Full Name: Nicole Morrow
What office are you seeking? McHenry High School District 156 School Board Member
What is your political party? Republican
What is your current age? 44
Occupation and Employer: People Services Coordinator for Terra Technologies, LLC
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Current McHenry High School District 156 School Board Member
Campaign Website: https://www.facebook.com/McHenryHSBOECandidates?__cft__=AZVD3MRtbJ40tT72F9rpttdYWbvOBMSW9D-ftn6YmUZ8mTVpMjDPAzz3gbIoHZMn6SPDjJMVruOejVJaKTzcEx1yfCT9LOa7L7OKI1WAAVmH60KQ426GVYqTFgpU53K2a9QK-Zmt9aH_5D-WZ_B6mhJjCrSNT0_9Bc1DJcp9QDKkVfOUXN_fwOIrgjiOsb5ssQc_q4QGr4hpeIQAKery54jf&__tn__=-UC%2CP-y-R
Education: Crystal Lake Central High School Graduate with coursework completed at McHenry County College.
Community involvement: .
Marital status/Immediate family: Married with 3 children
Why are you running for office?
I’m running for re-election as a McHenry Community High School District 156 board member because there is more work to be done and I want to see it through completion.
Great strides have been made to upgrade and modernize our school facilities, by way of our award-winning addition at the Upper Campus, as well as the new HVAC, lighting, and technology throughout both campuses. Both theaters have been revamped and a whole new choral room was designed and built. Even with all those wonderful projects having been completed, there are still more in the works, and I want to see these through completion.
I want to see our already amazing educational opportunities expanded even further. Expansions that will provide our students with even more opportunities to get a head start on their next chapter in life, in whatever direction that may be; college, career, military, etc.
In addition, I want to ensure the supportive culture remains strong and intact within District 156 because outside of the actual education component, student support and safety is paramount.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
Prior to being an elected McHenry Community High School District 156 School Board Member, I was employed by the district for 10 years. I worked directly under the Chief Financial Officer so I have first-hand experience and knowledge of how District #156 functions via employment practices and contracts, budgets, levies, student programs, and many other facets of school governance.
Outside of my prior employment and current role as an elected board member, I am the parent of 3 McHenry graduates. Each of my children had different needs and high school experiences, which allowed me in turn to experience many different aspects of the educational offerings within District 156.
I have a unique perspective on District business from the scope of a prior employee, a parent, a current board member and McHenry resident. I understand the need to continue engaging our students with excellent educational opportunities in a supportive environment while ensuring District 156 remains fiscally responsible.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
My prior district employment provided me a wonderful background on the inner-workings and needs of District 156.
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
McHenry District 156 has a fantastically robust array of curricular offerings and career paths that have been curated in joint effort by our administrators and staff. While I wouldn’t propose any specific changes, I would encourage continued growth and expansion to ensure we remain providing students with the best education possible.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
Yes, I believe LGBTQ students are treated fairly. District 156 strives to provide support and encourages inclusivity of all students.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
District156 handles Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion very well. Committees made up of district board members, administrators, staff, and parents have been created to foster open dialogue about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. These committees allow the district a well-rounded view of the issues at hand and drive the creation of programs to provide a supportive, equitable, and inclusive culture.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
I believe our district needs to stay the course, as there is a great means of gathering information and feedback in place to make certain the culture remains supportive, equitable and inclusive.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
I believe our teachers are fairly paid under the negotiated collective bargaining agreement.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
If, at the recommendation of the negotiating committee, changes were proposed, I would be supportive if those changes allowed our district to continue to retain and hire quality teachers while ensuring we remain fiscally responsible to our community.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
I feel our superintendent is fairly compensated. His leadership, drive, passion and vision of District 156 has propelled us to become the phenomenal district we are today. His dedication to our students, staff, and community will continue to push our district to new heights.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
No, I would not.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
I wholeheartedly support our superintendent. He has been the catalyst for the growth and progress within our district. He joined District 156 with the goal of transforming it into a destination district. Wanting to see people move into our community because they want their children to attend our schools. Of which, he has done a remarkable job. He has been, and remains, committed to seeing our students receive the best education within the best facilities.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
As a secondary education institution, sex and health education are already part of our school curriculum. As such, our curriculum adheres to required standards and is not in need of changes.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
District 156 takes the safety and health of students and staff very seriously. Throughout the pandemic, with wildly fluctuating guidance and mandates, District 156 followed all McHenry County Department of Public Health, Illinois School Board of Education, and the State of Illinois pandemic related requirements.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned District 156 had already made great headway in addressing the needs in the ever-changing landscape of education. We were able to implement and roll out an online learning program using technology structures put in place before the pandemic occurred. This gives me confidence that District 156 continually seeks growth in varied educational opportunities for our students.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
McHenry property tax rates are driven by all municipal organizations, not exclusively schools. However, local property taxes are the largest source of revenue for our schools. As a school board member, it is my responsibility to ensure we persist in being good financial stewards of our fellow community members tax dollars.
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
Each year the district levies for new growth within McHenry, in order to capture those tax dollars. Other than supporting future levies based on the data available at that time, as a community member with a high tax bill myself, I would prefer not to raise taxes.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
If District 156 could continue to provide our students with a high quality education without compromising safety or facility integrity, I would be supportive of lowering taxes.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Yes, I will.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
Government entities are funded and run with tax dollars, therefore I believe tax payers have the right to know where their dollars are going, how those dollars are being used, as well as how the government entity functions. With very few exceptions, our community members have a right to know and see what is going on within District 156.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes, I support FOIA.