‘I feel just so much hope tonight’: New Oswego School Board members sworn-in; Marino elected president
By Shea Lazansky
The four new members of the Oswego School District 308 Board of Education were sworn into four-year terms on the board during a special meeting Monday evening. May 3, at Oswego East High School.
LaTonya Simelton, Eugene Gatewood, Jennifer Johnson and Dr. Donna Marino joined the board, following the certification of the April 6 election results. The four took seats vacated by Heather Moyer, Toni Morgan, Matt Bauman and Brent Lightfoot, who all chose not to seek re-election.
During the meeting, the newly-settled board also elected members to three leadership positions: president, vice president and secretary.
Marino was elected to the position of president by acclamation, meaning no other candidates were nominated. Marino succeeds Lauri Doyle.
Simelton was named vice president in a split vote, defeating board member Ruth Kroner in a split 4-3 ballot, with Gatewood, Simelton, Johnson and Marino voting for Simelton, and Swanson, Kroner and Doyle voting for Kroner.
Kroner was elected to the position of board secretary, after winning the seat through acclamation.
Following the meeting, Marino expressed optimism for the board and school district.
“It feels really good,” she said. “I feel just so much hope tonight, tonight to hear the word ‘historical’ and to see the board the way it looks tonight, and to know that there’s a lot of support behind me to be able to do this, it feels really fantastic.”
Community members also expressed their support for the board during the public comments portion of the meeting.
“We’re here on a historic night, and we need to move forward,” former board member Jared Ploger said. “I think the message that I wanted to bring tonight, from I’m hoping a very large segment of the community, is that this is brand new, and we’re going to move forward.
“We need to build on this...We are all here to support, and we want to see our Board of Education succeed.”
Kijuana Boulrece, a school district parent and a representative of Parents for Education and Global Success and the NAACP of DuPage County, echoed calls of celebration.
“The constituents of Oswego (School District 308) voted with their ballots for educational equity and diversity; representation,” Boulrece said, adding, “When we look at our current board, it represents our community. But we have more work to do - good work, good trouble. We believe...that this school board, for the next four years, will be solution-oriented, bridge builders, engage in courageous conversations, implement strategy with action that focuses on our children with accountability to ensure that district 308 is a place where all students can thrive.”
The Board of Education will next meet at 7:30 p.m., May 10, in the Community Room of Oswego East High School.