The CCSD21 board of education, during its monthly meeting on April 27, recognized a departing board member, welcomed a new one, and decided on its new structure for its next legislative session.
Stacy Hipsak Goetz, who joined the board in 2019, chose not to seek re-election. In her farewell address, Hipsak Goetz highlighted how no one likely anticipated the challenges “thrown at us over the last four years, which tested our resilience, our humanity at times, and our sense of community.”
“They continue to affect us in different ways, but I’m proud of the way we approached it all,” she added. “While there are many things we may do differently, I take comfort in the knowledge that we approached each situation with the needs of our students, their families, the staff and the community top of mind.”
Phil Pritzker, former board president, credited Hipsak Goetz for “adding significantly” over her term to the board’s deliberations, the general culture, and the “success of what we’ve been able to do over these past four years.”
The board also welcomed Dagmara Kalinowski as its newest board member. Kalinowski, who currently serves as senior manager of communications planning and strategy at Discover Financial Sciences in Northbrook, will serve a four-year term.
The meeting marked Pritzker’s potentially last time in the president’s seat, as he handed over the gavel to new Board President Debbi McAtee. The board voted 6-1 to confirm McAtee in the new role, Bill Harrison to assume the vice presidency, and Jessica Riddick to continue as secretary.
“The last six years have been unprecedented in many ways, it’s been exceptional in many ways,” Pritzker said. “As we take a few minutes to pause here, I think it’s good to understand to see and remember some of the things we as a board, we as a total organization, were able to accomplish.”
These accomplishments included filling two board vacancies, hiring Dr. Michael Connolly as superintendent of schools, a referendum drive that received more than 73% approval from the community – “the highest in the state of Illinois for any district that went for any type of referendum to their communities” – adopting and implementing a strategic action plan, and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.