Rockford Public School Board candidates share why they’re best fit for the job

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 10:55 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s the equivalent of a late-night cramming session for school board candidates with the election just 34 days away.

Only three of the seven school board races on the board are contested. Despite that, eight candidates were at the Nordloff Center Wednesday night, explaining their plans to create a better school environment.

“If you talk to any parent of any school student they will tell you their school is really great but the rest of the district is really terrible,” said Jo Minor who is a mother of four kids.

All graduated through the Rockford Public School system, she says communication between administration and parents is the biggest need.

“I started a parent council. There were parents from every school. If there were other ideas or some parents had questions there were other people there to help them with,” she said.

“I’ve been able to work individually with students and with their families. I have counseled in schools, I have created programming in schools,” said Nicole Bennett who is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with kids and families for fifteen years.

Bennett faces current school board president Jude Makulec in Sub-District D. Bennett says her focus is on recognizing students trauma and students achievement.

“Really be able to raise up their voices and empower them to be their own best advocate,” said Bennett.

Makulec’s focus is re-building the connection between teachers, students and families. She believes continuity on the board is important.

“I think you have to have some institutional and historical knowledge to be an effective board member because then you know the questions to ask,” said Makulec.

“Put your prejudices aside. Listen to what everybody says, make sure you’re a good board member by listening. Get out into the schools and see what’s going on,” said Minor.

Minor says safety is another huge issue. She feels it’s hard to draw new students into the district when families don’t feel safe.

Early voting for the Rockford Public School Board candidates is now open to the public before we head to the polls on April 4th.