John Martin, D65 board candidate, talks improving communication and transparency between board and community


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

John Martin. Martin is running for election to the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education.

Divya Bhardwaj, Assistant City Editor

John Martin, senior manager at Chicago-based company CSC Corptax, helps corporations implement tax accounting software. Now, he hopes to bring that expertise to the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education. 

My job is trying to do things more efficiently, more effectively — cheaper, faster, easier,” Martin said. “I think those skills translate quite well to what would be required at the board level.”

Martin, who has two children in District 65 elementary schools, is running for his first term as a board member. His platform focuses on increasing district enrollment and improving transparency and communication between administration, teachers and parents. 

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th), a neighbor of Martin’s with children of similar ages, said he would appreciate having Martin’s presence on the board.

“He’s a person who wants to be solution-oriented,” Suffredin said. 

Martin said he hopes to facilitate collaboration between the board, educators and families. He said he has heard from teachers that they feel a lack of support from administration and added that improving communication channels between administrators and teachers could help counteract that. 

Increasing retention of skilled educators would be one of his priorities if elected. He said he appreciates the “amazing” teachers his children have had, one of whom recently left the district. 

“The face of our district to the kids is the teachers,” Martin said. “That’s our greatest asset, so I want to make sure they stick around.”

Martin’s platform also includes building on “culturally inclusive education.” He said it’s important for students to learn about cultures within the community and in other areas of the world. 

In terms of current events, Martin said including the Black Lives Matter movement in curricula is “critical” and “a very interesting thing to present to our kids as a movement that’s out there.”

Martin said he is in favor of an “anti-racist” approach to education, but he thinks communicating with parents is an essential part of implementing change in curricula. 

“What I also want to ensure is that we’re doing things to keep our enrollment of our students here in Evanston,” he said. “Some implementation approaches have polarized some people.”

Martin said he had previously worked to connect with Evanston’s children and parents through youth soccer. 

As the commissioner of Evanston American Youth Soccer Organization between February 2021 and July 2022, he helped ensure its return after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We were able to pull together 10 months worth of work in two months and get kids back out on the field,” Martin said. 

Though he no longer serves as commissioner, Martin said he appreciates the lasting connections he’s made with the community, including with Evanston resident Kristin Huzar.

Huzar said Martin facilitated AYSO registration after the deadline passed for three children from refugee families she worked with last year. 

“He just bent over backwards to help me,” Huzar said. “He made sure that all three kids were placed on teams. He made sure that all three kids got scholarships.”

She said she has “great faith” in Martin’s leadership abilities if he were elected to the Board of Education. 

As a board member, Martin said he would work to establish effective conversation and transparency.

“I really just want to be able to return a level of civility to communications and be respectful of our community if they have a question,” he said.

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