Four community members are particularly deserving of your vote for D112 school board. Bennett Lasko, Dan Jenks, Alexander Brunk and Art Kessler – all in various stages of parenting children through district 112 – are our strongest candidates by far. They are focused on improving curriculum, expanding offerings, tackling reconfiguration, achieving financial stability and upholding community values. They will ask the right questions, make the tough decisions and do the heavy lifting required to provide the highest quality education for every child in this district.
Bennett Lasko grew up in Highland Park and is a product of our schools. His children attended Lincoln and Edgewood through past budget deficits and delayed facilities repairs and felt the sting of programming cuts first-hand. An even-keeled professional, Bennett routinely negotiates contracts and resolves disputes for a living – skills essential to board service. His impressive public service record includes fifteen years on non-profit boards, CPS local school councils and the D112 citizen committee – SCFFAC. Familiarity with serving at this level will help him improve BOE culture and foster a collegial environment, which will in turn provide opportunities for a brand new board to achieve success. Bennett’s highly-relevant experience and knowledge of district issues compliment an unflappable demeanor making him particularly well-suited for the 112 BOE.
Dan Jenks is able to explain complex issues to almost anyone, and will take the time to do it in earnest. He has spent countless hours working toward identifying and resolving district issues. As co-chair of the Reconfiguration 2.0 finance sub-committee, Dan leaned heavily on his economics and finance background to help develop the new financial model that has come to be relied upon throughout our community and will inform decisions of the future board. He also authored a user guide for the model and put it directly in the hands of the citizens to analyze discuss and debate. Dan is intelligent, approachable and determined and everyone wants him on their team. You should too. He is an excellent choice for school board.
Alex Brunk and I faced off over various aspects of the 2016 referendum. We continued to debate district issues while serving on the Reconfiguration 2.0 Team, and I was surprised to find we have more in common than not. We have both have little kids, work in data analytics and are fiscally conservative. With respect to the district’s issues, Alex is focused on increasing educational value by eliminating wasteful spending and redirecting those resources to improving curriculum and enabling 112 to effectively compete with neighboring districts. In 2.0 meetings, he systematically questions assumptions, gathers data, draws conclusions and discusses them with every subcommittee, and I fully expect him to apply this methodology to board service. Alex is committed, pragmatic and practical and will offer unique perspective on the 112 BOE.
Art Kessler gets things done. If he comes across as soft-spoken, it’s only because he listens before thoughtfully responding. More importantly, if you come to him with a question or concern, you will feel heard. He is knowledgeable, accessible and focused on removing obstacles to keep the team moving toward achieving its goals. Art has most recently demonstrated his leadership skills on the Reconfiguration 2.0 launch and Steering Committees where he proved to be a highly-collaborative facilitator. This role is tough to fill, and where school boards often run the risk of having “too many cooks in the kitchen” Art is a world-class Top Chef. Others on the board who respect this rare quality will benefit from and enhance Art’s effectiveness.
These four candidates carry a deep understanding of what our district faces, and appreciate the inextricable reliance D112 education, facilities and finances have on one another. They bring transparency and independence to the reconfiguration process, but beyond that, they understand the other crucial areas of board service and are committed to best serving each and every member of our community. Each brings a different set of capabilities and qualities to create the dynamic mix of intellect, personality and temperament need to achieve group success and community consensus.
Whether you skip the line and vote right now, or wait until April 4th, please remember to cast your votes for Lasko, Jenks, Brunk and Kessler.
Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of Daily North Shore. We encourage readers to post Letters to the Editor — please use this link to do so.