After an unprecedented year of debate over distance vs. in-person learning due to Covid-19, eleven candidates have filed to run for four open seats on the seven member Barrington 220 Board of Education (BOE). This also comes after overwhelming voter approval in March of a $147 million bond referendum to improve schools and enhance educational opportunities in Barrington 220.
Current BOE President Penny Kazmier is not seeking reelection after sixteen years on the board. Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Mike Shackleton are running again, Gavin Newman is not and the three school board members remaining in their positions are Barry Altshuler, Leah Collister-Lazzari and Angela Wilcox.
To help inform our decisions on election day, we’ve reached out the list of candidates which, in addition to incumbents Sandra Ficke Bradford and Mike Shackleton, includes Thomas J. Mitoraj, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, Jonathan Matta, Erin Chan Ding, Katie Karam, Malgorzata McGonigal, William Betz, Robert Windon and Steve Wang. The election is coming up on April 6, 2021.
Find all published profiles at 365Barrington.com/220BOE.
Today, we’re excited to learn more about Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, a long-time Barrington resident, mother-of-two and former Barrington 220 student. You will NEVER GUESS one of Lauren’s favorite things to do in Barrington. It’s one we’ve never thought of before. When the weather warms up, we can’t wait to check it out!
Meet the Candidate: Lauren Berkowitz Klauer
365: Where is your original home and family? What brought you to Barrington? How long have you lived here and what do you love about our community?
I am from Barrington. My family moved here when I was two years old. I went to Grove Avenue Elementary, Station Middle School and then graduated from Barrington High School. After BHS, I went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and then downtown Chicago for work for 8 years. We moved back to Barrington 9 years ago when my daughter turned one and I was pregnant with my son. My parents still live here so it is wonderful to be near them and amazing for my kids to grow up with their grandparents so close! I love Barrington. It was such a special, tight-knit community to grow up in and I see it even more now raising my own kids here.
365: How would you describe your experience to-date with learning in Barrington 220?
My children go to Hough Street School. My daughter is ten years old and is in fourth grade and my son is eight and in third. We mention on the regular how very lucky we are to be in the Hough community. The faculty is so attentive and committed to the students. While very focused on education, they also put a lot of time into social and emotional learning. Practicing kindness, looking out for fellow students and celebrating differences between them. I am utterly impressed with the kids and the ways in which they communicate and understand one another. It’s a skill that will last them a lifetime and I’m thankful for the emphasis on it.
I’m also very thankful to have gone to school in Barrington. When I attended (as is still the case today), District 220 schools were competitive and reputable. Hard work was necessary. Sports, fine arts and extracurricular activities were some of the best in the area and community pride was abundant!
365: What is motivating you to run for school board now and why are you a good fit for the role?
When I was growing up, my dad was a three-term elected school board member and served as President for some of his time. I admired his commitment to improving the district, supporting Barrington’s teachers and faculty, and his honest concern for the students. I thought it was quite the undertaking but that it was an amazing thing to give his time to serve the community in which my parents chose to raise us and leave it a little better off than when he started.
That said, I’ve planned to run for the school board for years now. I waited until my kids felt old enough, my employment situation allowed me the time and my husband agreed to the undertaking! I am not entering this election lightly, as I know the commitment of time and energy that goes into to serving on the school board. I am eager to serve. I am level-headed and I am not running because of one issue. I think that, along with my knowledge and love of Barrington, makes me great fit!
365: What are your short-term goals for Barrington 220? What are your longer-term goals for our school district?
Right now, there is A LOT happening in the District. I guess shortest-term goal would be to get the kids back in school full time while carefully considering the health and safety of students and faculty. I also think encouraging trust and unity within the community is important.
Long term, I think it’s important that we remain proactive and not reactive to strengthening our curriculum and improving our schools and facilities. We must remain competitive and set the standard for excellence instead of trying to “keep up” with our neighbors. I think we need to focus on keeping our entire community informed when it comes to the needs of the district and also the wins we experience. Barrington pride runs deep. We need to celebrate that!
365: What are your biggest concerns for our students and our school district today?
While my experience in the district has been stellar, I’ve hear from many parents with high school students that there is a lack of attention and resources for kids that fall in the middle of the pack. If kids aren’t the best (AP students) it’s easy for them to drift and possibly fall through the cracks. Because I’ve heard this from quite a few people on separate occasions, It concerns me and I think we need to pay that some serious attention to find a solution.
365: What do you think are the biggest opportunities we have for our students/school district today?
There is no denying that our kids have access to outstanding resources, educational and leadership opportunities within our district. We are fortunate to have the support of so many people in our community, both within the 220 faculty and surrounding it. The entrepreneurial incubator program is a perfect example of that. There was a need for the program and our neighbors volunteered time, funding and knowledge to make it happen. It truly is incredible.
365: In your view, what should our priorities be as a community in choosing the new school board members?
I think it’s important that the community not focus on one issue when voting for school board members. The climate is hot right now with kids out of school, e-learning, private school attendance, etc. While casting an angry vote may feel good, this virus will pass and there will be a hundred other issues at hand. I’d say to vote for someone you can trust to vote for you. Someone who will listen, weigh all the factors and vote with the best interest of the students at heart always.
365: What’s at risk with the wrong leadership in place?
Serving as a school board member should be just that: service. It should be a commitment to learn each and every side of issues at hand before making decisions. In my opinion, personal agendas or preconceived notions have no place on the board and can hinder progress.
365: Any favorite words to live by? From whom and why?
Right now my favorite words to live by are:
“Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That will take you all the way home.” -Glennon Doyle
365: What’s one of your favorite things to do or places to be in Barrington, with whom and why?
So weird but one of may favorite Barrington things to do is sit up on the rooftop patio at Shakou at dusk and watch the bats fly out of the Catlow chimney. I’m not sure why I love it (I am not a fan of bats) but I just do!
Stay tuned for more Barrington 220 Board of Education candidate profiles in the weeks ahead. We’ve reached out to all twelve of them and are publishing profiles in the order in which we receive. (Click here to learn more about Thomas Mitoraj.) Our schools are a big part of what gives Barrington its unique character and we appreciate all who are willing to help lead the way on behalf of Barrington families, children and young adults.
Formed in 1973, Barrington Community Unit School District 220 educates over 9,000 students at one high school, two middle schools (grades 6-8), eight elementary schools, and one early childhood center. District 220 encompasses 72 square miles in 4 counties and covers 12 villages: all of Barrington, Lake Barrington, Tower Lakes; and portions of Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, Deer Park, Fox River Grove, Port Barrington, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, North Barrington, and South Barrington. Learn more at Barrington220.org.