Voters Guide: Prairie State College Board of Trustees

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Voters Guide: Prairie State College Board of Trustees

March 10, 2021 - 16:41
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DISTRICT 515
PRAIRIE STATE COLLEGE
BOARD OF TRUSTEES (Two 6-year terms)

 

Nakia K. Hall, University Park, age 46

Education: Doctorate of Education in Ethical Leadership, Olivet Nazarene University, 2013; M.A. in Professional Counseling, Olivet Nazarene University, 2007; B.S. in Elementary Education with English as a Second Language, Northern Arizona University, 1997; Associate of Arts, Prairie State College, 1995
Occupation: I am currently Director of Field Services with the Illinois Association of School Boards serving as Director for South Cook, West Cook, Will County, Kankakee County, Grundy County and Kendall County school boards. I am a former elementary teacher and have experience as a college and university professor. I also have experience with training school boards and leadership consulting.
Current employer: Illinois Association of School Boards
Family: Married for 26 years; four children (two girls and two boys).
Incumbent? No
Other elected positions? I served on the Crete-Monee 201U School District school board for 10½ years. During my tenure I served as president, vice-president, secretary, and held numerous leadership positions on the board, as well as with the Illinois Association of School Boards and National School Board Association. I also served as an appointed school board member on the state of Illinois' Professional Review Panel for the evidence-based funding formula implementation while being a school board member, as well as the chair of State Rep. Anthony DeLuca's Education Committee (still currently serving).

Most important issues

  1. The decrease in student enrollment and retention at Prairie State.
  2. Challenges with financial status and stability.
  3. The college's connection with all of the communities it serves. 

Though these issues were present prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on the college and communities have caused some of these challenges to be exacerbated. With my background and expertise in school board governance and leadership, education, youth mentorship, community relations and strategy building I believe I can help to create solutions that will help the college see improvement in these areas.

Goals

  1. Increase student enrollment and retention by examining current data, existing programs and programs of interest, course offerings, dual-credit and college pathway programs, current and potential resources, student support and intervention programs, student feedback, marketing efforts, etc. to help determine where the most resources, support and strategies are needed.
  2. Improve the college's financial health and help maintain financial stability by examining current and potential revenue streams, budget allocations, financial opportunities within the community and beyond, ways to increase and retain sustainable revenue and fiscal responsibility.
  3. Improve the college's connection with all of the communities it serves by assessing current and potential partnerships/collaborations, opportunities to engage community members, as well as community organizations, businesses and other entities, to best increase community connection and engagement.




Monica M. Gordon, Flossmoor, age 43

Education: B.A. Journalism, Northern Illinois University; M.A. Communications and Training, Governors State University
Occupation: Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations; board member, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation
Current employer: Chicago State University
Family: Single
Incumbent? No
Other elected positions? No

Most important issues: The symbiotic relationship between higher education and economic development should be embraced and prioritized. Education and economic development were my top two priorities during my run for state Senate. Community colleges are economic engines for the community. Opportunities in workforce development, STEM and technology are imperative to build a pipeline of students who will make a significant financial impact to the Southland economy. I am also extremely concerned with the digital divide. Now more than ever, students need access to technology to thrive and succeed in an academic environment. We must provide all students with the appropriate technology tools. In addition, I want to help create partnerships with Southland high schools to expose students to various career paths and a collegiate curriculum. A strong candidate for PSC trustee should have diverse experience to be resourceful, innovative and impactful. A diverse board will create diverse ideas and effective solutions for our students and community.

Goals: I want to leverage beneficial relationships and resources in the community and throughout the state to strengthen Prairie State College as well as the Southland economy. Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated disparities in education. Low income and minority students deserve to have access to an affordable and quality education. My goal is to collaborate with other higher education institutions and community stakeholders to propel the growth of PSC and its students' overall success.


Joelle Mulhearn, Chicago Heights, age 53

Education: B.A. in Education, John Carroll University; M.A. in Educational Leadership, Concordia University
Occupation: Educator
Current employer: Flossmoor School District 161
Family: Married to Sean for 30 years; two adult sons, Michael and Matthew
Incumbent? Yes, currently serving my 6th year.
Other elected positions?  None

Most important issues

  1. Budget constraints due to declining state support.
  2. Declining enrollment.

Finding important funding and creating institutional sustainability while trying to promote high quality educational programs at an affordable price is a challenge. I hope to ensure effective leadership within the college that aligns with the college's mission as well as continue to use the college's resources responsibly.

Goals

  1. Continue to build community relationships.
  2. Cultivate and celebrate diversity.
  3. Act as an advocate for the college and the student body it serves. 
  4. Help formulate policies that align with student success and program/degree completion.




Ronald White, Homewood, age 64

Education: B.A., M.A. in theology; D.Min. and Ph.D.
Occupation: Liaison for Chicago Heights Police Dept. with area schools, welfare and social agencies, juvenile court, probation department, community service organizations, other law enforcement agencies, churches, and related groups interested in youth matters and concerns.
Incumbent? Yes, I have served for 6 years
Other elected positions? President-elect, International Conference of Police Chaplains

Most important issues: Access to education is paramount, and I want to continue providing opportunities for our students. Whether it be a degree, job training, or a certificate. As a Prairie State College trustee, I want to be instrumental in the growth of this great institution and continue to move forward in being the epitome of excellence. This includes developing and recruiting an effective leadership team, adding new and sought after programs, hiring more faculty who are eager and passionate about teaching, and making improvements to our campus.

Goals: My goal is to continue to advocate for PSC students by providing them with the resources and pathways necessary for their success. I want our students to have access to an excellent education without the added burden of financial strain. Education is a right and should be available to all who seek to earn their degree. I want to make that possible to our community by removing barriers that would prevent them from achieving their academic goals.