Full Name: Lauren Duddles
What office are you seeking? D303 School Board
What is your political party? Democratic
What is your current age? 46
Occupation and Employer: DeVry University, Student Support Advisor
What offices, if any, have you previously held? N/A
City: St. Charles
Campaign Website: https://www.laurenduddles.com
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science
Professional Educator’s License Grades 9-12, Social Studies
Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
Community involvement: Moms Demand Action
Marital status/Immediate family: Married, 2 daughters ages 14 & 16
Why are you running for office?
I want to serve my community and use my experience as a mother and teacher to advocate for students and use creative thinking and collaboration to solve problems.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I am a former educator with experience teaching at-risk students in an alternative classroom environment as well as teaching Social Studies to AP and honors students. I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Professional Educator’s License for grades 9-12 in Social Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, which studies focused on supporting students with Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
No, I have not sought or received any training to run for school board.
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
I would like to see proactive mental health practices added into a regular part of the school day.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
I think this question can only be accurately answered by LGBTQ students in D303. However, from talking with a small group of high school students, it seems like in some cases they are tolerated and in others strongly supported, depending on the school and teacher/s.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
We know that is could be better, and that is why the superintendent is working on an equity plan that will be implemented soon. We also know that another part of DEI, that is often left out, is belonging, Students should feel like they belong when they go to school. This needs to be a priority when the equity plan is implemented.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
We need to make sure that every student feels safe and comfortable when they go to school, and most importantly, they need to feel as if they belong. We need to make sure that the new equity plan ensures that for every D303 student.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
There are negotiations going on that will be completed before the next board members are elected. I hope that it will provide adequate pay for teachers now and in retirement. We have excellent teachers in D303, and adequate pay will help us to continue to hire and retain excellent teachers.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
If I am elected and there is another negotiation during my time as a board member, I would support making sure teachers are fairly compensated.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
It is in line with what other superintendents in the surrounding areas make.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
As of right now, I can’t think of any way I would make changes to it.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
Yes! I think he is doing a great job so far, and is leading D303 and the changes ahead with transparency and open communication.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
I have been reassured many times that there are no plans to implement new Sex Education standards. I agree that there is no reason to implement the new standards at this time.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I believe the decisions that were made were in the best interest to guarantee the safety of students and staff during the pandemic. Now 2 years out, we can see there were negative academic and social-emotional impacts.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned how important it was to spend time with family, and how important consistent routine and socialization is for everyone. Community is so important! I was so grateful for my neighbors, and family and friends doing little things to bring cheer during a difficult time. Now that we are two years out from the worst time, I think it’s important to reflect on the mental health of our students and staff that have been through so much.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
Everyone would like to pay lower taxes, including myself. In Kane county, we are second from the bottom in the level of taxes we pay, so I feel like we get a lot from our school district and community compared to other cities in Kane county.
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
The overcrowding in schools needs to be addressed. We can hopefully get creative with some short term solutions, but eventually we will need to redistrict and possible add another middle school and/or high school. In order to build new schools, we would need to raise taxes.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
It would be great to lower taxes and find ways to save money in the budget. Unfortunately, with our overcrowding issue, it doesn’t seem like there will be areas to cut in the near future.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I think we need to have open communication and transparency. I would like to see students at every school report to the board on a regular basis, and a group of parents and teachers do the same. I was very impressed with the listen, learn and return meeting, and would like those to continue, and open up other consistent ways of communication between students, parents, staff and the board.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes, I do support FOIA, and the citizens’ ability to freely access government records.