Hawthorn Dist. 73 candidates talk school priorities
Hometown: Vernon Hills and Mundelein
Children in the district? Yes
Education: Master’s degree in French from Lake Forest College; master of arts in teaching from National Louis University; master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts from Columbia College
Occupation: Formerly a teacher, now translation assistant at a photography equipment company
Children in the district? Yes
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in marketing from University of Illinois at Chicago
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:15AM
Four political newcomers are competing for three seats on the Hawthorn School District 73 Board of Education.
Jeanne Engelkemeir and Ghita Mueller’s are hoping to win on April 9, along with Sangita Parande and Louis Gatta who were featured here previously.
Engelkemeir said she was motivated to run for the board because, as a former teacher, she felt she had a wealth of experience to bring to the position. Overall, she said she is someone who loves being involved.
“I’m not the kind of person to sit back,” she said.
Engelkemeir said she participated in the superintendent search Hawthorn underwent last year and was also a part of the strategic planning process. She also said she frequently volunteers at her children’s school.
When the district had to make cuts in recent years, Engelkemeir said she found herself getting more drawn in to the process.
“I was finding myself going to a lot of board meetings and speaking out,” she said.
Ghita Mueller said she hasn’t been closely involved with the school board’s dealings, but her interest peaked when she heard there were three open positions.
She said she loves the district and is interested in schools in general since she hears about them so much in her real estate job.
“There is a lot of nice diversity here,” she said. “I think it’s a really neat district.”
Both candidates named language education as a key issue.
Mueller said she would like to see the dual language program in the district continued on all the way through middle school.
Engelkemeir, a former French teacher, said foreign language should start as early as kindergarten and said she would like to see a global approach to education overall.
“That means we take advantage of and understand that the interplay between language and culture is really important,” she said. “I shouldn’t just be an add-on.”
Mueller, who has a daughter with special needs, said she would also like to see other kids like her daughter have everything they need to excel.
If elected, she said she plans to focus on this issue, as well as bringing more technology into the schools.
“The earlier kids get exposed to it, the better,” she said.
Engelkemeir’s priorities upon winning office would be to see teacher’s aides brought back in special education and language, keep the arts strong and make certain that any cuts that are made do not impact the classroom.
“Our children are our lives and our future and they are an important part of our community.”
•This is the last in a two-part series profiling candidates running for the Hawthorn School District 73 Board of Education.