agree with prioritizing bringing the special needs, struggling, and youngest students into our buildings as many days as possible. I want to give all families the choice for in-person learning, while continuing to provide a robust remote offering for those families who want their children to be remote. For struggling students, we need further interventions, including additional mental health support. I support plans to provide a robust summer school offering.
Hybrid participation should be analyzed for opportunities to provide additional in-person learning. As a priority, we need to evolve our elementary model to allow 4 day a week in school learning. I support a second bus run for the elementary students as a funding priority. To reduce expenses, we should study bus usage and determine if we can consolidate routes due to low usage.
Longer term a continued remote offering should be considered. This may be attractive for families with on-going health concerns, or situations where students flourished in a remote mode. Our District was one of the first in the State to have a remote plan approved – about a year before the pandemic. We did this to avoid taking days off for weather incidents. Minimally, we should have remote capabilities for these situations and get approval to use this model for voting days. Additionally, our staff built skills to access programs, speakers, and lectures remotely to supplement learning. We should nurture and grow these technology capabilities.
The State of Illinois budget deficit, changing Evidence Based Funding (EBF), pension shifts, and property tax freezes are all concerns to District 204. 14.6% of our funding comes from the state. These changes would be impactful to our budget. To avoid reductions, we need to pursue actions to protect our funding at the local and state level.
With new construction in the district looming, our school board is actively working with the cities of Aurora and Naperville to change the generation tables. These tables estimate the number of students entering the district from new construction and calculate the associated builder fees. Historic actuals show the tables underestimate the student count causing the fees collected to be significantly reduced. Actions to refine the tables need to continue.
Tax Increment Funding (TIF) reform is another area I would pursue to safe guard district funding. TIFs can have a tremendous impact on school funding. This form of funding has proliferated in our state. TIFs were designed to promote development of a blighted property. TIFs typically are in place for 23 years and hold back school funding on the increased property values. We created an innovative TIF agreement with the City of Aurora to protect our district funding. We need to pursue a similar strategy if Naperville proposes any TIFs.
At the State level, we should lobby for TIF reform, against pension shifts, and property tax freezes. Current TIF rules need to be changed to ensure they are only used in proper situations, school funding is protected, and the term shortened. Current rules allowed Chicago to create hundreds of TIF districts. This causes their schools to be financially starved at the local level. In the current situation, Chicago consumes a large portion of state funding because they are receiving a diminished amount of local taxes due to TIFs. This impacts the funding available for Indian Prairie and other districts in the state.
I live in the area of Kendall Elementary School, Crone Middle School, and Neuqua Valley High School. My children attended these schools when they were young.
I have a passion to serve the community. In the past three years, as a board director of Saddle Creek HOA I have ensured a safe environment for hundreds of homes by being a good leader and team player. I have volunteered and served patients without insurance at Bolingbrook Christian Health Center for over a decade. I am also a a leader for caring program Stephen Ministry in church.
I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. I have been a nurse in China, England and the US with experiences in nursing home, hospital and clinic. In the past fifteen years, I have worked in Will County Health Department. I have served clients with mental health issues, drug issues and domestic violence.
As a public health nurse I used to work for a teen parenting program and supported teen parents to graduate high school. As a small group leader of Moms in Prayers International, I have prayed with moms in District 204 for many years. Therefore, I understand the struggles of students and parents. My passion, professionalism and experience will prove to be an asset to the board of IPSD 204.
Two main reasons motivate me to run for the school board. Firstly, in the past few years, I have learned about the heartbreaking news of students committing suicide. As a school board member, I would promote the holistic growth of students, which means growing not only academically but also mentally, socially and physically. I will also promote collaboration with families and the community. My second motivator is that I believe serving the community is a responsibility of a good citizen.
Long-term remote learning has caused tremendous mental stress to students and their families. Besides, the experiences and outcomes of remote instructions have been impacted unevenly due to different family support and other factors. Therefore, I think a plan to reopen schools full time is the top priority of the Board.
As a board member, I will support full-time hybrid learning as soon as the teachers complete their COVID-19 vaccinations. Further down the line, I would plan a full return to school as long as the herd immunity is reached in the area.
Since last March District 204 has encountered many unprecedented situations due to the pandemic. I am impressed that District 204 has been using the science-based metrics for evaluation and made English Language Learner participants and special need students as priority when reopening schools. However, I think the current timetable for reopening schools is too slow. In best case scenario, I would have pushed hybrid learning back in September by providing teachers adequate and reliable PPE. As a board member, I will support full-time hybrid learning as soon as the teachers complete their COVID-19 vaccinations. I will also plan a full return to school as long as the herd immunity is reached in the area. I believe a successful transition can be achieved as soon as possible based on safety and science.
Since almost 15% funding of IPSD 204 is from the state. The state budget deficit on public education funding will affect District 204. In order not to increase property taxes dramatically, the district should spend wisely.
Firstly, District 204 is financially tighter than any other nearby school districts because we already have less staff and lower wages. Therefore, I don’t think funding for instruction should be cut. However, we may re-prioritize resources of educators. I will consider an experiment of bigger-size classes with small supporting groups for AP students to cultivate self-learning ability and promote the spirit of helping each other.
Secondly, maintenance is necessary and critical for a mature district. If we don’t repair in time, it will be costly later. Therefore, considering that District 204 will pay off the mortgage in 2027, how to evaluate, determine the priority and execute maintenance projects wisely is very important.
Finally, I will recommend the district to evaluate the possibility to allow local fast food restaurants to join the cafeteria in high schools. I think it may reduce expenses of schools and increase income for the district since the minimum wage will be increased to $15/h in 2025.
A) I live in the city of Aurora and feel very proud to be the only candidate from Aurora among 11 candidates running. I live in the area where our kids (12- and 8-year-old) go to Owen Elementary, Still Middle and Metea Valley High School.
B) Educational Background-
Bachelor of Science
Master of Wildlife Science
Work Experience- I have worked at various National Parks and Forest Reserves to protect endangered species and the environment. After moving to the US 14 years ago, I started volunteering and serving the community. I started my health and wellness business in 2013 and have worked with thousands of people helping them live their best lives. My professional life had given me the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds, and I have learned how to find creative solutions to challenging problems. I have built strong connections with various diverse groups in our community and developed positive and long-lasting relationships with business owners, doctors, lawyers, executives, politicians, educators and students.
C) Community Involvement-
• Wife and Mother (Children in Elementary and Middle School)
• Independent Business Owner / Health and Wellness Expert
• Master of Wildlife Science Degree (Working with Endangered Animals)
• Volunteer in IPSD 204 to Help Students Learn Tools and Skills to Manage Socioemotional Consequences of Social, Academic and Personal Restrictions During the Pandemic
• Volunteer and Fundraiser for Over a Decade with PTA, Schools, children with disabilities through Variety the Children’s Charity of IL, Girl Scouts, Food Insecure Children in our Schools,
• Advanced Educational and Financial Support for Children in Need
• Instructor at Fry YMCA, Park Districts, and other local businesses and wellness studios
• Experience in Education – Family Owns and Operates a School for Underprivileged Youth
• Community Organizer
Having moved here 13 years ago with my husband, I found a community that was welcoming, safe and diverse. As a mother of two children, these were values I have always been grateful to have as I raise my family. What motivated me to run is my deep desire to serve and give back. I want to lead our community towards positivity, stability and growth. The best way I can do that is to make sure I can affect change in the lives of our children. I will work hard to make sure all students are able to learn, lead and thrive.
I want to promote social, emotional and mental health of our children in the district to help them become resilient and future ready.
I want to improve community cohesiveness by strengthening communication among students, parents and educators in the district.
I believe that we have to working hard to allocate resources to our students in district 204 in a strategic and equitable manner.
The most important issues that the IPSD 204 School Board faces right now is to safely bring students back to school for in-person learning. While every single one of us has had to make some very hard adjustments in the last year, it is going to continue to be a challenge for parents, teachers and administrators, as they begin to see the effects of the last year, including the socio-emotional and academic challenges among students. We have to make sure that we are taking steps to help fill academic gaps caused due to current challenges, so that they are able to continue to learn and achieve their full potential.
As we transition back to in-person learning, I will work with other board members along with input from community members to make sure that the solution is a meeting of the minds with compromise, compassion and creativity at its core, driven by scientific data. We have to make sure that we open the schools safely for everyone; students, teachers, staff members, parents and grandparents at home.
The CDC guidelines say that universal and correct use of masks should be required and physical distancing (at least 6 feet) should be maximized to the greatest extent possible. The CDC also emphasized the importance of prevention through testing and screening. I will use data from the DuPage Health Department to assess our ability to go back to in-person. Keeping a close eye on weekly county case count along with Northwestern 7-Day positivity rate (by zip codes) of our district will help us make educated decisions.
Other factors that determine our ability to go back are risk of an outbreak, adequate PPE and staff available among others. I believe that remote learning is not going to go away completely as we step into the new era of post-pandemic academics. Be it snow days or other challenges that we may experience in the future, we can rest assured that students will continue to receive education.
Budget deficit will lead to reduced funding to schools which will impact all aspects of academic experience including school building maintenance, teacher and staff salaries, school facilities, etc. We will need to be more fiscally responsible and strive to get maximum output from the available funds. This will include better review and monitoring of existing expenses, as well as more due diligence in future contracts.
We should also focus on controlling the rate of growth of future expenses, and at the same time ensuring that we are able to provide same level of service and resources to everyone, especially to under-privileged section of society. This will involve working with the city and local government, various offices and communities to make sure that we continue to have a stable and efficient budget.
a) White Eagle Elementary Still Middle School WVHS
b) Professionally, I am Elgin Community College Foundation’s, Director of Leadership Giving, where I lead Major Gifts, Planned Giving and Endowment strategies for the foundation. I have a unique combination of corporate, non-profit, secondary, and higher education experience. As a corporate marketing executive at Viacom, I negotiated multi-million dollar contracts for core product distribution and as a non-profit director, I led grant programs benefitting economically challenged students and families for the Urban League. One of my proudest roles, was time spent as a substitute teacher in 204 and surrounding districts, seeing firsthand the strengths and areas of opportunity of academic success for our children.
c) I am a current school board member for Indian Prairie School District 204 and was elected in 2017. A 25-year resident of the district, I have been active in the school district since my children entered IPSD in 2001. I became an engaged member of the PTA and held officer and/or committee chair positions at Fry Elementary, Scullen and Still Middle Schools and WVHS. I was a charter member of the Project Arrow PTA and co-authored the establishing By-Laws. I continue to work on initiatives to enhance struggling students' academic success
My Bachelor Degree is from Rice University and my M.B.A. is in Marketing/Management and is from Columbia Business School/Columbia University - NYC.
I have always been involved with the school district and I have the leadership skills, persistence required, consensus building skills and compassion needed to view the issues we are faced with from a number of vantage points. I firmly believe in providing the same opportunities to all that my girls received from their stellar education in our school district.
After my first term, I understand the policies, procedures required to excel as a board member not only from a district perspective but from a state perspective as well. I have attained a Level II Master Board Member through continuous professional development at the regional and state level and wish to continue to bring that knowledge to our district, as we strive to continue delivering an exemplary educational culture for our students. My desire is to serve our students, staff and families to the best of my ability.
Our most pressing challenge is bringing our students back to school face to face as safely as possible, while at the same time ensuring that those families who wish to continue with a remote option, have a high caliber academic experience as well. We are working to ensure our teachers and staff who desire to be vaccinated, can get access to the vaccine as expeditiously as possible.
As we look at classroom numbers and the 6ft necessity, we must be willing to use alternate spaces if necessary for classrooms...LMC's, Lunchrooms, Gyms, etc - creativity, custodial/internal rearrangement flexibility will be imperative.
An additional issue we must grapple with is seeking to help those students who have struggled intensely. Getting access for emotional and mental health resources for students who need that support is vital- especially if their families don't see that necessity. And of course academic resources will need to be implemented, after school, and summer support to help students shore their academic abilities.
And finally, our teachers - we must find ways to provide them the supports they need also. It has been extremely difficult for them, they must know they are supported and valued.
I am a firm believer in adhering to the CDC and DuPage County Healthy Department guidelines and metrics. The additional Northwestern metrics we have used have been beneficial as they allow us to specifically view our zip codes in our district.
Priorities for me are us being able to create our school environments where we can still keep 6ft distance between our students until that distance changes from scientific experts. A willingness to be flexible within our school environments is critical because as we bring students back to our classrooms, we may have to find larger spaces to adhere to all parameters.
From a timetable standpoint, I hope we are able increase our days and hours in school as soon as mid-March. At this point, due to the number of students I anticipate remaining at home, I would like to see 4 days a week in school, while we provide our remote students with an exceptional academic experience as well.
Evidence Based Funding definitively determines the amount of financing we receive from the state. As we have shared, we have the means to adequately fund ourselves based on what the state says we should provide at only an 82% level, meaning a larger than desired amount has to come from the state (about 14.6% of our revenue is derived from the state). This certainly puts us in jeopardy for 3 reasons: 1) The state usually is late in paying our quarterly payments, sometimes in the past they can be as much as 3 qtrs behind; 2) Pensions are a large dilemma for the sate and if the district is forced to take on more of the pension payment plan, that will hit us very hard; 3) the minimum wage will increase over the next few years and will impact our annual salary budget.
In light of some of the challenges, the only way for enhanced revenue is at the local level and we have to continue to work with both Aurora and Naperville to bring in as much commercial development and if residential is proposed, we will have to be at the table with their offices to ensure appropriate generational tables are agreed on. Often developers forecast a lower number of students and the district suffers from the amount of compensation received.
To ensure our bests interests we must:
1. Insist on correct generational tables for any residential properties with Naperville or Aurora;
2. Push for the state to continue to handle Pension issues and not push further down to the district level;
3.Lobby with IASB for tax incentive financing (TIF's) to be limited, negative impact on school districts potentially for 23 years.
My boys attend Welch Elementary, Scullen Middle School, and will attend Neuqua Valley High School.
My educational background includes a J.D. (DePaul University, College of Law), a M.S. in Communication (Illinois State University), and a B.A. in Political Science and Communication (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign).
I am a parent, educator, and advocate. As a parent of two boys, I am able to witness what is being taught and the challenges many teachers/parents face. As a Senior Lecturer in Communication at North Central College, the Director of the Speaking Center, Indian dance instructor at the Naperville Park District, and communication consultant, I have regular contact with students. With over 20 years of experience teaching, I deeply understand the dynamics of the classroom and issues teachers, students, and administrators face.
As a community advocate, I interact with community members on a regular basis. This is reflected in my work with my nonprofit. I am the Founder/Artistic Director of a nonprofit organization, Aavegh (www.aavegh.org), which uses dance as a medium to raise awareness on social issues. Since its inception in 2005, Aavegh has donated over $20k to local, national, and international charities from the proceeds of their performances. I am also a member of PTAs and PDAC, and volunteer regularly as a room parent, mystery reader, etc. I am civic-minded and attend community events held by Naperville Neighbors United, Naper Settlement and cultural organizations to stay connected with community members. I continue to listen to City Council meetings, County meetings, and local representatives to understand the issues our community members face today. At North Central College, I am a Title IX hearing officer/decision maker, and a member of teaching groups that strive to incorporate inclusive teaching practices.
I believe in the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” My village started with my parents, who were educators, and included my neighbors, teachers, and countless others. I was incredibly lucky to grow up in a community that cared about me and my potential. As a parent, I know how challenging it is to raise a child, and realize that it takes the efforts and energy of many, for a child to truly understand his/her potential. As a beneficiary of a strong village during my formative years, I hope to now pay it forward and serve district 204 in a larger capacity. I believe my role as a parent along with my background and experience in higher education, the law, and the arts, gives me a unique perspective that can add value to school board discussions and decisions.
The district faces the challenge to ensure academic rigor is not diminished during the pandemic (remote, in-person, hybrid). The district must continually assess the effects of the pandemic on student learning and teacher/staff capabilities. As one who taught in-person and online, I understand the challenges educators face in supporting students. Teaching strategies are nuanced, take years to master, and do not easily carry from one medium to another. Learning loss, particularly among our most vulnerable students, is one of my greatest concerns. Hence the district must be relentless in their outreach efforts (short/long term) to ensure students don’t fall behind.
Next, we must develop student social emotional competencies. Social emotional learning is critical to a student’s ability to cope with the stressors of today’s society. Our students need to be proficient in stress management skills as they continue to multitask school work, extra curricular activities, relationships, and global issues. We need to invest more resources (i.e. training for teachers), where breathing exercises, journaling, stretching, tapping, reappraisal exercises and other practices are commonplace, and used as a means to enhance the overall well-being of a student.
Lastly, the district must ensure there is equity in education. We must put our newly adopted equity statement into practice and provide resources to Ms. Rowe to scale her programs across the district. The district will need to commit to viewing issues with an equity lens, and must provide ongoing teacher/staff training in implicit bias and culturally responsive pedagogy. The curriculum will need to be more inclusive, and a concerted effort to hire and retain educators/staff members that reflect the diversity of our district, will need to be made. Although challenging, these measures will ensure our students feel included in our system and will prepare all students to thrive in an increasingly diverse world.
As board members, our primary responsibility is to ensure our students and staff members are safe. As the fourth largest district in the state, it is important that we adhere to safety protocols, while ensuring our students receive a high quality public education. To accomplish this, I will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC, Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage County Health Department. I will listen to stakeholders including administrators, teachers, students, and parents, to understand the issues at hand and solutions offered. When leaders model effective listening and collaborative skills, the community benefits. Anxiety levels are reduced, student achievement is enhanced, and our children learn to be better citizens of their home communities.
There are many strategies from remote learning that should be retained. Educators can integrate effective online strategies to supplement or replace teaching methods utilized before the pandemic. The district may need to look into ways of permanently providing a remote learning option to students, who are thriving in a remote environment. Lastly, with technology, more parents are engaged and find attending conferences, meetings, events to be more accessible than before. I would like to see online options retained in the post pandemic world.
The financial state of Illinois is one of great concern. In our most recent board meeting (2/8/21), Chief School Business Official, Jay Strang, stated that Illinois has up to $10B of outstanding payments, with a $20B budget. Although 80% of D204’s budget comes from local resources, we rely on up to 15% of our revenue from the State to run programs. Despite State funding, we are currently at 78% adequacy, meaning that we are functioning on 78% of a budget we ought to have for the programs we offer. As a result, we can spend $12.5K/student, which is $2K less than the state average.
Thus as school board members, we must fiercely protect the financial interest of the district, ensuring that new developers, such as CityGate West, pay their fair share in taxes to support additional students that move into the area. We must continue to be thoughtful with our spending on district programs. We must also continue to have conversations with local representatives to ensure our district's interest is represented at the State level and funded/supported by federal, state, and local agencies.
a) Studied In India. Elementary School: Alpha Matriculation School. High School: SVM Higher Secondary School
b) I received my B.S. and M.S. degrees in India, and my MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern. I have had a varied, international career, which has allowed me to gain significant insight into the rapidly changing global workforce. Currently, I am Chief Technology Officer at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a higher education firm. In this position, I am able to observe how higher education in the United States is developing and specifically the growth of microlearning. This new model of undergraduate education allows students receive relevant theoretical and practical training for stable, lifelong professions, but while expending much less time and money. This professional experience uniquely positions me to advocate for our students as they prepare for education, work, and life after graduating from our district. I can say confidently that we would be doing a disservice to our students, and only harming our fight for an equitable school district, if we were to ignore these changes underway and leave our students unprepared.
c) I am a proud father to three children, one of whom has graduated from IPSD 204 schools, one of whom is in a pre-med program, a second who is a current high school student in the district, and third who is in an alternative program(used to be part of IEP/504 program in White Eagle Elementary). Like every parent, I have been a constant advocate for my children’s education. My volunteer involvement includes service on the board of Naperville Community Television, Brillio Smiles Program and Super 20 Program.
From my professional background, I know that higher education in the United States is developing rapidly to open up new pathways towards success. We need to prepare every student to achieve success after graduation, however they define it, which means we need to incorporate these new higher education pathways into our K-12 curricula. In order to do so, we must address the systemic inequities present in our district, by allocating resources based on need, and by empowering students and families to get involved and advocate for themselves. I’m running for the school board because it has the unique ability, in the right hands, to address these issues in a transparent, effective manner.
With an eye to the fact that a separate question will address the COVID-19 pandemic, which is undoubtedly the most pressing issue facing the district, I want to highlight three intertwined issues that will persist well after the pandemic.
First, the board must strive to address the inequities present in the district. The board must retain talented educators in our schools through improved professional development, support systems, and incentives, because their professional expertise is critical in allowing the board to act on the areas which need attention. The board must also examine potential changes to curricula and school zoning to determine if such changes could lessen inequities in the district. I believe there is a strong promise in both of these avenues, and the board should investigate accordingly.
Second, the board must increase its transparency and communication with the community. The board should expand public forums, public interviews, and public comment. It should also conduct and publish an easily readable, top to bottom review of district budget and revenue.
Third, the board should increase involvement with the community at large, beyond the transparency of its own processes. The board should engage existing parental advisory groups, and empower less involved parents to increase their involvement. It should also develop partnerships with local and public organizations to help identify potential new curriculum modules and hands-on experiences. The board can look to successful examples elsewhere, such as innovation labs and programs in magnet schools. Furthermore, the board should build partnerships with local businesses to develop programs for students, as well as resource and time donations. Finally, the board must develop strong relationships with city, county, and state commissions which determine school budgets.
The board must follow the science and expert guidance to determine the best path for school reopening, and share this process with the community. The board needs to formulate reopening policy with the recognition that remote learning disproportionately impacts marginalized students. My current understanding of the research is that we may be able to return to full in-person learning in elementary schools soon, provided strict maintenance of safety measures including mask wearing, social distancing, and more.
With regards to lessons from remote learning, I know firsthand as a parent how difficult it has been for my children and their teachers, as it has been for so many of us. I believe that this challenge has provoked conversations that we should continue once we’re all back in classrooms. First, about the mental health of students, and how we can best structure and communicate expectations so as to not overburden them. Second, about expectations and support for educators, who were already going above and beyond before the pandemic. How can we ensure that they have the tools and resources they need to be successful with their students? This requires listening to educators, real listening that creates an ongoing dialogue. It may not be easy, but it’s necessary.
It would be difficult to overstate how harmful the budget deficit has been on our district. The district has been unable to provide all the resources that students and educators need, and has been hampered in its ability to plan long-term. Be a strong advocate for our school at the state level, as I stated in platform I will be building stronger relationships with local and state agencies. In addition, there are opportunities that we can explore in our efficiencies within our budget. I would like to get experts do an end to end assessment on our financial and figure opportunities on harvesting efficiencies and re-invest for our students. Also look at partnering with local and corporate businesses that can help in contributing towards school budget.
a. Peterson Elementary School, Scullen Middle School, Waubonsie Valley high school
b. I have Masters in Economics. I started my working life with a Berkshire Hathaway company in Chicago. After working for a couple of Fortune 100 companies, I started my own IT consulting business in Naperville. I can contribute positively given my administrative and economics/finance background. My own experience as a minority will add diversity and minority perspective to School Board.
c. I am active in the community. I am a Board Member at FIA (Federation of Indian Association) and a Vice President at IACA (Indian American Cultural Association). My wife and I, along with some other like minded friends were instrumental in creation of IACA in 2017. We organize charity events through FIA and IACA.
I have lived in Naperville since 2007. We moved here for the School District. In 2008, our daughter was born who goes to Scullen right now. She has inspired me to run for the School Board and contribute positively with my time and experience to the community.
District 204 is an excellent School District. My goal would be to make it even better. I stand for excellence in Education, Equity, inclusion and Diversity. We are a diverse community and we have to celebrate that diversity. As a board member, I would focus my efforts on serving all of the children in the community. One child is no more important than another. I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students and the community at large. I will encourage an open dialog with all the stakeholders.
The most pressing issue facing the IPSD 204 district is opening of the school with adequate safety measures. Our Kids are getting sub-optimal education and it has had profound effects on their mental and physical health. It has also led to much hardship on Parents. Teachers are rightly concerned about their safety. Everybody is right from their perspectives. There are no easy answers. I believe Hybrid opening is the balanced ground where we can have a win-win situation for all.
I would follow the CDC guideline on the metrics and timetable for opening the school to in-person learning. The level of local community transmission rate can help us decide on the timeline for opening. A mitigation strategy of universal mask mandate, physical distancing, and hand-washing should be implemented in schools, once opened. A hybrid learning mode should be offered to all students until the entire population has been vaccinated.
Illinois is facing unprecedented budget crisis. It will have an impact on Education Funding. District 204 is already 80% funded by local Property Taxes. In addition, Naperville City has approved some high-density multi-story residential construction which will further add to the financial burden on IPSD 204. It's not an easy situation.
I would focus on more federal funding through EBF model. I would also like to see if we can retire high-interest bonds and reissue lower interest bonds. Interest rates are at a historical low and we should be able to take advantage of that. Another potential saving could be to renegotiate old external contracts. The coming funding crisis needs to be tackled from different angles. There is no one strategy or no one right answer.
A. Nequa Valley High School, Gregory Middle School and Patterson Elementary
B. Education: Ph.D. Benedictine University, M.S. Roosevelt University, B.A. The Ohio State University
I come from a family of dedicated teachers and servant leaders committed to excellence and evidence-based results. For over 20 years, I have served in various education leadership roles, K-12 (reading mentor CPS), community colleges, and university capacities. That experience includes, teaching, faculty hiring, curriculum design, directing student and teacher evaluations, course accreditation, and professional certification development. Among others, I previously worked for IBM, HP, AT&T, and Coldwell-Banker. Therefore, I have real world classroom and business experience.
Today, I am employed at Lewis University as Program Director and Asst. Professor, College of Business. My duties, membership, and student services include teaching classes, university co-chair of Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation (High School & College scholarship), Alpha Phi Alpha Education Committee, Project Management Club student advisor, Academy of Management member, American Sociology Association member, and Project Management Institute member. My research focuses are Organizational Leadership, International Capacity Building, and Educational Partnerships.
For over 18 years, my wife and I have been residents of District 204.We moved to this district to build our family and retire in the same community. I am interested in sharing 20 years education teaching and administrative experience with the IPSD 204 Board. Serving as an Indian Prairie School Board 204 board member is a direct connection to my experiences.
Serving as an Indian Prairie School Board 204 board member is a direct connection to my experiences.
1. Focus on students: Persistence, graduation, career options, and effective learning management tools.
2. Student services: Increase student success by helping all students grow socially, emotionally, and academically. Maintain safe and healthy environments.
3. Manage district resources: Efficiently and effectively keep open communication and collaboration with the community, district parents, and school board.
4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Hire effective teachers, school district leaders, and staff committed to evidence-based results and excellence. Maintain respect for all students and culture. Support the 204 District mission, inspire all students to achieve their greatest potential.
IPSD 204 mission is : Inspire all students to achieve their greatest potential
Given the guidance and recommendations from the Office of the Governor, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage/Will Counties of Public Health, the Board of Education will work collaboratively with the District 204 administration team to develop a plan of action to return students safely to in person instruction.
Student safety, health and success is vital. I am encouraged to seek pathways to get all students to in-person classes ASAP. Also consider what is the evidenced based local COVID-19 levels (positive and negative).
Remote access to library and Learning Management System (LMS) resources should be available 24/7. In class notes and discussion and assignment schedules. Advance study materials, AP course materials when available online.
The mission of the district needs many resources: funding, parental input, teacher and administrative assets. When appropriate...IPSD 204 can be a strong advocate for the community. It's important to keep an open door of communication with parents, business leaders, civic leadership and other stakeholders. Clearly, there are financial instruments and institutional products available to fill gaps.
That said, state and local fiscal responsibility is vital. As a board members, we have a significant voice for evidenced based advocacy.