Ryan Flynn –
One of Illinois College’s very own has been elected to the District 117 school board. Cori Wagner, who is the career counselor and employment advisor working in Career Services, is a new elect for this local school board, and she already has plans for what will be the next steps in local education.
“One of the goals that I have been pretty consistently mentioning throughout the campaign is in regards to the long term plans to complete the reboundary process within the District.” This reboundary project has been going on for the past few years and is due to the closing of a few elementary schools.
With creating new boundaries, this can cause some students to have to change schools or receive different bus route accommodations. “Changing schools can be a stressful situation for students and families, so my goal would be to make one move that would work for both the long and short term needs.”
When asked about her qualifications for the new position, Wagner said, “The combination of my educational background, community involvement and basic demographic information make me an interesting, if not ideal, candidate.”
She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English, psychology, and secondary education from Michigan’s Alma College and a Master’s in school counseling from Central Michigan University. She has also been involved with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Young Professional Network, and in the Education Division, where she has received firsthand looks at the schools in District 117.
However, Wagner was not immediately ready for the school board elections.
“I was approached four years ago about running, and I didn’t feel ready. I had only lived in the state for about three years at that point, so I didn’t know the things I needed to know about the area […]. But this past year when asked about running again, I felt much more prepared and much more in tune with some of the district’s current concerns and goals.”
Wagner will also provide keen insight, being from an education background, which is surprisingly not well represented on all school boards.
“I think there is a lot of value in having someone with an educational background serving on the board. In the case of this board in particular, it seems that there is quite a variety of people from business, education, and other backgrounds, and I think that, like in any group of people, variety is key. I believe that there is something to be said for someone who has been through a teacher training program and has spent time working in schools at various levels.”
Having a representative on the school board coming from a background in higher education is also a very important addition.
“Having spent my entire professional career in higher education, I am very aware of the level today’s high school graduates need to be striving to meet so they can be successful in an often competitive college admission process, as well as what it takes to get them on the right track to be career ready.”
In a time where the requirements for jobs and colleges are ever changing, having someone who is consistently helping others navigate that territory will be an asset to the district’s students.
We wish Cori the best in her new position; just as she has done at Illinois College, I am sure she will excel on the District 117 school board as well!
Ryan Flynn, from Jacksonville, Illinois, is a senior history major at Illinois College. Ryan is Opinions Editor for The Rambler, TRiO Social Committee President, and Class Chair for the Class of 2015.