D86 candidate Mark Pinnow's questionnaire
Last updated 3/12/2021 at 2:22pm
Attendance area: Hinsdale Central
Years in district: 14
• BS Accounting & Finance, DePaul University
• MBA International Finance, DePaul University
Accounting and Finance. Director of Financial Systems and Analysis, Titan International
• Apna Ghar, Chicago – Former Co-Treasurer and board member of domestic violence organization in Chicago
• Mercy Home, Chicago – Friends First Mentoring program volunteer
• Gower 62 Referendum Committee - Committee Member – 2009-10
• Gower 62 Referendum Committee - Co-chair - 2020
• Board member for Apna Ghar, Chicago
Why are you running for this particular seat at this particular time?
I have contemplated running for the board in the past however, until recently, my job required me to travel extensively and I would have been out of town for several days each week. Now that I am traveling less for work I feel that I am in a better position to dedicate my time to serving on the board. In addition, my youngest son will be entering high school next fall and I will have 2 children in D86 so this seems like a natural time for me to shift my focus to volunteering for D86. Over the past 15 years much of my professional work experience has been focused on establishing and measuring organizational performance and efficiency and I would like to apply this experience to help D86 achieve its strategic goals and objectives.
What in your personal or professional experience has prepared you to be an effective board member?
I served on the board and was the co-treasurer for a not for profit agency in Chicago for several years. Also, I was part of the 2010 $9 million Gower Middle referendum committee as well as being the co-chairman of the recent $15 million Gower West referendum committee in November 2020. In my professional career, I have worked extensively with both the board and senior management for the companies where I worked on presenting financial information, establishing strategic performance KPI’s and establishing measures of organizational efficiency and performance. I am a pragmatic, data driven person and I believe that my professional experience will allow me to be a positive influence on the board’s decision making process and allow the board to be more effective in setting the vision and goals for the school district, as well hold the district administration accountable for achieving these goals.
What in your opinion are the board’s three most important responsibilities?
• District superintendent - The hiring and oversight of the district superintendent along with establishing their directives and goals
• Policy and objectives - To set the districts policies, budget and objectives and to hold the superintendent responsible for implementing and achieving these goals as well as advocating for the needs of all students to the community
• Student growth and achievement – ensuring that the district has clearly articulated data driven criteria to measure and drive student growth district wide and to leverage this information in the review and evaluation of all curriculum and academic initiatives
What is the district’s greatest strength? Which area is most in need of attention?
• Strength – D86 is a high performing district with dedicated students and staff, strong community support with high expectations of academic achievement.
• Opportunities – establishing more quantifiable and measurable measures for setting and obtaining district goals and implementing strategies
What is the most pressing budgetary matter the district will face over the next four years?
• The District has an exceptionally strong tax base of over $5.9 billion however, it is projected that the Direct Receipts/Revenues for D86 will remain fairly steady to where it is today over the next few years. With projected increased costs for COVID related changes, debt service, and instruction and support services, there will be a heightened need for the district to have absolute clarity and prioritization around the implementation of the strategic plan to ensure that funds are allocated as efficiently and effectively as possible
What will be your top three priorities if elected?
• The design and implementation of a district plan for resuming in school learning
• Develop and establish clear and quantifiable measures for district performance, including, the assessment of the ‘COVID gap’ for all students and the development of a remediation plan to address
• Strengthen the relationship, transparency and trust between the board, administration and the community along with formalize the alignment and increase the collaboration between D86 and each of the feeder schools
Please cite a recent board decision that you have agreed with and one that you have disagreed with and briefly explain your reason(s) why.
• Agreed – I agreed with the evaluation and prioritization of projects associated with the 2019 referendum. I believe that the district effectively vetted and evaluated the various projects and also incorporated feedback from the community on this process
• Disagree – the abandoning of the hybrid learning model for the 20/21 school year. The district failed to take the imitative needed to evaluate and develop a plan for getting and keeping the kids in school safely. Instead, our focus has been a ‘wait and see’ approach that has resulted in a reduced learning experience for all students.