Who is Dana Wiley, Huntley School District 158′s new board member?

Wiley set to be sworn in to a divided board Thursday

A Northwest Herald file photo shows Martin Elementary School, part of Huntley School District 158, in November 2021 in Lake in the Hills.

Dana Wiley will be sworn in Thursday as Huntley School District 158′s newest board member after she was selected from a pool of nine applicants to fill the vacancy left by former board member Gina Galligar.

“I respect them for putting their names out there,” Wiley said of the other candidates.

This isn’t the first time she’s put her name in for the school board. She ran on a slate for the board in 2021 alongside current board Vice President Laura Murray, as well as Susan Hochmuth.

Murray was elected to the board last spring alongside Galligar, Michael Thompson and board president Andy Bittman.

During the 2021 campaign, the slate, known as 3Moms4Change, emphasized a return to full-time in-person schooling after periods of remote learning and, later, a switch to hybrid learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wiley said at the time that she wanted the school district to administer standardized tests in the fall and spring and extend the school year into the summer months for two years.

Wiley did not run for the board last spring, but she applied for the recent vacancy and was appointed. Now that she’s appointed, she said, her priorities for the board include increasing transparency.

Transparency is currently a hot topic in District 158. At Thursday’s regular board meeting, the board discussed making Freedom of Information Act requests public.

In response to a FOIA filing from the community group Inspire158, which then posted online all the resumes of the candidates for the vacancy that the group received from the district, Thompson said Thursday that it was “close to doxxing.”

Thompson did not name Inspire158 in his comments.

Doxxing refers to the practice of releasing personal or identifying information online, usually intended to harass an individual.

Wiley and candidate Kate Policheri said they did not feel doxxed by the group posting their resumes. The district redacted information such as home addresses and phone numbers before releasing the resumes.

Wiley said she is concerned about balancing transparency with protecting student and staff privacy, but she also is hoping to give the public more opportunities to connect with the board.

“It’s run for people and by people,” Wiley said.

Wiley also wants to bring her IT background to her work on the board. She works as a proposal manager, according to her resume and LinkedIn profile. District 158 is in the process of forming an artificial intelligence task force, and Wiley said her company uses AI.

Wiley believes AI can be a “complement” to learning but said it shouldn’t replace students’ thought processes or teachers teaching.

In Huntley, Wiley has been active in the Chesak-Martin PTA and in church and youth sports programs, according to a news release from the district announcing her appointment.

“I have a lot of relationships in the community,” Wiley said.

She is hoping to build on some of those connections not only with District 158 parents but also with community members who might not have children in the district. She said taxpayers “have a financial concern” in the district.

“I’m very interested to learn from their experience,” Wiley said about the more-tenured board members, adding that she is eager to “make some positive change” on the board.