Questions:

 

a) In which elementary school, middle school, and high school
attendance areas do you reside?

 

b) Please describe the educational background, work
experience, and other skills which uniquely qualify you for this position.

 

c) Please describe your
personal involvement with the public schools, the school district, and/or community on either a
professional or volunteer basis.


What is your motivation for running for the Indian Prairie School District 204 school board?


What do you consider to be the most important issues facing the Indian Prairie School District
204 school board right now and how would you propose to address them?


As we transition back to in-person learning, what are the metrics, timetable, priorities, and
strategies you would use to ensure a successful transition? What elements or strategies from
remote learning should be retained, if any?


How would you address the impact of the State of Illinois’ budget deficit on public education
funding in Indian Prairie School District 204?

Answers:

a) Studied In India. Elementary School: Alpha Matriculation School. High School: SVM Higher
Secondary School


b) I received my B.S. and M.S. degrees in India, and my MBA from the Kellogg School at
Northwestern. I have had a varied, international career, which has allowed me to gain significant
insight into the rapidly changing global workforce. Currently, I am Chief Technology Officer at
Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a higher education firm. In this position, I am able to observe how higher
education in the United States is developing and specifically the growth of microlearning. This
new model of undergraduate education allows students receive relevant theoretical and
practical training for stable, lifelong professions, but while expending much less time and
money. This professional experience uniquely positions me to advocate for our students as they
prepare for education, work, and life after graduating from our district. I can say confidently that
we would be doing a disservice to our students, and only harming our fight for an equitable
school district, if we were to ignore these changes underway and leave our students
unprepared.


c) I am a proud father to three children, one of whom has graduated from IPSD 204 schools,
one of whom is in a pre-med program, a second who is a current high school student in the
district, and third who is in an alternative program(used to be part of IEP/504 program in White
Eagle Elementary). Like every parent, I have been a constant advocate for my children’s
education. My volunteer involvement includes service on the board of Naperville Community
Television, Brillio Smiles Program and Super 20 Program.


(motivation)

From my professional background, I know that higher education in the United States is
developing rapidly to open up new pathways towards success. We need to prepare every
student to achieve success after graduation, however they define it, which means we need to
incorporate these new higher education pathways into our K-12 curricula. In order to do so, we
must address the systemic inequities present in our district, by allocating resources based on
need, and by empowering students and families to get involved and advocate for themselves.
I’m running for the school board because it has the unique ability, in the right hands, to address
these issues in a transparent, effective manner.


(top issues)


With an eye to the fact that a separate question will address the COVID-19 pandemic, which is
undoubtedly the most pressing issue facing the district, I want to highlight three intertwined
issues that will persist well after the pandemic.

 

  • First, the board must strive to address the inequities present in the district. The board must retain talented educators in our schools through improved professional development, support systems, and incentives, because their professional expertise is critical in allowing the board to act on the areas which need attention. The board must also examine potential changes to curricula and school zoning to determine if such changes could lessen inequities in the district. I believe there is a strong promise in both of these avenues, and the board should investigate accordingly.

  • Second, the board must increase its transparency and communication with the community. The board should expand public forums, public interviews, and public comment. It should also conduct and publish an easily readable, top to bottom review of district budget and revenue.

  • Third, the board should increase involvement with the community at large, beyond the transparency of its own processes. The board should engage existing parental advisory groups, and empower less involved parents to increase their involvement. It should also develop partnerships with local and public organizations to help identify potential new curriculum modules and hands-on experiences. The board can look to successful examples elsewhere, such as innovation labs and programs in magnet schools. Furthermore, the board should build partnerships with local businesses to develop programs for students, as well as resource and time donations. Finally, the board must develop strong relationships with city, county, and state commissions which determine school budgets.    

 

(COVID)


The board must follow the science and expert guidance to determine the best path for school
reopening, and share this process with the community. The board needs to formulate reopening
policy with the recognition that remote learning disproportionately impacts marginalized
students. My current understanding of the research is that we may be able to return to full in-
person learning in elementary schools soon, provided strict maintenance of safety measures
including mask wearing, social distancing, and more.


With regards to lessons from remote learning, I know firsthand as a parent how difficult it has
been for my children and their teachers, as it has been for so many of us. I believe that this
challenge has provoked conversations that we should continue once we’re all back in
classrooms. First, about the mental health of students, and how we can best structure and

communicate expectations so as to not overburden them. Second, about expectations and
support for educators, who were already going above and beyond before the pandemic. How
can we ensure that they have the tools and resources they need to be successful with their
students? This requires listening to educators, real listening that creates an ongoing dialogue. It
may not be easy, but it’s necessary.


(budget deficit)


It would be difficult to overstate how harmful the budget deficit has been on our district. The
district has been unable to provide all the resources that students and educators need, and has
been hampered in its ability to plan long-term.