District 101 candidates introduce themselves
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:31AM
The seven candidates for four seats on the District 101 School Board made their pitch Wednesday for voter support.
Karen Gibbs, Lisa Garvin, Michael Johnson, Charles Mudd, Jr., Julie O’Connor, Elizabeth Reedy and Brian Spears spoke before about 30 residents at a forum organized by a newly created election committee under the Western Springs Caucus.
In the past, a caucus vetted the candidates for the School Board election, but chose this year not to nominate specific candidates.
“We did not want any qualified candidate to feel excluded from the process,” said Heidi Rudolph.
Garvin, a stay-at-home mom with four children, spoke of her extensive volunteering in Laidlaw and McClure schools. Her career was in social services, working as a school worker under contract at Oak Park-River Forest High School from 1999 to 2006, and before that as a case manager at Proviso Family Services in Melrose Park.
Johnson, the father of two children in Laidlaw, grew up in the area, attending St. John of the Cross school and Lyons Township High School. He has worked for a real estate investment firm that rehabbed foreclosed homes on Chicago’s South Side for low-income families displaced by gentrification and redevelopment of the city’s housing projects. He also has been a motivational speaker and weight loss consultant for medical practices.
Mudd, a lawyer, grew up in Western Springs, graduating from McClure Junior High and LT. He serves on the Lyons Township Community Advisory Council. The father of a kindergartener and a second-grader in Laidlaw, Mudd believes the timing is right to serve on the District 101 Board.
“The education here is phenomenal,” Mudd said.
O’Connor is the mother of four children in Field Park and McClure. She graduated from Hinsdale South High School and has accounting and law degrees from the University of Illinois. As the deputy general counsel for PrivateBancorp. O’Connor said she has developed the critical thinking, listening and communications skills that would allow her to work collaboratively and productively with the other board members.
Reedy is an Army veteran and an assistant Cook County state’s attorney. She has three children in Forest Hills School. Reedy is pleased with the education her children are receiving and wants to support the community by serving on the board.
Spears has two children, the oldest attending kindergarten at Laidlaw. He is the director of sales for the design firm, Humanscale Corp. and previously was vice president of sales for AT&T Mobility. He said he would approach situations with an open mind, listen to others’ viewpoints and be decisive.
Gibbs is completing her first four-year term on the District 101 Board. Her three children range in age from 6 to 18. Gibbs said the district provides a strong education. The challenge will be continuing that strong academic growth and attending to the social and emotional needs of the students.
An attorney, Gibbs works as vice president and senior counsel for CVS Caremark. Her 20 years practicing law in the health-care field is a useful background for dealing with issues important to the district employees, she said.