Original questions in black. Responses in blue.
1. Why are you running to serve the board of education?
From my professional background, I know that higher education in the United States is
rapidly developing new models of learning. 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 and empower all students and families to get involved.
I’m running for the school board because it has the unique ability to address these issues in a
transparent, effective manner.
2. What is the school district’s most pressing need?
The most pressing need is finding a safe return to in-person learning, as soon as
possible. We must follow the science and expert guidance to determine the best path for school
reopening, and share this process with the community to develop a dialogue. The board must
also formulate reopening policy with the recognition that remote learning disproportionately
impacts marginalized students, and that only increases the speed at which we need to move.
3. What are your thoughts on the school district's programs dedicated toward special
education students, English Language Learners (ELL), students in the middle and gifted
As a parent of a student with special needs, I am deeply grateful for the care and
expertise that special needs and ELL educators display every day in their work. For these
educators, as with all educators, the board needs to ensure that they have the resources, both
physical and intangible, to serve every student in their charge. Current programs can always be
improved with an eye towards equity, and this goes for gifted students as well. We need to be
conscious of who we identify as gifted, and how we’re working to close systemic gaps.
4. Name three District 204 policies that need review or immediate attention.
First, the board policies surrounding communication with the community. There is a both
lack of transparency about how the board is legally bound to operate, and room to improve the
board’s norms surrounding community engagement. It needs to be a top priority. Second,
school zoning. I believe we could benefit greatly from exploring a cluster zoning model, which
would allow more focused attention and resources to be provided to disadvantaged groups in
our district. Third, the budgetary process. It starts too late and leaves the board scrambling to
put things together right before the school year starts.
5. How often are you in touch with members of the current School Board? And do you
attend/watch school board meetings live or after they’re saved in the archive?
I am in touch with members frequently, and have attended meetings whenever possible,
permitting my family’s schedule.
6. What up-and-coming City of Naperville/City of Aurora development will impact School
District 204 funding the most? As a board member, where would you look to make
High density developments in Aurora and Naperville will have a direct impact on dollars spent
on each student. For example, Fox Valley Mall being reprovisioned to be high density homes.
7. In a public relations role, how would you orientate a new family to the school district?
It is critical that every family feels like they can have their voice heard - this is an equity
issue. The system works such that parents with more resources have an advantage, so the
board needs to be proactive in reaching out to new families, informing them of pathways to
contact the board, places to get information, and so on. When possible, there should be
outreach in their preferred language, and a clear contact point whom they can go to with
questions as they’re getting oriented in the district.
8. Consider K-12 core curriculum to include English (reading, language arts writing),
science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts (STEAM), foreign languages,
computer science, civics/government/current events, economics, history, geography,
physical education/health and social-emotional learning standards. If the school district
were forced to eliminate a subject in order to add a new one, what would you eliminate?
Any thought of what you would add at what grade level? What’s the parents’ role in
monitoring curriculum changes and choices?
I would be very much disinclined to eliminate any of the listed subjects. However, if
pressed, and speaking as a computer scientist, I think there could be some reduction of the
technology, engineering, and computer science curricula into two classes instead of three. I
would be inclined to add a personal financial skills course, perhaps starting at the middle school
As advocates for their students, parents have a critical role to play in monitoring
curriculum changes and choices. The board needs to ensure there is an open dialogue for all
parents, regardless of prior involvement, to voice their opinions on these matters.
9. Research reveals that high self-esteem and student achievement are closely related to
positive parental involvement in school. Considering growing interest in school choice,
home-schooling and private schools, what are your thoughts on school vouchers?
We need to follow the research and empower parents to be closely involved with their
student’s education. For some students, the right choice will not be mainstream public school -
my son has special needs that require attention outside of what high schools can reasonably
provide. That said, a 2017 metastudy concluded that vouchers are not a systematically reliable
way to improve educational outcomes. So, I support empowering parents to make choices for
their children, just as I have done, but I don’t think vouchers provide the systemic change
necessary to make this district more equitable for all students.
10. When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Very recently, during the impeachment debate and trial in Washington. I wanted to make
sure as house managers and ex-president’s lawyers were presenting their case on why it is
constitutional or not.
11. Have you received any donations or endorsements from any organized group(s)? If
so, which groups?
I have not received donations from organized groups, and will not seek donations from
these groups. I have been endorsed by Ian Holzhauer who is running for Naperville City
12. Name the school teacher who most influenced you. Please include grade, school, city
and state. (Parents/family are not eligible.)
Vasala Nair, my 8th grade teacher from India. I failed 8th grade as the curriculum in
India is standardized irrespective of student ability to learn. Her encouragement along with my
parents help I was moved to a school that was more adaptive to my learning abilities and was
able to now get dual masters degree one from India and one from Kellogg/Northwestern University.