Elena Garcia Ansani is a former teacher and PhD candidate in education who is running her first campaign for election to the Evanston Township High School District 202 board. Here are her answers to the questions Patch posed to every District 202 candidate.
1. How long have you lived in Evanston?
2. What elected positions have you held previously, if any? Have you ever run for office before?
This is the first time I have ever run in an election.
Click here for information on the other District 202 candidates.
3. What experience/skills would you bring to the school board from your professional or personal life?
I am a servant leader of our community. I have a proven record of working effectively with various organizations and institutions. As a community liaison I have successfully assisted in creating partnerships between diverse groups to promote access and equity for all members of Evanston. I have a Masters degree in special education and a Doctor of Education (area of specialization: Disability and Equity in Education) soon to be conferred. I have extensively studied the history of education, methods for assessment, research methodologies, and educational policies along with a minor focus of curriculum instruction and social inquiry. I have taught in elementary through post-secondary settings and have provided instructional learning support to students who have had mild learning disabilities to students with severe impairments. I believe my professional educational experiences coupled with my record for community service are criteria for a highly qualified candidate to serve the 202 Board of Education.
4. What do you think are the biggest issues for District 202? How would you address those?
I believe the top three issues before District 202 at this time are: 1) The impact cost shift pension funding will have upon the district, 2) The need to maintain the highest degree of safety protocols within the school and its grounds, 3) The persistent academic achievement gap that exists between white students and students of color.
As the 202 Board of Education’s governance role is to be responsible for the district’s purpose of defining, articulating and redefining its effective ends as they relate to student learning and organizational effectiveness, I would be required to study all pertinent data as it related to these issues. I would also be required to advocate on behalf of the ETHS community with their concerns as they related to district improvements. By working collaboratively with the 202 Board of Education, I would assist in developing new policies for ETHS that would support the sustainability of the school’s mission of embracing its diversity and dedicating itself to educating all students to their fullest potential.
5. What will you do to improve graduation rates and job placement for those students who do not go on to college right away (if at all)?
I am an advocate for accessible and equitable educational opportunities for all students. As an educator, I have inspired and motivated many students to set and reach personal and academic goals. As a 202 board member, I would continue my outreach efforts to all members of the ETHS community to promote positive academic and youth development. I believe as a Latina role model for the ETHS community, I could positively influence many students and their families.
6. What will you do to improve safety in and around ETHS?
I am the parent of a freshman student at ETHS and certainly require a safe school environment for my children. As a member of the 202 Board of Education, I would review the data put forth regarding any issues related to increased safety measures at the school along with community input as it pertained to district improvements to properly advocate for new safety policies that were deemed necessary at ETHS.