Election 2013: Pradeep Tekkey
Pradeep Tekkey is one of six candidates running for four open seats on the Maercker School District 60 Board of Education.
Name: Pradeep Tekkey
Position sought: Maercker School District 60 Board of Education
Email address: email@example.com
Family: Wife Jennifer; daughters Tara, 12, and Nina, 10; son Anand, 8.
Education: Master's degree in business administration (finance and information systems) from University of Toledo, bachelor's degree in engineering (electronics and power) from VNIT, Nagpur, India.
Occupation: Vice President - Information Technology at Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc., in Chicago.
Years in District 60: 5.5
Previous elected offices: None
Applicable experience qualifying you for the position: I have over 25 years of business experience in the area of technology, finance, contract negotiations, vendor, staff and problem management, employee relations, budgeting, forecasting and executive management. I am a member of the Maercker District Leadership Team responsible for monitoring progress of the school's improvement plan. As an active PTA member I volunteer for PTA related activities. I am also a Cub Scouts Den Leader and an AYSO soccer coach in the district. My business background combined with my experience working closely with stakeholders in district uniquely qualifies me to work effectively with other board members in the governance of the district.
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
Based on my personal experience over the last few years working with the school system I have come to the realization that the most effective way to influence change is to not be on the sidelines but to get involved, and influence change from the inside. A position on the school board will enable me to contribute, participate and offer leadership to the district. I bring with me fresh ideas, problem solving ability, practical solutions combined with fiscal responsibility all of which I have honed over the years in the business world.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
The single most important priority for the district is bridging the student achievement gap between the Maercker SD 60 and neighboring high-performing school districts. Tying administration’s performance and bonus to student achievement is one of the many ways to propel the district forward. The other priorities include addressing the looming fiscal deficit facing the district and tough budget cutting measures to address them. In addition to the above I also intend to push for greater transparency and cooperation among all stakeholders in the district and the board; I would promote the use of technologies like live video streaming, town hall type web chat, timely dissemination of board minutes, etc., to encourage effective community participation better communication all around.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
On a lighter note, I have three kids in each of the district’s three schools, so right off the bat that makes me unique compared to the other contestants. On a serious note I have a vested interest in the success of each of the three schools. Volunteering for school activities I have worked with other parents, teachers, students and the district administration. I bring in business experience tempered with a blend of technology and finance crucial in today's environment where revenues are shrinking and advancement in technology is unrelenting. Over the years I have had experience working with people as a facilitator and a leader, worked on setting policies and procedures all of which translates very well to the responsibility as a board member.
What do you believe is District 60’s biggest strength?
Diversity of student population is the district’s biggest strength. With diversity comes diversity of ideas, thoughts and cultural richness that is unmatched by any of the other neighboring districts. The teachers in the district are dedicated and hardworking and the parents want the school district to be the best one around. I feel the district administration genuinely wants to improve the student achievement. There is great deal of enthusiasm in the students population and overall this is an excellent district to raise a family.
What do you believe is District 60’s biggest weakness?
The biggest weakness is the economic diversity in the district leading to disparity in student performance. There is a large population of students with ESL and that adversely affects student performance in standardized tests. I also feel that there is room for greater parent participation in school’s success. As far as the administration goes there appears to be a general lack of enthusiasm to introducing new student activities that could benefit the student body. Administration-teacher-parent communication can also be improved to facilitate higher community participation in the district.
In terms of a school district, how would you describe a board that is fiscally responsible? Does District 60 currently have a fiscally responsible board?
A fiscally responsible board would solicit community feedback on critical decisions that affect the district. This can be achieved by greater transparency and participation by the community.
There were some past decisions like relocating the administration office outside the school district that makes me wonder if the move was fiscally and symbolically the right thing for the district. The $1.15 million budget deficit projected by the administration in 2014-1015 cannot be solved by minor cuts to programs as proposed by the administration. All options should be on the table; creative ideas to increase revenue, staff attrition, increasing class sizes etc. should all be considered to address the impending crisis.
Lastly, I admire and appreciate the current sitting Maercker SD 60 board members. They need to be commended for their tireless, selfless work that sometimes go unnoticed and under-appreciated.