Jon-Pierre Bradley, Valley View School District 365-U Board of Education election questionnaire

Valley View School District 365-U Board of Education election candidate Jon-Pierre Bradley

Full Name: Jon-Pierre Bradley

What office are you seeking? Valley View School District 365U Board Member

What is your political party? Democrat

What is your current age? 38

Occupation and Employer: Higher Education Administrator

What offices, if any, have you previously held? N/A

City: Romeoville/Plainfield (Unincorporated)

Campaign Website: N/A

Education: Ed.D. - Educational Leadership and Stewardship - University of St. Francis (Joliet)

M.B.A. - Saint Xavier University (Chicago)

B.A. - Organizational Communication - Saint Xavier University (Chicago)

B.A. - Political Science - Saint Xavier University (Chicago)

Community involvement: Was Youth Pastor for many years at the Zion Grove Baptist Church (Chicago, IL). Planned activities to engage, develop and support youth.

Currently Assistant Pastor of True Rhema Life Changing Ministries - Planned many community outreach activities including food drives, clothing and financial donations to community organizations and visits to such as Feed My Starving Children, Ronald McDonald House, The Greater Chicago Food Depository and Beyond.

Marital status/Immediate family: Married to the love of my life for more than 15 years. We have four beautiful and extremely intelligent girls together. Three of whom are current students in the Valley View School District. The forth will be joining her sisters in VVSD within the next 18 months.

Why are you running for office?

I am running because of and for my children. One of my daughters experienced what looked very much to be diversity and equity issues concerning the team fully representing the diversity of the the school and not selecting qualified students of color to be part of the varsity team. Many of the athletes of color were then relegated to being alternates. Upon hearing of this issue, my wife, daughter and I set up a meeting with the coaches, athletic director and assistant principal of the school to discuss how to move forward. The result of the conversation was not just an apology to my daughter and other students of color, but more importantly, a plan to create an advisory committee to discuss these issues and beyond was set in motion. In this moment progress was made and my daughter and other students who felt invisible were vindicated, choosing to continue to participate in the athletics program. All because someone listened and acted on the best interest of the students. Not vendettas or agendas.

During a recent Board meeting, one of the current members mentioned how taking a new look at an old issue helped to save the District nearly $1 million dollars. It appears to me that if new eyes on one old issue can save $1 million dollars, imagine the implications of a new perspective on a myriad of other issues faced by the Valley View School District. How much more can be done with new eyes, a new perspective and a new voice? I am running because I hope to be all of the above for our teachers, administrators, constituents and, most importantly, our children.

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

First, I have children in the district, enabling me to understand from an extremely important perspective the impact of the decisions made by the district board. Secondly, having worked with youth the majority of my adult life, I bring a perspective of understanding the importance of engaging students in their development and the ability to bring together community partners to accomplish goals.

I have worked in Higher Education for 16+ years, granting me a perspective in understanding the environment for which we are preparing our students. I would use this perspective to create a lasting impact on the forward momentum of students to prepare them for what’s next after graduation from VVSD.

Finally, having achieved a Doctoral Degree in Educational Administration uniquely equips me for a leadership role within our district, especially having earned my degree from an institution within our very own Will county.

I have the education, history of serving youth, working in education, children within the district, a passion for representing our teachers, students, educators and constituents as well as a passion to listen, learn and make our district even better. I believe that qualifies me for this very important role.

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

The National Democratic Training Committee has offered trainings for newcomers such as myself to learn how to run for office. I have virtually attended a number of their offerings to acclimate myself to the arduous process of running for office.

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

No. They are experts. I am a novice, learning from their experience and traversing the election process.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?

I believe fairness is subjective. I cannot personally speak for LGBTQ+ students. We must give them opportunity to express to us, the public and, more specifically, the board feelings about their treatment. I know that though some strides have been made, per the students (and educators, for that matter) with whom I have spoken, there is a long way to go towards equity, inclusion and building a greater sense of belonging within our schools for our students of all diverse walks of life, including LGBTQ+.

I look forward to hearing from these and as many students as possible from our district. I wish to take the time to understand their situations and truly see them not as a label, but as people who deserve to pursue their educational goals without the threat of discrimination or bullying. I see them and should I be elected, we will hear them. More than that, we will listen and learn.

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

I understand that there is a policy in place and that many strides have been taken to improve ethnic diversity within our educators as well as to show a concern for having all our students feel welcome. That being said, our efforts have not kept up with the evolution of our district. Our students need to see more changes in everything from athletics and arts to technology and involvement in decisions effecting how they are represented and included.

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

I believe the current board has made some good strides toward making our district one that is truly inclusive. However, there is still work to do which would enhance and advance on policies already in place.

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

I believe some teachers are paid fairly. Many, sadly, are not. It would be my goal to ensure a more fair pay scale as well as incentives for more teachers to join this noble profession.

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

I would like to do more research to determine why and how disparities exist. Then after meaningful conversation with all parties involved, make equitable changes to improve teachers pay.

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

I have no comment at this time.

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

I would research comparable salaries of Superintendents and work to ensure the compensation package is fair and competitive.

Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

I believe Superintendent Kinder has done good work for the district in a number of areas. I look forward to working with the rest of the Board to determine the administrative leadership structure of the district.

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

I believe sex education is an important part of teaching students about understanding their bodies and the changes it goes through during a pivotal time in their lives. That being said, there are aspects of sex that are best not discussed within the classroom. Some students should be counselled and while they should always feel that school is a safe place, teachers and administrators should be given better ways of referring students to professionals who specialize in these sensitive subjects.

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

However I felt, we have come to a place where we are emerging to live lives beyond covid. Perhaps with the prospect of having to deal with it just like the flu. We need to work to make sure we are better prepared should an emergency of such epic proportions ever rises again. My desire is to work with fellow board members enhance the response plan, should the district ever be forced to deal with this unfortunate circumstance again.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

Life is fragile and so, too, is peace.

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

I don’t think anyone feels they are taxed fairly. I hope to revisit what can be done to more effectively allocate tax funds. My desire is to determine areas where more savings can occur. This will hopefully lead to better taxation levels.

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

I would need to understand implicitly the reason for the need to raise taxes. Even then, I would be very conservative about any tax increase.

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

I would need to research the issue further. Working with fellow board members, if there is the ability to save tax payers funds, we will do so.

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

Yes. I am honored to be able to run and trust the will of the voters.

What is your position on open, transparent government?

I believe there is a time and place for everything. Yes, government should be open and transparent. However, timing and prudence are important. I believe in open, transparent and smart government.

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

Yes. Within reason and with attention to the timing of the information.

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