I have had many supporters ask for my opinion on the school board race. Now that early voting is here, I thought the time has come for me to officially state my endorsements.
As you can imagine, I’ve been paying very close attention to the race and have been carefully scrutinizing the ideas and plans of the other seven candidates. As this election will select 4 of the 7 school board members, I take this decision very seriously and I encourage every voter to do the same. In my opinion, the candidate forum provided the best opportunity to truly examine the individual perspectives of the eight candidates. For that reason, I will reference the forum as my primary source in discussing my choices.
Within Mahomet Township Candidates
There are four candidates from within Mahomet township and voters may choose up to 2 of them. I will discuss my choices in the same order as they will be found on the ballot.
Colleen Schultz – Throughout the campaign, Dr. Schultz has demonstrated, multiple times, her desire to work on the issues that I have heard echoed from the many voters I spoke with during the campaign. I think her perspective as an economics professor often clarifies a discussion so nicely. Take her response to the question at the forum about her plans for managing the district’s crowded classroom sizes. She brings the audience back to the fundamental problem, a problem that is vitally important for a school board, how do we value the different aspects of the educational experience the district provides our children and how do we prioritize our funds to match those values. One important thing that I especially love about her answer is that she does not talk about what she values. Instead, she talks about discovering what our community values by having a dialog with the community. This kind of engagement is exactly what we must expect from our school board.
Meghan Hennesy – When asked about how the school board can provide valuable opportunities for students who choose not to pursue college after high school, but another educational route to a valuable career, Mrs. Hennesy provides a truly outstanding answer. She argues that we need to rethink the role of college education and recognize that our school district’s goal should be to “build complete people that go out into the world and make a difference.” She goes on to explain that a major shift we need to make is how we talk with our children about this. We need to talk with our children about how they can be “whole people and not just the sum of test scores.” I marvel at the wisdom of her answer and her passion for recognizing that the important work our district must do is to develop competent, well-rounded adults and not just pop out as many college-accepted kids as possible.
Townships Other Than Mahomet Township Candidates
There are four candidates from outside of Mahomet township and voters may choose up to 2 of them. I will discuss my choices in the same order as they will be found on the ballot.
Ken Keefe – Obviously, I encourage my supporters to cast their vote for me. If you are taking the time to weigh my analysis about the other candidates, I’m going to assume that I don’t need to make any further argument for your vote.
Julie Cebulski – I continue to be impressed with Mrs. Cebulski’s passion for advocating for the needs of children, parents, and families. I think her skills in mediation and team-building will be a tremendously valuable asset for the board. I think you can see much of this in her answer to the question posed at the forum about what the board and district can do to improve the lunchtime culture and experience for students and families, especially at Lincoln Trail. She immediately got to the root of the problem by discussing the need for the district to build a sense of community among students. She said that this needs to be communicated directly from the staff. I also really appreciate that she doesn’t jump to punishments or reducing lunch time as a response to bad behavior. Instead, she asks that we seek the root causes for any misbehavior that is happening. Children are not inherently bad. When they exhibit bad behavior, there is almost always a reason and we must understand and address those causes. I truly believe that our school district will be blessed to have her join the school board.
This is just a small sampling of the reasons I will be voting for these individuals. They have each demonstrated commitment, diligence, compassion, engagement, honesty, and kindness throughout the campaign. I wholeheartedly endorse these wonderful women and I ask that when you head to the ballot box, you vote for Colleen Schultz, Meghan Hennesy, Ken Keefe, and Julie Cebulski.