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Election 2013: Sarah Lewensohn

Sarah Lewensohn is one of five candidates running for three open seats on the Community Consolidated School District 181 Board of Education.

Name: Sarah Lewensohn

Position sought: Community Consolidated School District 181 Board of Education 

Email address: slewensohn@d181.org

Residence: Hinsdale

Family: Husband Bruce Albelda; two daughters, ages 15 and 13.

Education: MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; bachelor's degree in economics from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Occupation: Managing director of investor relations for publicly traded bank holding company.

Years in District 181: 21

Previous elected offices: Currently serve on the board of CCSD 181.

Applicable experience qualifying you for the position:

  • Current member of CCSD 181
  • Currently serving on superintendent’s finance committee. Have done so for past six years.
  • Completed Illinois Secretary of State’s Open Meetings Act training
  • Completed ISBE – School Law, School Finance and other school board course work
  • Former member of D181 Foundation

What is the primary reason you are running for this office?

To continue to serve, in the same manner I am currently, in a way that is mindful of the needs of the multiple stakeholders and committed to balancing the needs of all of them. I am not a single-issue candidate. My goal has always been to ensure that the district strives for excellence for all children, aware that we operate in an environment of limited resources.

What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?

Most important to me is that we move forward on revitalizing our curriculum so that we provide opportunities for children to be challenged and grow. Until Dr. Schuster joined the district, there had been little leadership in the way of curriculum development. Once she joined, the curriculum department was able to start the process, but it needs to continue. In addition to the language arts and math curriculum, which are in process, we need to update science and social studies.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I bring knowledge and experience of school boards, school finance and our district. CCSD 181 is rare; it has not had a BOE member serve for more than one term in the last eight years, maybe longer. I have sat at the negotiating table with the HCHTA [Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Teachers' Association]. Who else can say that?

I look for pragmatic solutions and have been successful at collaborating with others on the board. As a board member, you are one of seven and cast only one vote.

What do you believe is District 181’s biggest strength?

I love that every child that walks into one of our schools has the benefit of teachers, administrators and staff that truly care and are committed to providing an environment that fosters learning.

What do you believe is District 181’s biggest weakness?

One of my concerns is the issue of pension reform and how that could impact what funds we have available to support and improve our education offering.

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?

As I alluded to before, it was time for a change. The direction we are moving in today is the right way to go, albeit it will need to evolve as we identify unforeseen challenges. The Advance Learning Program will move the curriculum forward for those that can handle it and provide a more stimulating environment for all children.

Do you support continuing the @d181 Initiative? What is your stance on iPads in the classroom?

The question isn’t, should we have IPads? That is just hardware. Adding more pieces of technology will let teachers change how they teach. It will encourage new lesson plans, support problem based learning, increase engagement, and more.

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 fiscally responsible board is one that works toward controlling expenses, yet provides for adequate revenue to so the district is able to meet its contractual obligations. The last contract agreed to with the HCHTA allowed for increases in compensation, but it constrained the increases so that personnel costs have grown at a slower pace than in previous contracts. That needs to continue.

Related pages:

  • Election 2013: District 181 Board of Education
  • Jill Vorobiev
  • Gary Clarin
  • Mridu Garg
  • Richard Fitzgerald

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