Election 2013: Mridu Garg
Mridu Garg is one of five candidates running for three open seats on the Community Consolidated School District 181 Board of Education.
Name: Mridu Garg
Position sought: Community Consolidated School District 181 Board of Education
Email address: email@example.com
Family: Two children, ages 10 and 7.
Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and MBA, both from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Occupation: Currently, full-time parent. I have held various positions in the financial, insurance and telecommunications industries. Positions held involved system and software development, project leadership and collaboration with customers, sales, and marketing.
Years in District 181: 4
Previous elected offices: None
Applicable experience qualifying you for the position: I believe I am qualified to be a board of education member because of my work experience and my involvement in the school system and the community. My 10+ years of work experience in blue chip companies such as Lucent Technologies, Price Waterhouse and Discover Card/Dean Witter, has provided me with valuable organizational skills and business knowledge. As a parent in the district and having led a few PTO committees, I am well aware of how the schools function and the important issues facing this district. I am committed to keeping an open mind, listening to differing points of view, and reviewing all available data to make informed decisions.
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
As a District 181 parent who volunteers extensively at the school level, I have strived to keep myself informed of the many issues facing this district and the community. Based on my knowledge, I would like to contribute more fully and represent fellow community members.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
I believe it is very important for board members to recognize each other’s strengths and to work as a team to represent community needs and help set realistic goals for our teachers and administration.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have been an active community member since moving to Hinsdale and have attended many board meetings, reviewed district materials and conducted my own research on the issues facing our district. I am very familiar with the various initiatives the district is planning and implementing this year. As a parent of two elementary school children, I am able to see the impact of these initiatives and can contribute successfully. If elected, I would bring an educated perspective to the board and help make data driven decisions that ensure the best use of our tax dollars.
What do you believe is District 181’s biggest strength?
District 181’s biggest asset is its student population and active, involved parents who are committed to supporting the schools.
What do you believe is District 181’s biggest weakness?
I think the biggest challenge facing the district is the turnover in administration and the difficulty it presents to long term planning.
Do you support the district’s approach to curriculum changes since the January 2012 report by gifted program consultant Dr. Tonya Moon? Why or why not?
The district is attempting to address two different issues that were raised in Dr. Moon’s report: increase the rigor of the general curriculum for all learners and address the needs of advanced learners five days a week. In response, the district has developed an ambitious plan to increase the rigor of the general curriculum for all students and I fully support challenging all D181 students including advanced learners. Integral to the success of this plan is having the resources to support its execution.
Do you support continuing the @d181 Initiative? What is your stance on iPads in the classroom?
There are many studies and articles available regarding 1:1 initiatives, with the conclusion being that there is no clear data to indicate increased student learning with either iPads or a 1:1 initiative. Fortunately, we live in an affluent community where most students have access to one or more computers at home, including iPads. Our children are already reaping the benefits of technology at home and within the classroom with the availability of laptop carts, iPads and smart boards. Additionally, many of the PTOs and the D181 Foundation have already generously purchased such devices and made them available in the elementary schools. Should the data support the addition of iPads, or newer emerging technology, in the classrooms, then I would like to see applications which support and enhance the curriculum prior to a full scale adoption.
In terms of a school district, how would you describe a board that is fiscally responsible? Does District 181 currently have a fiscally responsible board?
A board that is fiscally responsible uses data for strategic planning and budgeting purposes. Making data driven decisions will allow the board to have better accountability measures for each initiative and hence have better control on the budget. I believe the current board is striving to be fiscally responsible and has been placed in a difficult position with several moving pieces this year including state mandates such as Common Core and potential pension reform.