There are three incumbents and three newcomers vying for four seats on the Joliet Township High School Board during the April 5th election.
Incumbents - Arlene Albert, Chet June and Jeff Pierson - have served eight terms; four-and-a-half terms and two-and-a-half terms respectively, totaling over 64 years on the board. They are running together with newcomer Paige Stonich-Vanderhyden, of Elwood, who has served 14 years on the Elwood School, including 12 years as board president.
Don "Duck" Dickinson, 50, of Joliet, who is an aquatic technician for Joliet Park District, is running for the second time for JTHS board. He lost in his first bid by three votes four years ago.
John G. Linehan, 48, of Joliet, who is in sales, is trying for his first bid.
Here's more information about them:
Name: John G. Linehan
Occupation: Sales, LKQ Corporation
Hometown: Davenport, Iowa
Public Service: This is my first run for public office
Name: Arlene Albert
Occupation: Community Education Coordinator for Deerbrook Care Centre
Education: Bachelor's in journalism from University of Illinois/Champaign Urbana
Public Service: Served eight terms on Joliet Township High School Board, including serving as board president.
Former board member of the Will County School Trustees
Former board member of the Will County Auditorium and Exposition Authority
2010 ATHENA Award recipient from Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Council for Working Women
2005 recipient of the Rabbi Morris M. Hershman Community Service Award from the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce
Recognized by the Long-Term Care Council of Illinois for local radio program I host for Deerbrook focusing on the elder care & health care issues.
Co-Chair of the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk (several years)
Present and past participation in several local and state civic and service organizations
Name: Jeff Pierson
Occupation: Lieutenant, Lisle-Woodridge Fire District
The Voyager Group
Past adjunct faculty Joliet Junior College, Mathematics
Master of Business Administration, Benedictine University
Bachelor of Science, University of St. Francis
JTHS West Campus
St. Joseph Grade School, Joliet
Public service: Member of the JTHS Board of Education serving for 2.5 terms and as President for two years.
Past Board Member, Joliet Boy's and Girl's Club
My wife Lisa and I served as co-chairs for the Joliet Area Museum Annual Gala Ball in 2003 and currently are the Co-Chairs of the Will Grundy Medical Clinic Charity Dinner.
Name: Chet June
Hometown: Joliet, Illinois
Education: Kindergarten - St. Raymond's
Grade School - Cunningham
Junior High - Hufford
High School - Joliet Township High School (3 years)
Joliet West High School (First Graduating Class of 1965)
College - Monmouth College (IL) Bachelor of Arts
Graduate - University of Iowa Juris Doctor
Public service: (accomplishments, including number of terms served in public office)
4 1/2 terms on the Joliet Township High School Board of Education, including one term as Vice President and one term as President
Vice Chairman of the Illinois Commission to revise and rewrite the Illinois Public Aid Code
Illinois State Bar Association - member of its Elder Law Section Council
Member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys - Vice President of its Illinois Chapter
Kiwanis Club of Joliet - served as chaplain and stage manager of its annual Variety Show.
Name: Paige Stonich-Vanderhyden
Occupation: Interim Director, Workforce Development at Joliet Junior College
Education: Master of Science in Training and Development, University of St. Francis
Bachelor of Science in Applied Organizational Management, University of St. Francis
Associate in Arts in Business, Joliet Junior College
Associate in Applied Science in Computer Science, Joliet Junior College
Public Service: Served as an Elwood School Board member for the past 14 years and board President for the past 12 years.
Name : Don "Duck" Dickinson
Occupation: Aquatic Technician for the Joliet Park District
Hometown: Life long resident of Joliet
Education: Joliet West Graduate '78, Joliet Junior College, mechanical production technology.
Public Service: Vice-president for JTHS Athletic Boosters for six years; 5 years President of Joliet area girls Softball Association for five years. While President, my board and I built and donated a concession stand to J.T.H.S. We also made numerous improvements to the softball facilities) . I have also been a part of numerous charitable events.
Q: What was the main issue that made you want to run for school board?
LINEHAN: Watching my children grow in Joliet and receive an excellent public school education has provided me with an appreciation for the importance of quality public school education for a community. Serving on the school board will afford me the opportunity to partake in my passion for education while contributing to public service in my community, which is something I have wanted to do.
JUNE: "To help continue the improvements made over the past several years. We've added 64 new classrooms and 24 new/refurbished science labs. We've reinstated the two sports teams. We've added a field house at both the Central and West Campuses. We've "weaned" the district from state aid. We have not had to layoff staff and have even been able to give our employees small raises. We've maintained a significant cash reserve fund and a "AA" bond rating. Our students have improved on their state test scores. We've expanded education opportunities by partnering with Joliet Junior College, where our students are able to earn college credit while completing their high school diploma."
STONICH-VANDERHYDEN: With my extensive background and experience as an existing school board member, and more so as a board president, as well as working at a community college, I have the knowledge and leadership skills required for this board position. Throughout my tenure as a school board president, occasionally families in Elwood have expressed their concerns about sending their children to Joliet Township, which is due in part because they are not familiar with the high school district. Bridging our communities together and supporting articulation between all sender school districts and the high school district is important for student achievement and retention.
ALBERT: I have the experience and leadership skills to be on this board. We've made great progress in our district and I want to remain part of the strong team that has vision and knows how to get things done. On my priority list is a focus on continuing to improve our student academic performance and graduation rates. Also we must continue to operate in a fiscally responsible manner while providing additional educational opportunities for our students. It's imperative that we balance our budget, maintain cash reserves and keep the tax rate as low as possible for our taxpayers.
DICKINSON: I have always been a supporter of our high Schools. I just believe a new voice is needed on our board. I believe it is good to have someone with fresh ideas.
PIERSON: I would like to continue my proven record of success and accomplishments that have provided for increased opportunities for all kids while maintaining fiscal discipline.
Q: Do or did you have children who attend/ed schools in the district and what insight did that give you?
LINEHAN: I currently have four children who attend Joliet Grade School District. Henry is in seventh grade at Washington Academy. Mary is in fifth grade at Eisenhower. John is in third grade at Eisenhower, and Martin is in kindergarten at Pershing. Having a child who is nearing high school motivated me to become involved in the JTHS board. I would like to be as happy with the education that my children receive in high school as I have been with their public school education until this point.
JUNE: Two of my grandchildren attended Joliet Central and my youngest granddaughter will attend Central this fall.
STONICH-VANDERHYDEN: I have two children who attend Joliet Central, which has given me insight into the high quality of education being provided by the teaching staff, the variety of opportunities (sports, after school program, clubs, etc.) available for students, and the focus on college and/or career preparation. Joliet Central is always very encouraging and welcoming regarding parent participation and interaction. The equality of the sport facilities between the two campuses is important, and I am pleased the current board is making sure all students have similar athletic resources available to them.
Currently as a member of the JTHS Academy Network Team, I have direct insight into the progress with the Programs of Study for the career academies and the focus of the district in aligning high school curriculum with college and career requirements in order to prepare students for their desired vocation.
Being a member of the JTHS Strategic Planning team in 2002, and co-chair of an Action Planning committee in 2009, has provided insight, as well as an opportunity for input, into the mission and vision of JTHS.
ALBERT: My children attended Joliet Central and were well prepared for college and the work world because of the quality of education they received from our teaching staff. They also benefited from attending a school where there was diversity among the student body.
DICKINSON: I have three children and two stepchildren. Taylor is a sophomore at Northern Illinois University; Ashley is a freshman at Columbia; Andrew is a junior at Joliet West; Bradley is a junior at Joliet West and Allison is a sophomore at Joliet West.
PIERSON: I currently have a child who attends a feeder school to the district that will be attending JTHS in a few years. This allows me to view decisions from a parent's perspective as well as a taxpayer. I look forward to seeing him take advantage of the many high quality opportunities currently offered through JTHS and staff.
I also have two nieces that attended Joliet Central from 2004-2010.
Q: Do you have family members who work for the district? If so, who, and their job titles? If so, are there some issues that you will not vote on and what?
PIERSON: My sister-in-law works part time in the cafeteria at Joliet West. I currently do not see any issues that I could not take action, but if an issue came to the Board, I would abstain from that decision.