Hacks Newsletter Week 167 – Women’s History Month Feature: School Board President Emily Rose


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Women’s History Month Feature: School Board President Emily Rose 

Educational leaders come in the form of heroic elementary school teachers as well as District Superintendents. They also come in the form of VOLUNTEER elected officials like school board members and their leaders, School Board Presidents.
As our third #womenshistorymonth feature, I’m highlighting my District 36 School Board President, Emily Rose. The job can be thankless and is borderline full time, albeit volunteer/unpaid, so you must be mission-driven to take it on. Here js why Emily does so:
AR: Why did you first run for the D36 school board?
ER: I believe in civic engagement, local governance, and the power of public education for all children. So, when I moved back to the community I grew up in as an adult, I began to follow the decisions of my local school board. When the opportunity presented itself to offer my time to our local government, I decided to accept the offer to interview through our caucus system for a seat on the Winnetka Public School Board. It was an honor to be slated for my first term in 2018 and officially elected in 2019. 
AR: Why did you choose to be the D36 school board president?
ER: I don’t know if I chose the office or if the office chose me. That said, I knew I wanted to lead. I have always led. I have led sports teams, corporate teams, my family (which is a team) so the idea of leading a governing board felt right. I find there is a lot of overlap in the leadership roles I have had in the past and being board president. On a team, you must ensure all voices are heard, that the group keeps the ‘why” in the forefront and that consensus is eventually achieved, but that often requires discussion and debate. That is true as the school board president. You must work to provide structure and opportunity for rich discussion and debate with appropriate inputs so decisions or next steps can be identified, but always keeping the students at the heart of decision making. 
AR: What is the most challenging aspect of the work? Most gratifying?
ER: There are a lot of challenging moments, but for me, because I believe deeply in the importance of public education is how long it can take to see systematic change in public education. Most gratifying is easy, it is all about the students and seeing them love their education experience. 
AR: Why are you choosing to run for a second 4-year term and what do you hope to accomplish in so doing?
ER: In the Winnetka Public Schools we are at the midpoint in an ambitious strategic plan, we just passed a large capital improvements referendum which will invest in critical infrastructure and education improvements in all five of our buildings and as a community of learners we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic both academically, socially and as a collective community. I feel a great sense of dedication to the work and believe my governance acumen I have developed in the last four years along with deep knowledge of our key initiatives makes me the top candidate to continue to serve. I care so deeply for the community, the school, the students of today and tomorrow along with our staff. That is what makes the volunteer work worth it!
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There will be no end to the curveballs that life throws. As soon as you feel comfortable, another setback or new challenge will arise. Alyssa Rapp is driven to help people like her—the doers, those who keep swinging—seek to succeed in both life and career. Every challenge is an opportunity, are you making the most of yours?

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