- Elmhurst District 205 Candidate: Paul Guerino
- E-mail: PguerinoU205@aol.com
- Family: wife, Gerri; son, Greg, 38; daughter, Julie, 35; grandchildren, Trevor, 4, and Noah, 1; daughter-in-law, Jen, 37; and son-in-law, Ed, 35
- Education: Bachelor's degree in education, CTC, master's degree, urban geography, NIU
- Occupation: Teacher, science fair judge, Field Museum Volunteer, manufacturer of microscope strew slides for geology workshops in, at this point, six states, and geology workshop presenter
- Previous office: Republican committeeman
- Applicable experience: 45 years teaching experience, high school science department chairman DOD school in Taipei, elementary science coordinator in Unit District 205 schools, past president SCB Catholic School Board
None of my answers are theoretical. They are based on my experiences.
What is the primary reason you are running for School Board?
I want to restore the positive attitude in this community that existed when I first started teaching here in 1967. We have the ability to raise this district to the same level of excellence it held in the period of 1930-1960, when York, Proviso, Oak Park-River Forest and New Trier were the four best high schools in all of the state.
What will be your priority if elected?
To re-establish the positive relationships and honest communication between all the stakeholders in this community.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I am the only candidate that has 45 years teaching experience. I can bring a perspective that can see through the educational jargon that keeps on popping up with new vocabulary for old ideas. I am not impressed with paper credentials. My father used to ask people who boasted of their boxing skills, "Who did you fight? Who did you beat? Who did you train?" Ask Jim Ryan about that quote. It translates to, "Talk is cheap."
How long have you lived in Elmhurst?
I have lived in Elmhurst for 40 years. I built my home in 1969 on the highest lot I could find, according to the Army Corps of Engineers map, that would not flood according to the 100- and 500-year floods. It was an advantage to have been a geology TA in college.
What's your favorite thing about Elmhurst District 205?
The fact I have been able to watch my students grow into successful adults with their own families. I have seen my students graduate from West Point, work in New York on the Stock Exchange and even teach at Elmhurst College. I even have a student that employs her father in her funeral business.
What is the biggest problem in Elmhurst District 205?
"A failure to communicate." Going back to the swimming pool fiasco, the property at 162 S. York and the necessity to keep on adding classrooms piecemeal to Emerson in a flood area, the taxpayers have become very skeptical.
Do you think morale among teachers and staff is low, and if so, how, specifically, do you plan to improve it?
Morale will only be restored when the superintendent leaves the comfort of a corner office at 162 S. York and spends time in the classrooms, teachers' lounges and PTA meetings, listening and responding to what is heard and seen in a positive manner.
Do you think District 205’s reputation has been eroded over the past couple of years? If so, what caused that and how, specifically, do you plan to improve it?
The reputation is low because the press only talked about all the really wonderful things that were going on and ignored as cranks the people who complained. Teachers that complained had their lives made miserable by principals that didn't want the apple cart upset. Two of the last three superintendents took things really personally. One had really thin skin and was vindictive in the way employees were treated. The list goes on. Talk to a teacher that trusts you.
What “best practices” would you like to incorporate, either from previous District 205 administrators or from other school districts, to improve curriculum and student achievement?
Best practices come from within. When a mill finds a new way to get more boards out of a log, that technique can be applied to every lumber mill. Children are people, not lumber. Students at Providence St. Mel High School all graduate and go to four-year colleges. Go to their Web site. Would you want York to be run their way? Best practices means the best for everyone. Teachers know what has worked for them, their students and their parents. Let the teachers do what they do best—teach. Be honest. Every school and class is different.
Do you think budget cuts are going to solve the district’s fiscal problems for the long term? What else can be done going forward to maintain a healthy budget?
The after-school fee plan that has been enacted translates into pay-to-play. We are facing continued shortfalls from the state but are bound to support all things that are mandated. Economic plans that are proposed in the future must be made with the unpleasant knowledge that Springfield will be of little or no help. We have to improve our housing occupancy. I have already suggested a partnership with banks, brokers, the schools and the city to make loans available so these employees can live and spend in town.