Although the District 65 School Board Election is uncontested, candidate Claudia Garrison wants to ensure that she is accessible to all Evanston residents who want to share concerns or hopes for their public school system. She is issuing an open invitation to her kick off event, which will be held Friday, February 22nd at the Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Avenue (2nd Floor) from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.
Ms. Garrison retired from District 65 in June, after teaching reading, language arts, and social studies at Haven Middle School for eleven years. Teaching was a career change for her. Previously, she had worked for Bank of American as a writer, editor, computer project manager, and management information consultant. Other experience includes television production, news reporting (with an emphasis on education issues), advertising, and public relations. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign from which she graduated in the top ten percent of her class and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She obtained her Masters in Teaching from National-Louis University.
Ms. Garrison lived overseas for twelve years, and her two sons attended the Hong Kong International School, the Singapore American School, and the American School in London. She was active in the parent-teacher organizations of all these schools, and this involvement led to her decision to enter teaching.
After her retirement from Haven, she found herself still passionately concerned about the issues facing public education today. “I feel that District 65 could be a model school district for the nation,” she says. “We have many of the problems facing larger districts, but on a smaller scale. With Evanston’s diversity, resources, and commitment to high quality education, we could develop solutions to such problems as the achievement gap that could then be applied in larger districts.”
She is also concerned by the trend toward using students’ performance on standardized tests as the determining measure of teacher effectiveness. “New research and current thinking on what students need to be successful adults point toward a student having personal qualities such as perseverance, optimism, and self-control. While standardized tests can predict whether a student will enter college, the personal qualities are better predictors of whether he or she will actually graduate and succeed after college. I think District 65 and 202 have to seriously consider how our teaching can develop and nurture those qualities in our students,” she says.
Ms. Garrison invites District 65 voters to contact her with their issues and concerns. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.