William Pender, New Lenox School District 122 BOE election questionnaire

Election 2024

Full Name: William Pender

What office are you seeking? New Lenox 122 School Board

What is your political party? Independent

What is your current age? 50

Occupation and Employer: Superintendent/Principal at Lisbon CCSD 90

What offices, if any, have you previously held? I have served on the New Lenox 122 School Board for the past 8 years with the first 4 years serving as board president.

City: New Lenox

Education: I currently hold a bachelor’s degree in social science with a minor in secondary education from St. Xavier University. I also completed an endorsement to teach high school Math. I hold a master’s degree in educational administration from Governors State University and an MBA in human resources, also from Governors State University. Finally, I earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Francis.

Marital status/Immediate family: I have volunteered to coach my daughters’ softball teams when they were younger, and I also have volunteered with Make A Wish.

Marital status/Immediate family: Married for 22 years to my wife Jen and we have 3 daughters, Audrey age 19, Caroline age 18, and Sophie age 15.

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for reelection because I feel that my time on the board has served the district well. I bring a solid education background and my work experience allows me to offer a unique perspective to the daily happenings of the teachers and administrators in the district. I got into education to help kids and the board is a nice extension of that. Finally, I hope to continue to protect the taxpayers’ interests. The best way to protect the value of your house is to make sure the schools are top notch and are properly funded and staffed.

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

I would like to believe that I would be a quality choice for this position for multiple reasons. First, my education and experience as a teacher and administrator can allow me to offer a unique perspective to the daily happenings and problems that schools face. Second, my experience on the board, I believe, has served the district well. I’ve always tried to maintain a level head and even composer, even when I had been yelled and sworn at and offered police escorts to my car after meetings.

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

In addition to my work experience, which I believe is excellent training, I have completed the required professional development leadership training and Open Meetings Act training through IASB. Additionally, I have attended the IASB, IASA, IASBO joint annual conference for multiple years attending workshops while there. I’ve earned Master Board Member Level 2 status. Finally, I attended the IASA conference this past September for additional professional development.

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

Not at this time.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?


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

I feel New Lenox does an excellent job of ensuring all students feel welcome and works for each student to get an excellent education.

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

At this time, I would say no but the district should always be sure to continue to assess the Social Emotional Learning to ensure each student feels safe and welcome.

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

Our teachers’ salaries are competitive but definitely not the highest nor the lowest.

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

Possibly but only if it was to the benefit of the teachers.

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

The district superintendent’s compensation is comparable to other districts of our size.

Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?


Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

Absolutely, positively, 100%. Dr. Motsch entered the position in 2020, the worst time to be in education in the history of our state and has done an excellent job. During the 2020-2021 school year, we were in person about 80-85% of the days while many districts were not in at all. She has worked with her team to ensure the learning loss from Covid is addressed and, hopefully, not long lasting.

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

I do not feel they should. That is an area that I feel should be left more to local control.

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

I felt our district did as good of a job as was allowed by the state. As previously stated, during the 2020-2021 school year, we were in person about 80-85% of the year which was much more than many other local districts. Additionally, the district has worked to ensure the learning loss, due to Covid, is addressed and, hopefully, limited. Our district from top to bottom was very flexible and creative in finding ways to best educate our kids during those unprecedented times.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

Prior to the pandemic, I had previously thought that online classes were a viable option in education. I no longer feel that is true. The pandemic taught us that in person learning cannot be matched by an online class.

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

Unfortunately, the way our state funds public education puts the ultimate burden on the local taxpayers and the schools are almost always the highest portion of the tax bills. As far as taxed fairly locally, I would say yes but from a national perspective, I’d say no because of the way Illinois funds education.

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

At this point, our district maintains strong fund balances through the annual tax levy.

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

At this point, I would only support that if the state decided to change the way it funds education. New Lenox currently provides an excellent education for our kids, and I would not want cuts to programs or services. Having properly funded schools is the best way to protect the value of your home.

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

Of course.

What is your position on open, transparent government?

Government should always be open and transparent. Our meetings are broadcast on a local television channel and almost every document we have at board meetings can be assessed by any person who asks.

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

Of course.