Evergreen ParkElementary School District 124

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Board of Education » 2021 Board of Education Candidates

2021 Board of Education Candidates

 

Colleen K Rachel M Patrick Rayson
Colleen Klimczak Rachel Marroquin Patrick McKeever Judy Rayson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick

 

Name: Patrick K. McKeever
Years lived in Evergreen Park: 16 years

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background/experience, and your connection and/or interest in District 124: I am a proud alumnus of Southeast Elementary School and Central Junior High. I went on to St. Rita High School and graduated in 2015. I am seeking a position on the board because I am committed to this community. Due to my experience within D124 schools, I feel I can offer a unique perspective from a student's view, as well as a resident of Evergreen Park. My siblings also all graduated from D124.

 

Please describe your current/previous community or non-profit experiences:
I am currently involved with Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Council #324 Knights of Columbus and the current fundraising director for the organization Christmas without Cancer. I have actively been volunteering with Christmas without Cancer since 2016, and was asked to join the committee in 2020. Both of these organizations have ties within Evergreen Park. Also, my family and I are the family and committee members for the Kevin Dowling Scholarship Fund/Kevin Dowling Toy Drive.
 
What do you believe are the practices of an effective school board?
I believe to be effective we need to engage and listen to the students and teachers on their needs. Students need to have a voice and gain knowledge on how to be servant leaders in our community. I also believe we should communicate openly with the community, on the good and the bad. We should be fiscally responsible and ensure that we can provide funds for changing technology and the overall goals of the district.
 
How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
It is my belief that we must seek community involvement by hosting events, fundraisers and keeping them informed. Although not all community members may have students in the district, by hosting or engaging the community with events that interest them, we can gain support.
 
What is the role of an individual school board member?
Community involvement is crucial to let people know who you are and what you want to obtain. I think all board members can adopt policies that will enhance each student’s individual needs. It's imperative that we learn and listen to the teachers, they are the individuals that have the knowledge first hand of the wants for the school rooms and students.
 
What are the greatest challenges you see our district facing now and during the next four years?
I think we all can say that the pandemic has impacted all students, teachers and families. The challenge is how can we go back to a normal environment safely. Students need structure and to be in the classroom to learn. How can we do this? I also believe that what is taught must be relevant to today’s ever-changing environment and technology.
 
As a board member you will be regularly charged with making decisions that will impact approx. 1900 students, 250 non-certified, certified, and administrative staff members and this community as a whole. From whom will you seek counsel to help you formulate informed opinions that will lead to you making quality decisions?
I would suggest that we have open forums to gain insights into all of those impacted. I know that we can’t fully make everyone agree on one decision, but being open to listening and formulating a plan is the only fair way to move forward.
 
What is your role as a board member in supporting the strategic plans of the district?
My role is to support the plan by evaluating the district's strengths, weaknesses and objectives. Although differences of opinion will always exist, everyone must support the approved plan and help when needed.
 
What three qualities are most important to you in a superintendent and BOE relationship?
Listening, encouragement, leadership.
 
What do you see as the primary work of the board?
Keeping the school on track to give the best education possible so students gain an array of skills to move on to their next endeavor. In order to provide that you have to set plans and processes to keep the teachers and community engaged.

 

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Colleen K

Name: M. Colleen Klimczak
Years lived in Evergreen Park:  27 years

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background/experience, and your connection and/or interest in District 124: Four years ago, I ran for election to the School Board because I wanted to be a part of the good work that was going on in the District. After my time on the Board, I am even more convinced of and committed to the good work in District 124. In addition, since there is a learning curve to board work, I am better at being a board member than I was when I started!

Please describe your current/previous community or non-profit experiences:

  • Most Holy Redeemer Religious Education Program Volunteer and Advisory Board Member, 2006 to 2017
  • Boy Scouts of America, Evergreen Park Pack 3644, Den Leader, 2011-2015, and Cubmaster, 2011 to 2016
  • Brother Rice High School Band Booster Parent, 2017 to present
  • Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce, Member, 2004 to present
  • Beverly Area Planning Association, Member, 2010 to present
  • Succeed Women’s Networking Group and Southside Women’s Business Alliance, founding member, 2005 to 2015
  • D124 Southwest PTA, Volunteer, 2005 to 2015
  • D124 Evergreen Park School District 124 Education Foundation, founding member 2012 to 2017
  • Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 School Board Member, 2017 to Present (2019 to present as Vice President)

How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
A.) I have to look at this question through the lens of Covid. Our options for engaging the community are physically limited at present. However, I am amazed daily at the great happenings still going on in the district and how well our communications have kept the community informed. I would like to assume that as our day-to-day activities return to some resemblance of normalcy, our stakeholders will take advantage of in-person events and continued communications to engage in making our schools even better.

B.) I have been very proud of our board work over the last 12 months, and I marvel at how my fellow board members set an example for engagement in our community. In addition to taking care of our own jobs and families, we continued to meet, in person but safely, last Spring to do the important work of the district. We have volunteered at district events, we toured the schools this year to get a first-hand glimpse of on-line learning and, most importantly, we listen and then do the work.

What is the role of an individual school board member?
The role of an individual school board member is to bring to the table their own skills and life experience and be willing to share those skills and experiences to benefit the school district. We get involved in our community, we listen to our stakeholders and our fellow board members, we work hard on the task at hand and then we move beyond ourselves as individuals and move together as a board.

What are the greatest challenges you see our district facing now and during the next four years?
A.) There will be ripples and repercussions from the last 12 months and Covid-19 for years to come. Our teachers and our students have done amazing work, regardless of our current situation! But there may be catching up to do for some students in some areas, and we have to prepare for and then deliver the extra services and support our students will need.

B.) Covid or not, our district would still have challenges. First and foremost, we need to complete the Strategic Planning process with input and collaboration from all stakeholders so we know how to move forward. It isn’t up to any one person to decide what our greatest challenges are.
 
As a board member you will be regularly charged with making decisions that will impact approx. 1900 students, 250 non-certified, certified, and administrative staff members and this community as a whole. From whom will you seek counsel to help you formulate informed opinions that will lead to you making quality decisions?
As school board members, we are uniquely positioned to be the person that community members stop in the grocery store and also the person connected to staff members, administration, students - I get to hear from all of our stakeholders.
 
What is your role as a board member in supporting the strategic plans of the district?
I am looking forward to the Strategic Planning process for our district in the near future. The collaboration between and voices from all the district stakeholders is invaluable as we plot our course for the next few years. I was involved in our last planning process as a potential board member 4 years ago and found the experience invaluable.
 
What three qualities are most important to you in a superintendent and BOE relationship?
A.) Good and Clear Communication
B.) Mutual Respect
C.) Problem Solving and Compromise
 
10. What do you see as the primary work of the board?
According to the Illinois Association of School Boards, “the board clarifies the district purpose, connects with the community, employs a superintendent, delegates authority, monitors performance, and takes responsibility for itself.” (from IASB website, www.IASB.com

 

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Rayson

Name: Judy Rayson
Years lived in Evergreen Park:  15 years

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background/experience, and your connection and/or interest in District 124: My family has lived in Evergreen Park for the past 15 years. My son and daughter have both attended schools in District 124. My son is currently a seventh-grader at Central, and my daughter is a freshman at EPCHS. I am currently an eighth-grade teacher and have spent the past 15 years teaching in a neighboring district. Before that, I taught high school English.

Please describe your current/previous community or non-profit experiences: I served as Treasurer on the District 124 Education Foundation and participated in the planning and fundraising for events like the annual Back to School Bash, Breakfast with Santa, and Roller Skating Party. These events were opportunities for members of the school community to come together and enjoy themselves, but they also raised money to support teacher-submitted grants for special programs in their classrooms.

What do you believe are the practices of an effective school board? 
Effective school boards work with a variety of stakeholders to provide high-quality educational opportunities by becoming well acquainted with each schools’ needs and taking part in sound financial planning. They also encourage public participation and transparent communication with the community.

How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
I will engage the community by ensuring that board decisions and actions are communicated in formats that reach the entire community and providing opportunities to participate in school programs district-wide.

What is the role of an individual school board member?

  • Participate in decision-making to enact policies that impact student achievement and promote equity among the schools.
  • Take the time to be informed about school operations and to understand school finance.
  • Carefully consider the input of school leadership to make informed decisions.
What are the greatest challenges you see our district facing now and during the next four years?
  • Addressing the rapidly broadening range of student needs after over a year of students learning in different formats due to the pandemic and many being away from their peers and a regular school routine.
  • Funding facility projects to keep the school buildings updated during economically sensitive times.
 What is your role as a board member in supporting the strategic plans of the district?

School board members should fully support the strategic plans of the district since they represent the vision and goals of school leadership, staff members, parents, and community members.  All of these stakeholders’  input should be the guiding force in our decision-making.

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Rachel M 

 

 

 

 

 


Name:
Rachel Marroquin
Years lived in Evergreen Park:  9 years

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background/experience, and your connection and/or interest in District 124:
I reside in Evergreen Park with my husband and two children. Both of my children attend school in Evergreen Park School District 124. I have been an elementary school teacher for more than 12 years. I am currently a K-4 STEAM teacher (often referred to as STEM) in Summit, Illinois. Before starting my teaching career, I was a legal secretary in downtown Chicago for more than 12 years. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Education from Trinity Christian College and my master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from UIC. I have extensive training in Illinois for NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). I have trained colleagues in the area of NGSS, and have co-written the K-4 STEAM curriculum in the Summit School District. I am hoping to be of assistance to the school district when it comes to STEM/NGSS. In 2017, I was nominated by colleagues and awarded the Outstanding Teacher of the Year. 

What are your reasons for seeking a position on the Board?
I want to be more involved in the decisions made for our children and teachers in Evergreen Park School District 124. I feel that working for an attorney, being a teacher, a mom, and a community member are all helpful to me being able to put my best foot forward in the job at hand. I have an open ear and a willingness to communicate my beliefs and feelings. I am hoping to be a positive addition to the team. I believe it takes a village to make things the best they can be. I am excited about becoming a part of that village, and hoping that all parties at hand are able to learn from one another.

What do you believe are the practices of an effective school board?

A school board needs to put feelings aside and do what is best for the students, teachers, and community. There needs to be open communication with all involved. Everyone needs to feel that their voice is being heard. There will be times that we may not agree with each other, teachers, staff, or community members. However, we need to acknowledge everyone’s thoughts and ideas and look into problems that arise or questions addressed.

How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
We need to keep the community informed of changes and events. We need to find a way through this pandemic, to give the community opportunities to participate in some decision-making and collaboration to improve the district. I believe in listening to the community and actually responding and giving feedback. I feel sometimes we may get caught up in all the work that needs to be done. Though we are listening and reading their emails and comments, I want to let them know that we care about them and we are looking into their questions or concerns.  If a community member writes an email or puts in a comment for the board meetings, I believe we need to respond to that whether that means in the board meeting or an email response; possibly even something that we look into and respond to at the next board meeting. This shows the community that we care.

What is the role of an individual school board member?
A school board member is an elected official. They are supposed to represent and serve the community.  What I feel and believe may be slightly different than what the community feels and believes. Therefore, we need to have that open communication to see what the needs in the community are.  We are to put feelings aside and do what is best for our school district; meaning students, teachers, staff as well as community members.

What are the greatest challenges you see our district facing now and during the next four years?
I feel the greatest challenge we are facing now is getting through this pandemic. This will take some time to get through.  Students’ test scores are not as they would normally be during this time. Teaching and learning has changed during this pandemic.  We are sitting in front of technology way more than in the past.  We need to figure out how to get everyone back on track. We need to have plans in place to boost their achievement and needs.  Not only is student learning facing a gap. We need to address students’ social and emotional needs. 

What is your role as a board member in supporting the strategic plans of the district?

 A board member helps to make sure that the plans in the district are taking place. We may need to modify and/or strengthen them at times. I will need to frequently look at the plans and see if we need to address various matters. It is important for board members to be knowledgeable on all that is taking place in the district. If I am unclear on any of the plans, I will make sure that I question the appropriate people to see where we stand as a district.

What do you see as the primary work of the board?
Being it will be my first year as a board member, I will need to get up-to-speed on all that is taking place in the district. I want to get to know the various schools, teachers, staff, and students. I want to help with ideas for our students to grow, succeed, and be excited to come to school. I want teachers and staff to feel appreciated. I want the community to feel that their thoughts and ideas matter. I can’t do this on my own. These are big ideas and shoes to fill. However, I’m hoping that I bring a new lens to the board, a new idea to the teachers and staff, some new knowledge on STEAM/NGSS to the district. I need to do all of this with keeping in mind that I represent the community. I need to do what is best for the students, teachers, staff, and community members. My role is not just what I think is best, but what is best for the community.