District 65 elects Soo La Kim as vice president, prioritizes labor management and collaboration partnerships

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Daily file photo by Patrick Svitek

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education. Former Board President Anya Tanyavutti stepped down Monday night.

Kara Peeler, Senior Staffer

At the first meeting of the school year, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education elected a new vice president and discussed best practices for employer-worker relationships. 

Welcoming a new vice president 

The board unanimously elected member Soo La Kim as vice president at Monday’s meeting. Kim first joined the board in April 2020. 

“I am humbled by my board colleagues’ confidence in me, and I will do my best to support and to draw inspiration from my predecessors in this role,” Kim said.

After former Board Vice President Marquise Weatherspoon resigned in August, the board began looking for a new vice presidential candidate to serve until the April 2023 election.

Board President Sergio Hernandez, the district’s first Latine board president, said he looks forward to working with Kim in her new position on “one of the most diverse boards in the North Shore” and thanked her for stepping up to the responsibility.

With Witherspoon’s resignation and Kim’s new position, the board has an open seat. Hernandez invited candidates to apply to fill the seat by Sept. 2 at 4 p.m. with an anticipated appointment at the Sept. 19 board meeting.

Discussing collaboration and labor management partnerships for success 

Ann Cummins Bogan, an educational consultant who partners with District 65, presented ways to optimize employer-worker relationships and collaborations in the district and discussed how strengthening these can improve student life. 

At the meeting, Bogan introduced her core ideas that she said make for successful employer-worker collaboration: common vision of excellence, innovative and responsive strategies, data-driven decision-making, impact monitoring, accountability through shared commitments and robust information systems.

“The big reason we want to set up these labor management partnerships is because of the impact we can have on the day-to-day experiences in the schools that we serve,” Bogan said.

She mentioned the potential for improved student performance, reduced teacher turnover in high-poverty areas and increased cross-school innovation and learning.

Bogan said high quality employee-worker partnerships have strong collaboration, discretion, goal alignment, psychological safety and shared decisions.

“We have to just build these structures to make sure that they’re solid enough so that when we go in to really try to influence what’s happening in the buildings in the schools and the classrooms, we have committed to a strong foundation,” Bogan said.

She said that involves a systems approach to continuous improvement, ranging from district leadership teams to site leadership teams all the way to professional learning communities.

The district’s next steps for the 2022-23 school year include determining the best meeting structures, developing a district-level leadership team, establishing a formal communication plan to promote information flows, developing strategies to support principals and union-building representatives in site-level collaboration and refining the Educator Appraisal Process.

“Whatever we can do to get folks in a room and to coordinate efforts at a systemic level, to meet the needs of all families and align all the work around the equity vision,” Hernandez said. “You are laying the groundwork to creating those spaces so community members and all stakeholders can sit at the table and really have a say and skin in the game.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @karapeeler

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