D86 candidate Terri Walker's questionnaire
Last updated 3/12/2021 at 2:26pm
Terri R. Walker
Years in district: 4 years 9 months
Education: BS Business Miami University, Oxford Ohio
Occupation: Human Resources Executive. I oversee all aspects of HR for McGraw Hill’s Higher Education and Professional business units. As a values-driven leader, I rely on facts and data to advance the success of the organization. As Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion I am responsible for implementing our Global D&I Strategy. I am known for successfully leading teams, solving complex problems, being a thought leader / trusted advisor to executives, driving talent / culture / business transformation, and revenue growth.
Jack and Jill of America, Inc a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2-19 dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty. Recent activities include coat drives and food drives in support of local organizations.
Room Parent – Madison School, Hinsdale
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, an organization of college educated women committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service.
I volunteered on a committee that provided input and guidance regarding selection criteria for hiring the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum
Board Member, The Cara Program, a non-profit organization specializing in personal and professional development for people affected by poverty who are ready to get and keep a quality job.
Why are you running for this seat at this particular?
I am the mother of a Hinsdale Central Freshman and a Hinsdale Middle School 6th grader. After regular participation in board meetings and engaging with the board, I believe we are experiencing a crisis within our district as it relates to curriculum, remote / in person learning, equity and communication / listening. The Board of Education in partnership with administration, teachers, and parents has both the challenge as well as unique opportunity to improve learning / educational outcomes for all. I want an opportunity to lend my voice, perspective and expertise while continuing and accelerating positive change for all.
What in your personal or professional experience has prepared you to be an effective board member?
In my role as an HR Executive, I rely on facts and data to make decisions and advance the success of the organization. I have experience actively listening to all sides of the issues and bringing teams to consensus solving complex problems, as well as making tough decisions regarding performance /success targets, incentives, advancement, compensation, organizational design and restructuring.
What in your opinion are the board’s three most important responsibilities?
1. Select, employ, and evaluate the superintendent through measurable performance goals incorporated into a multi-year contract.
2. Preserve high standards of academic excellence, equity, and support for all students. Making data driven, fact-based decisions.
3. Serve as stewards of the community and ensure fiscal responsibility when setting budgets, making decisions on facilities and manage the collective bargaining process for employees of the district.
What is the district’s greatest strength? Which area is most in need of attention?
The districts strengths include dedicated parents, teachers’ administrators, and staff with a strong focus on maintaining a tradition of excellence.
There are two areas of need. The first area most in need of attention is preserving our high standards and curriculum and ensuring that we provide excellent education that prepares our students for their future which may include college and beyond. Returning students to full time in person instruction and filling the learning gaps that may have incurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic is the second key need.
What is the most pressing budgetary matter the district will face over the next four years?
Continue to maintain our facilities and pay for any unanticipated additional expenses incurred by the district as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We may have needs for technology enhancements such as live streaming and we should be planning for those now.
What will be your top three priorities if elected?
1. Championing open governance through respectful communication, community engagement and collaboration with all stakeholders. Identifying additional opportunities to engage the community.
2. When decisions are made regarding curriculum, grading, equity that all these decisions are student centered and data driven.
3. Preserving high standards of academic excellence. Implementing performance management tools that allow us to be transparent about our goals and progress.
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.
I agree with the Board’s recent decision to create a district Equity statement. Equity is a necessary focus. Setting guidelines and establishing goals are important to ensure inclusion, opportunity, and success for all students. I would like to see the definition of Equity and the districts practices broadened to include the explicit goal of meeting each student where they are and helping them to achieve their highest potential. The decision to remove supported courses (G level and AR) does not meet students where they are. I am anxious to see the specific measures that will be used to determine a successful implementation across all the goals outlined in the equity statement.
I disagree with the decision to eliminate the nationally ranked traditional math curriculum to pursue an Integrated Math approach. Many districts that have moved to Integrated Math have reverted to a traditional math pathway. Additionally, the District 86 Integrated math courses have yet to be written and the administration has not presented any detailed curriculum mapping. What will make this program successful in D86? I am not opposed to change. However, I do not believe this change is necessary or relevant during this time of crisis and reduced instructional time due to the pandemic.