Candidates for Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 Board of Education

Seven candidates are running for three board of education seats in Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233. Candidates are P. Andrew Lindstrom, Gerald L. Pauling II, Richard T. Lites, Steven R. Anderson, Beth A. LaRocca, Annette N. Bannon and Eric D. Grant. Lindstrom, Pauling and Lites are incumbents.


  Eric Grant

Eric D. Grant
Education: B.B.A Howard University 1988.
Occupation: Financial Advisor.
Current employer: Polaris
Incumbent: No

Most important issues: Advocate for a broader array of post high school opportunities, that in addition to college, include opportunities like trade schools and military opportunities. 
     Advocate for a more robust promotion of HFHS athletics as a tool for community unity as well as advocate for more robust college athletic scholarship opportunities.
     Advocate for a robust measure of post high school results for HFHS alumni as a measure of overall school success. I think a key measure of success is the kind of citizens that we are producing.
     Advocate for a more robust grant writing and fundraising function. HFHS needs to insulate itself from the state and federal gyrations that may adversely impact the annual budgets.

Goals: I believe that it is my job, as a board member, to listen, and advocate for what the community tells me. To that end, it is my plan to communicate regularly with the community about school activities in general, and board activities specifically. I plan to do so using a very active social media presence, and periodic, in person forums, where community members can voice your concerns and desires. I think that the HFHS community is a wonderful experiment in diversity that can either pursue a predictable future, or redefine what a diverse community can be. HFHS is the center point of the community.


  Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson
Education: B.A., communication studies, University of Iowa, 1993; MBA, finance, DePaul University, 1998.
Occupation: Commercial finance executive, 23 years.
Current employer: Capital One Bank.
Incumbent: No
Other elected positions: Homewood School District 153 board member since 2007.

Most important issues: I believe our district can do a better job communicating with the community and investing in programs that will directly benefit our students and prepare them for college. I believe that our school's diversity is an opportunity for a broader vision to be fulfilled. 
     I hope we can continue to attract and retain the talented people we have while being mindful of our fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers. I know we must understand the recent changes in our district's socioeconomic makeup and address that challenge with new and unique approaches to education and family engagement. We must have our students, administration, staff and the entire community engaged in our shared vision to assure its success.

Goals: My vision for H-F is that I believe every child living in our community deserves a world-class education that first prepares them for high school and then for college life and beyond. I believe that the entire community must support, protect and nurture that education with energy and enthusiasm, as there is no higher priority than preparing our kids for their futures.
     Our district leadership must create and maintain an environment where students and staff can thrive and see their best come out. Our investments in the school district must have measurable outcomes leading to improved college entrance exam scores, expanded opportunities for the entire student body and successful placement in quality two- and four-year college programs tailored to help our students find their niche in life.


P. Andrew Lindstrom
Education: Business Administration, 1976.
Occupation: 40-year banking career, 25-years at South End Savings, including eight years as president, and 15 years at Homewood Federal Savings and Loan, including vice president
Current employer: Homewood Public Library.
Incumbent: Appointed in August 2016 to fill a vacancy on board; previously served from 2007 to 2014.
Other elected positions: Past president and village trustee, Village of Homewood.

Most important issues: Working with the state to get them to pay their fair share of public education. Working with the state to address the pension problems. Maintaining our strong financial balance sheet.
     Making sure that all students’ needs are being met so that H-F can improve academic performance. Making sure that our teachers are getting the best tools to help them teach.
     Keeping morally strong so that we all work for the best of H-F.

Goals: To continue to adopt fiscally sound budgets. To continue to make sure all students are being challenged at their academic level. To continue to communicate to the district all the great things our school is doing! To continue to work hard with my fellow board members to keep H-F the strong district it is.


  Beth Larocca

Beth A. Larocca
Education: B.B.A, accounting, University of Notre Dame, 1980; M.A., reading, Texas Women’s University, 1996; M.A., educational administration, Loyola University of Chicago, 2005.
Occupation: Teacher for 14 years at Glenbard North High School, including four years as a dean; three years at Glenbard East High School.
Current employer: Glenbard District 87
Incumbent: No
Other elected positions: Union building chair at Glenbard North; Union treasurer at Glenbard East.

Most important issues: Administrative and superintendent pay. Low test scores, especially considering the amount H-F spends per pupil. Our school ranking, both state and national. Lack of programming for the “middle” student. The need for improved coordination with Districts 161 and 153. Residency concerns. Property taxes.

Goals: A board member is an elected official and as such, should be accountable to the community. There should be transparency and the board should answer questions posed by any and all community members. Administrative compensation should be compared with other high schools in our area and adjusted accordingly.
     Teachers should be involved in addressing effective ways to improve test scores, along with math and English proficiency – all of which will improve our school ranking and draw residents to our community.
     School board decisions should be based on what is best for the entire community and not what “looks good” but may be ineffective academically and/or financially.  The effectiveness of programs must be evaluated and revised or eliminated as needed. We need to introduce programming for the “middle” or average student and increase vocational opportunities.
     There must be improved coordination with both Districts 161 and 153. Curriculum alignment between H-F and District 161 is inadequate or maybe even absent. We also need to share information (as in residency matters) and perhaps even resources to strengthen and coordinate all three school systems.
Fiscal responsibility should include a review of the community’s property tax rate and should consider the current climate and needs of the community.


  Annette Bannon

Annette N. Bannon
Education: H-F Class of 1977; A.D.N., nursing, Prairie State College, 1979; B.S.N., Purdue University Calumet, 1981; working toward M.S.N. with expected graduation in fall 2017.
Occupation: Nurse Manager of a Medical/Neuro Unit; 37-plus years as a registered nurse with 36 years in a leadership position; extensive experience with committee work.
Current employer: Silver Cross Hospital, New Lenox.

Most important issues: Transparency and accountability; Current test scores in comparison to past (test scores are currently lower than in the past) and plans to address the ‘average’ student; Ranking status (as HF currently no longer ‘ranked’ in U.S.News & World Report).
     Administrative compensation practices (comparatively higher); Aligning of Districts 153 and 161 schools in our community with HFHS curriculum; Status of substance abuse awareness education for students, faculty, parents (align and coordinate with Districts 153 and 161).
     Residency concerns; Property taxes.

Goals: Total accountability to the community which includes complete transparency. When an issue is raised by any community/faculty member, it should be thoroughly responded to publicly. Pursue possibility of recording board meetings for viewing by community.
     Complete review of test scores in comparison to past performance.  Analysis of areas needing improvement and developing a plan to achieve a goal of improved test scores.
     Review school rankings; Put plans in place to improve H-F’s ability to be highly ranked.
     Review of administrative pay practices and comparing to area schools.  Need to use caution to prevent future situations that could pose a litigation threat (similar to Murray pension process in past).
     Working collaboratively with Districts 153 and 161 related to improved curriculum coordination and other like issues.
     Discussing openly substance abuse awareness in our South Suburbs and improved ways to educate students, faculty, parents in coordination with Districts 153 and 161.
Review residency concerns fairly and equitably for all students/families and assuring a fair and consistent process. Review of property taxes; assure that the board is a responsible steward of H-Fcommunity resources/monies.


  Richard Lites

Richard T. Lites
Education: B.P.S, concentration in finance and psychology, Roosevelt University.
Occupation: Investment banker.
Current employer: retired.
Incumbent: Yes
Other elected positions: Served for nine years on the Homewood Planning Commission.

Most Important Issues: One of the most critical areas is the maintenance of our district’s outstanding financial adequacy. This is the bedrock of a successful school district. We will continue to follow the financial diligence that led to a AAA rating by Standard & Poor’s.
     State unfunded mandates, which school districts must comply with, require us to reallocate substantial funding in order to implement these initiatives. 
     The financial foundation that has allowed H–F to provide our students with excellent teachers, rigorous and adaptive curricular programs, dedicated sponsors and coaches - abridged as a vision and mission that is dedicated to the success of each and every student.
     In order to maintain and grow the curricular and programming opportunities for our students, the board must ensure that all contracts and financial decisions are in line with our district’s long-term financial plan, which includes being able to withstand the State of Illinois financial crisis.
     H-F continues to build innovative academic programs, and provide opportunities and supports that push our students to excel at the highest levels. In addition to academics, our students are able to participate in robust extra-curricular programming. 
     We look forward to the addition of the Media Visual & Performing Arts Academy (MVP) that will begin welcoming students a year from now.  This program is a fine addition to our H-F Gifted and IB Programs, along with our robust Advanced Placement courses and our Project Lead the Way programs that all provide our students with transformative and engaging learning experiences.

Goals: Safe and supportive teaching and learning environment; Financial diligence; Continue to improve student achievement; Dynamic curricular programming.


Gerald Pauling II
Education: H-F Class of 1985; B.A., business administration, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; J.D., UCLA School of Law.
Occupation: Attorney.
Current employer: Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
Incumbent: Yes, seven years.

Most important issues: I have lived in the H-F community for nearly 40 years. I am a 1985 graduate of H-F, and am the proud father of an H-F graduate, a sophomore and an incoming freshman. I am invested in our community and our high school. I understand the socioeconomic challenges that face our community and believe that high performing schools are critical to sustaining and invigorating our community and providing our youth the opportunities and tools they need to be successful in life.
     As the chair of the board's Personnel Committee, I remain committed to finding the best and brightest teachers, administrators and support staff to work with our students. I will continue to provide our staff with the resources they need to drive student performance and achievement, and enhance the quality of the HF student experience.
In addition, as a member of the board, I am committed to insuring that we communicate with and engage our H-F parents and community stakeholders.
     As a coach in our local Junior Vikings Football Program, I am known as a believer in collaborating with our feeder schools to make sure we show our students the pathway to success in high school, college and beyond.
     Lastly, I am committed to my fiduciary responsibility as a board member. The State of Illinois continues to underfund school districts and creates a disproportionate burden for our taxpayers to bear. However, H-F maintains a strong position in providing the best possible opportunities for our students in the form of teachers, facilities and resources. 

Goals: Supporting and looking for ways to improve teaching and learning will always be my primary goals as a board member.
     Drive student achievement and success; Maintain fiscal responsibility and good stewardship of district resources; Facilitate inclusion and engagement of HF's community stakeholders.

About Us

A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

Letters

Do you have something to say? If you want to inform the community about events, issues, recognitions, concerns, etc., write a letter. 

Send a letter

Correction suggestions

If you see a mistake in The Chronicle, whether it's a typo, a misspelling or an error of fact, please let us know. Our goal is to provide reliable, accurate stories, and if we miss a detail, we want to fix it fast.

Submit correction

Contact Us

A great community makes a great newspaper. We want to hear from you with news tips, story ideas, your photos and accounts of events, corrections, problems, suggestions, etc. Call or write the editors
Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661
Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]
Tom Houlihan at [email protected]

For advertising, distribution or general business inquiries, contact Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661.

Postal address:
The HF Chronicle
P.O. Box 461
Flossmoor, IL 60422