Full Name: Molly Gerke
What office are you seeking? School Board
What is your political party? N/A
What is your current age? 37
Occupation and Employer: Substitute Teacher: Grundy/Kendall ROE
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Trustee: Village of Plattville
Education: BA in Special Education
Minor in Music Education
Certified Special Education Consultant
Community involvement: Volunteer for the United Plattville Association
Member of the Citizens Advisory Committee Y115
Marital status/Immediate family: I am married to my husband, Eric. We have three children who attend Yorkville Schools: YHS, YIS, and CCGS
Why are you running for office?
I am running for school board to serve my community in a capacity that is worthwhile, supporting our teachers and staff and ensuring the students of 115 receive an exceptional education in a safe and welcoming environment. Being a parent of three children in a wide age range (K-11th grade) gives me the unique opportunity to have interaction with several different buildings and staff within the district. My oldest daughter has attended Y115 schools since First Grade and has been involved in 115 athletics since 5th grade. I am invested in this community and this school district and want to ensure not only my children, but all students have access to an equitable education that meets their needs, challenges them, and prepares them for entering the workforce or continuing their education at the post-secondary level.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I have over 15 years experience in the classroom as a former Paraprofessional and Special Education Teacher, and I am currently a full-time Substitute Teacher and Special Education Consultant. I was an active member of the union while working as a teacher. I have worked with several different age levels across numerous school districts. I understand the inner workings of school buildings from an employee perspective and a parent perspective.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
I have not received any formal training to be a member of the school board, but I have taken the Open Meetings Act training as a village trustee. I understand that all new board members will attend training classes and am looking forward to that.
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
I would like to see Y115 refocus on the basics of education; focusing less on test scores and more on creating life-long learners. It is important to make sure we are setting our students up for success and preparing all of them for a bright future.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
From what I have seen and heard, I believe they are treated fairly. If elected as a board member I will instill the expectation that all students and staff are treated with mutual respect. This is very important to me.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
I believe Yorkville strives very hard to make all students feel welcomed and included.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
I believe it is important to continually assess policies and instruction to ensure we are providing the best education for the students of 115. As a board member I will consistently watch as situations in our district change and help draft policies to address these changes. I believe our school board members have done a great job with this and I am hoping to pick up where they left off.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
No. We lose teachers to neighboring school districts who are offering more money. As a board member I would like to work with the Superintendent, Administration and staff to find ways to create a more competitive compensation package.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
Yes. We need to ensure we are hiring and retaining quality educators. In order to do this, as a board member I would work with the Superintendent, Administration, and staff to be sure we have a competitive compensation package that not only attracts exceptional new hires, but also retains tenured teachers that continue to provide quality education services to our students.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
As a growing school district with “growing pains” we want to attract the top talent in the area and hope that our compensation matches that talent.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
Not at this time.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
Yes, I do. As a board member, I will be interested in open dialogue and discussing issues that need to be addressed from time to time. I do think our superintendents are working hard to do what is best for students.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
The current standards have just been passed. I am currently reviewing them. There are some things I do have concerns about, and there are others that I think are age appropriate.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I think Yorkville did a great job. We were the only school district in the Chicagoland area that allowed our parents to make the choice for their student’s learning. Families could choose in person learning, hybrid learning, or remote learning. Many other districts followed our lead. This was a common sense approach that I believe the district made the right call on.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned that even when we were shut down in the Spring of 2020, Yorkville as a community banned together to make sure our students still had access to education, food, and social interaction. The schools provided lunches for pick up, there were drive through homecoming parades, and families came together in creative ways to keep their students engaged and give them the opportunity to socialize. This proved to me that Y115 is a great place to raise a family.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
Yorkville is a growing community. A lot of people I talk to know that their taxes will be higher than surrounding communities, but are willing to accept the level due to the higher end services we receive. I believe our schools, police, park and recreation, fire departments, and community outreach programs are top notch. Yes, I think the tax rate is appropriate.
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
Without having reviewed the budget and understanding where the money is going, I cannot answer this question. However, it is an unfortunate reality to want to hire and maintain quality educators without thinking about where that compensation will come from.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
Again, without having reviewed the full budget I cannot answer this question.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I believe it is extremely important for our government agencies to be open and transparent.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes I do.