Jennifer Read, Richmond-Burton High School District 157 Board of Education election questionnaire

Election 2024
Richmond-Burton High School District 157 Board Of Education candidate Jennifer Read

Full Name: Jennifer Read

What office are you seeking? RBCHS-157 School Board Member

What is your political party? Independent

What is your current age? 71

Occupation and Employer: Business journalist

What offices, if any, have you previously held? I have served on the RBCHS District 157 school board for several years.

City: Spring Grove

Campaign Website: N/A

Education: BA, Humanities, Shimer College

MA, Teaching of English, Northwestern University

JD, University of Denver

Community involvement: St. Vincent de Paul, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Spring Grove

Marital status/Immediate family: Widow, 10 children

Why are you running for office?

I believe the proper education of our kids is the most important thing a community does to create a better future. I have background and training in both the business world, the legal system, and education and I want to make a positive contribution to this community. Plus I love being around young people!

What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?

I practiced family law in Colorado for a short time; I studied curriculum at Northwestern; and my business career in the STEM field gives me a solid background for supporting our local high school administration. Plus I raised 10 kids, including several that went to Richmond Burton Community High School. While I was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, I have lived in other parts of the country so I have perspective on the strengths of Illinois schools.

Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?


Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?

I have been working with Dr. Lind and Dr. Enright to continuously improve the Richmond Burton curriculum in accordance with the Board Goals, which include adding Dual Credit courses, and more opportunities for internships with local businesses. Another goal is to improve the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, which is in the process of being implemented.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?


What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?

We are in discussions with Administration to enhance our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program, including staff training. I and especially worried about bullying. Social media and the isolation from the pandemic have caused some concerns about the mental health of our students. DEI is a part of that because it’s ingrained in the culture of the school. Our Board is committed to ensuring every student has a positive educational experience at RBCHS.

Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?

We can always get better at ensuring all students feel connected to the school.

Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?

I believe they are.

Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?

I would have to do more research on that topic as I have not had experience in those negotiations yet.

What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?

I believe it is fair and aligned with that of other districts.

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. Our superintendent is very competent and has done a good job leading the district through some challenging times.

Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.

Our school follows the guidelines of IASB. The teachers inform the parents and get opt-in permission to teach about sexuality.

What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?

I was on the board during the pandemic and we did a good job of managing all the competing interests.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

Politics have no business in decision-making about community health. We need to trust each other, communicate thoroughly and do what the experts agree on as much as possible, knowing that sometimes the science isn’t completely black and white when serious and unprecedented threats are occurring in real time.

Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?

Yes, I believe we pay necessary taxes and they are spent wisely.

Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?

Our elementary school buildings need improvements. Our high school is planning some capital improvements as well, for maintenance and upgrades to the library.

Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?

No, I would not want to cut programs.

Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?


What is your position on open, transparent government?

I am committed to following all the Open Meetings rules and guidelines, as I have throughout my board tenure.

Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?

Yes I do support that and we respond to every request we get.