Cooperation with Other Board Members – 2021 District 211 Board of Education Election Candidate Questionnaire


Gabe Classon and Maya Nayak

The Viking Logue sent out a questionnaire to all nine candidates in the District 211 Board of Education race. See all of the candidates’ responses to one of the questions below. See here for The Logue‘s full coverage of the April 6 election, including the candidates’ responses to other topics on the questionnaire.

While the vast majority of Board resolutions are passed unanimously, many important votes have come down to a 5–2 split. Additionally, some have raised concerns over the introduction of divisive politics into local elections. Please comment on how you would work with other Board members if elected.

Curtis Bradley: My role as a School Board member is to be knowledgeable, open-minded, and make decisions that are best for our community, no matter what. I will lead with respect and listen to others’ opinions – I have often found that I learn something new, even if I disagree. When working with others, I hope to bring the voice of my constituents into the debate, as well as my own expertise about issues facing our community. I will provide leadership, even if it’s unpopular, when necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes for D211 students.

Denise Wilson: Effective school board members contribute their unique talents while collaboration and working as a team with other board members. Board members should focus on what is best for all students, adapt a fiscally sound budget and advocate for education without putting forth a political agenda with little relevance to student achievement. They are responsible not only for making decisions to improve schools but for incorporating the needs, priorities, and consensus of the community.

Robi Vollkommer: I have already been working with board members both past and present. I especially worked with board members when I was advocating for a Japanese class option at all five high schools. We may not always agree, but I am very open to respectful dialogue and listening to other’s points-of-view.

Kristen Steel: I will work openly and honestly with other board members. I will avoid making promises and having discussions outside of the public body. You will know where I stand on votes and why I vote the way I do.

Jessica Hinkle: All board members and those running for a board position need to remember that the BOE is a non-partisan position and that it is the responsibility of the board to act in the best interest of the student body. Board members are not always going to agree so don’t expect all votes should be unanimous, but I would expect to be able to have good conversation to understand the differences in view of a topic.

Roxanne Wittkamp: Having managerial experience, I would listen to others but remind them of the board’s purpose. I would foster open and honest communication. Those running for the board are running as independents, and the most qualified person should win—someone with a financial and educational background.

Anna Klimkowicz: I do believe that the seven members who serve on the Board bring their strengths and talents so that students receive the best education and opportunities that the district can provide, while keeping in mind the needs of the community and financial responsibilities. An open discussion during a meeting of the Board of Education is vital as we move forward. The meeting is where discussion and then direction is given to the administration. The authority of the board is when we act as a group through votes taken at properly convened meeting.

An understanding of Board governance is vital, to the strength and direction that the District takes. The Board delegates authority to the Superintendent to manage the district and provide leadership to the staff. I support discussion, I listen to all points of view and fairly consider arguments or concerns on their merits, regardless of origin and I will continue to do so. Open communication is necessary and everyone needs to be heard.

School board elections are non-partisan elections; however, community members who support candidates may be of a particular party, which the candidate cannot control. School Board members must support the students of the entire community.

Tim Mc Gowan: Listening to others, especially those who disagree with me, is necessary to develop a full understanding of every problem. At the end of the day, board members are public servants and it is our job to meet the community’s needs. To do that, we have to listen to the community and prioritize community input at every step of the way. There will be times when I will not agree with all other board members and there will be times that I do. My top priority is to be a voice for students and represent your voices when they might be ignored. To me, that is more important than consensus.