"The past several months have prompted me to make a frank and honest assessment of where we
are as a school district, where I think we could be headed, and what I can personally contribute to
the unfolding future and success of the district. A number of factors, beyond the
encouragement of my son and my family, motivated me to run."
Engage New Superintendent & Board
This summer, the Barrington family welcomes Dr. Hunt as the new Superintendent of 220 schools. I am confident that my experience will be invaluable in helping Dr. Hunt accelerate his acclimation to Barrington. Together, we will engage and work with the community to establish the next 10 years of strategic goals and priorities, with particular focus on the pandemic education.
This year will bring a fresh board with more new faces than we have seen in previous years. I look forward to the new energy and enthusiasm this new board will bring, and I believe that it is important for me to provide my invaluable insight, historical grounding, continuity, and extensive operational experience. This new board will confront complex operational issues - in some cases for the first time ever - and will need an experienced steward. I look forward to developing an organic camaraderie with these new board members, working toward a common goal of excellence in our district in the spirit of open communication, compromise, cooperation and unity.
Experience on Board
As of this year’s election, I will have served on the Board for nearly 12 years. During my tenure, I have held the positions of Secretary and Vice President and served six years on the Policy Committee and six years on the Finance Committee. I have also served on the Labor Management, Insurance and Resource Allocation Committees. As a member of the Board, I have been involved in hiring two Superintendents and negotiating several Barrington Education Association (BEA) and Barrington School Employees Organization (BSEO) contracts, including those which will come due during the tenure of the newly seated board. During my tenure on the Finance Committee, we contributed to the now-22 consecutive years’ balanced budget and began DSEB borrowing from ourselves. We also engaged in an energy savings program, saving thousands of dollars annually. When I served on the Policy Committee, I had the opportunity to review each and every board policy. This was a necessary step when we migrated to an enhanced software platform, which we initiated specifically to enhance transparency and be more user-friendly for members of our community. If re-elected, I would utilize my in-depth knowledge of board policy to ensure the smooth operations of the board while introducing creative ways to optimize information throughout the district.
At the end of the day, I would like to continue to serve on the Board because I love Barrington schools and I truly believe that I have made and will continue to make a positive impact on our district. I am driven every day to make our schools the best they can be, and I feel an important sense of responsibility to continue doing so. I am committed to making decisions that are in the best interest of the students, staff and the community, while taking seriously the input of our families and the measurable impact the Board’s decisions have on our children and our community. As a result, I would welcome the opportunity to prepare and mentor this new board so that we can consistently and seamlessly continue to lead the district toward a brighter future.
Revamp Strategic Plan
As a longstanding Board member, I was part of the 2010-2020 Strategic Plan since the inception. The Strategic Plan needs to be swiftly revisited, finalized, and executed. Witnessing this plan come to fruition was both rewarding and eerily prescient as this plan prepared us for the pandemic. We had implemented a calendar change enabling a break between semesters for students. Ahead of our time, we had implemented revolutionary technology solutions giving students remote access to technology and empowering staff to adapt the curriculum accordingly. We were among few school districts in the nation who were able to meet a lockdown on Friday and be ready to educate on Monday.
Our forward-thinking allowed us to pivot with one day of notice to a fully remote Distance Learning solution, as districts across the country scrambled to find a way to connect teachers to students during a pandemic. Districts with less means had teachers furiously printing out materials and trying to build/distribute a fully at-home curriculum. Many districts with means hurriedly tried to fund purchases of electronics and distribute them. In Barrington, we were able to send kids home on a Friday and have them logging on the following Monday, ready to rock! Globally, we entered uncharted territory, with pass-fail lessons for all of us unfolding on a day-by-day basis. While we realize it wasn’t perfect, our foresight and technology investment enabled us to put some of the most critical worries aside, prioritizing content delivery, effectiveness, and the well-being and safety of district families and staff, without needing to develop an emergency technology infrastructure on a parallel and extremely rushed timeframe.
I have more school board experience than all the continuing school board members combined. My 12+ years of experience serving the district-wide community will bring invaluable perspective and continuity as a board member. I am well positioned to efficiently and effectively serve without a steep learning curve on complicated periodic business items such as teacher and transportation contracts. I have in-depth understanding of what a full contract or plan cycle looks like and will provide important context about what has and has not worked in the past. I am extraordinarily qualified to meet the urgent needs of the moment and am fully committed to upholding a high standard of excellence in the district. If elected, I will continue to be accessible to our community and to act in both a proactive and fiscally responsible manner for the benefit of our children, families and community.
Affirm Equity Statement
I am proud to have been involved in the hiring of our first Director of Equity, Race and Cultural Diversity Initiatives, Nate Rouse, as well as the adoption of the related Equity Statement. Within a few short months, we have already witnessed the positive impact he has had in the district and the community in terms of establishing important partnerships with Be The Change Barrington (BTCB), BStrong Together, the Barrington Area Library, and Courageous Conversations for No Name Calling Week 2021. I am proud to live in a community with such diversity in abilities, race and more…and prouder still to advance inclusion for all. I look forward to working with Director Rouse in continuing to lead the initiative for racial and social equity in our district.
Bolster Pandemic Learning
The most immediate concern is addressing the educational challenges we've faced during the pandemic. While this work has already begun, it must remain a primary focus for the foreseeable future. As a district, we must work toward ensuring that our students are not only prepared to return to full-time in-class instruction, but also that they are prepared for the next stage in their academic career - whether that be high school or college. This pandemic has impacted our children and our community in myriad ways. The challenges of the pandemic have affected us all, and the solutions must be a combined effort. We must show creativity and learn from this year to ensure develop solutions to address our diverse student population.
We have witnessed so much division over the last year, and I am hopeful that we can come together as a board and as a community to recognize that we are all working towards the same goal: the academic success and social and emotional well-being of our children. We all understand that there are downsides to distance learning, just as there are downsides to in-person learning under current health guidelines and restrictions. There are also great positives to be found in both, and great opportunities for innovation and creativity. We should not fight with our neighbors. Instead, we should find new and constructive ways to reach a solution through open communication and compromise. A school board with new initiatives, fresh faces, and a new superintendent can accomplish this handily. In order to continue to thrive, we will need the support of our community, our teachers, and our children.
I am proud of how the teachers and classified staff have strived to serve student needs during the pandemic. When all is said and done, our teachers and staff—whether old faces or new, whether current or future—are the greatest asset we have in Barrington. They have a tremendous ability to impact our students and families. While the end of the 2020 school year was not ideal and the first half of the 2020-21 school year was challenging, I have seen firsthand the lessons learned and enormous growth by both teachers and administrators. They have tirelessly developed creative solutions to make the best of a horrible situation and implemented consistent improvements along the way. Education is fluid, not static,
and today we are challenged like never before. I believe there are silver linings yet to be found and applied, just as I know there are challenges yet to be discovered and conquered. I look forward to the opportunity to think outside the box to meet the educational needs of every student and family in the Barrington school community.
Implement Referendum Projects
The community-approved $147 bond million referendum needs to be implemented to bring our facilities in line with desired safety and educational expectations of Build 220. This board will have direct influence on how these 2020 referendum dollars are spent. The crowded facilities in District 220 were one of my primary motivations to get involved at the district level more than a decade ago. Facilities planning is important to ensure we are best utilizing the space available and can plan for the needs of the future.