Spring Election 2020: Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School District Board candidates Q&A

Voters in the Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School District will be able to cast a ballot in a contested school board race on April 7 (or earlier with absentee voting).

There are two at-large seats and four candidates.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate, by email or by mail.

Here in alphabetical order is their biographical information, followed by their question responses:

Bill L. Barhyte — Age: 62. Education: Trevor Grade School, Wilmot Union High School, 1 year Old Dominion University–Military schooling (diesel mechanics, hydraulics theory/repair). Occupation: Self-Employed-Equipment Operator-Excavation. Previous Elected Offices: Trevor-Wilmot School Board.

Matt Connor — Age: 33. Education: Bachelors in Physical Education with Endorsements in Industrial Technology, Art, and Graphics at NIU | Masters in Teacher Leadership at Aurora University. Occupation: Graphics Teacher at McHenry Community High School. Previous elected offices: None.

Cole Marshall — Age: 56. Education: Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse. Occupation: Technology Education Instructor – Wilmot Union High School. Previous elected office:  Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School Board.

Antonio Villalobos — Age: 48. Education: College of Lake County ​​​​​​​ ​ ​ 2016
Mechatronics Certificate ​​Grayslake, IL, Environmental Technical Institute​​​​​​​​​ ​ 2008, Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certificate​​​​​​​ Itasca, IL, ​​​​​​​
ITT Technical Institute ​ 1991, Associates in Applied Science Electronics Engineering Technology Degree​ Schaumburg, IL. Occupation: Electrical Engineer Technician. Previous elected offices: none.

1.) Why are you the best choice for a school board seat?

Barhyte — I believe my experience as a school board member, my life-long residency of Trevor, and my experience running  a small business will be a positive attribute to keeping our school and community a success.  I would like to continue helping to guide our school moving forward with well thought out decisions in the school’s operations.   A good school is not just about the kids–it’s also about the effect it has on the whole district.  We must be able to balance the effect we have on both.

Connor — I’m invested in this district, having 4 children that are/will be at this school for the next 13 years, I want the best for this school and my own children. As an educator in another district, I understand the importance of putting our students first and ensuring we support our teachers in the best way possible. I want to give this district a fresh perspective, with a forward vision.

Marshall — I have served several terms on the school board and am looking to continue to help guide the Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School District into the future.  I was apart of the original district consolidation, and a member of the leadership team that developed and guided the recent addition and improvement to our school facilities.  I have strong roots in education and I understand that members of the school board must be good stewards of our taxpayer dollars.  I have proven capable of balancing the importance of a top-quality education with the fiscal impacts on the community. 

Villalobos — I am running for a seat on the Trevor Wilmot School Board because I believe that TWC is a great school,  but now having young school age children I have seen firsthand the wonderful community of parents and teachers, however I feel there are some gaps that will prevent the school from reaching its fullest potential.  I want to bring a fresh perspective to the district and couple that with strong leadership and communication.  The success of the school is dependent on solid clear lines of communication and that starts at the top with the school board and carries down through the administration, building leadership, and school staff.  If the vision and direction of the district isn’t being clearly articulated to the community, parents, and staff then the message will never be achievable.   I look forward to being a part of the district for years to come.

2.) What do you see as the chief challenges that your school district faces?

Barhyte — One of the most pressing challenges currently is the effect the Coronavirus shutdown has on our student’s education and what we as a school are doing to meet state, student and school goals. Another challenge is balancing our school budget!  With declining enrollment and loss of revenue, we are running at a sizeable deficit for this year and for the next two years if we have no major changes.   Therefore, my goal is to eliminate or reduce the deficit as low as possible with minimal impact to the school and community.

Connor — Right now there is no clear vision from the top of the district. If there is a clear vision, as a community member and parent, I don’t know what that vision is. There is also a lack of trust and communication that needs to fixed. Once you have a vision, you can communicate it clearly and our community members, parents, and all stakeholders will start to trust our school again.

Marshall — The chief challenge for the Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School Board will to recover and move forward from the effects of the Covid19 virus.  It will take a strong school board, staff and community to negotiate the unprecedented challenges we will have to work through over the course of the next few years. It may take several years to recover from our current crisis. Once we can return to educating it will be critical to focus on addressing the learning of our students short and long term. There will also be a significant number of challenges for the budget, staff, and community as we move forward. It will require an extreme amount of patience and creativity from all stakeholders. It will be imperative that decisions are made to benefit the greater school community. We will be asked to develop and implement plans to move forward from the current situation, Everyone must understand there is no road map to follow. We will likely be asked to choose a course of action from a set of less than desirable choices. We will have to decide which path to take based on what we know today. As a school community, it will require a lot of flexibility and understanding. Please know that I will do my best to use the known facts and circumstances to make logical, reasoned, non-emotional choices to benefit the greatest number of stakeholders.

Villalobos — I believe the biggest challenge facing the district is communication between the school board members, school staff and administration, and the community.  I believe the board is elected to serve as a voice of the people and with that they should have an open door to the community.  They should be open to hearing directly from the parents and members of the community with concerns and accolades regarding the direction of the school.  They should be utilizing that feedback to ensure the will of the people is being met when it comes to setting the direction of the school.   The school needs to develop a clear communication plan to ensure that based on the situation the correct level of message is being delivered by the appropriate level of staff. Having one single voice when it comes to communicating messages to the public, especially messages related to major issues, is paramount.  Mixed messages coming from multiple sources only leads to confusion on the direction and vision of the school. This is especially true as it relates to inconsistent and ambiguity on important policies like attendance, progressive discipline, and student safety/health.

3.) What would be your top initiatives for the next term if you are elected?

Barhyte — Working on reducing the deficit. Making sure the school recovers from the effects of the Coronavirus  shutdown. Working on improving communication between parents, school and the school board. Making sure our curriculum  keeps aligning with the high school for the students to have a smooth transition.

Connor — I want to improve our community partnerships, create a future focused on innovative curriculum by trusting our teachers, and allowing them to try new ideas. Finally, creating and keeping a safe and secure school for our students and staff.

Marshall — My top priorities would be to: Do as much as possible to minimize the interruption in education caused by the Covid-19. To make sure all spending and decision making is done to have the greatest positive effect on learning for the students. To make sure the school community has a clear mission and vision moving forward.  It is important to have a clear and solid strategic plan to guide decision making.

Villalobos — My goals if elected to the Trevor Wilmot School Board is to focus on three areas: school safety/security, cutting edge curriculum, and community partnering.  The desire of all parents is to send their children to a physically and emotionally safe environment where they can flourish and develop.  The safety of our students and staff at TWC is priority number one to ensuring the long-term success of the school.  Additionally, I want to create a school that is leading the way with a curriculum focused on preparing our children for the future.  Finally, for the school to reach its full potential we need to be engaging not only parents but also the entire community.  This school should serve as source of pride for the community and to achieve that we need Administration and staff working hand in hand with parents and community members to implement the vision of the school.

Here is a link to some additional questions and answers, including some very specific to the Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School District, as compiled by the Trevor-Wilmot Booster Club.



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