Highlights from the May 10, 2021
Lake Forest High School District 115 Board of Education Meeting
President’s Report
In her first report as new Board President, Jenny Zinser welcomed the four Board members sworn in on May 4. They are incumbent Sally Davis and newly elected members David Burns, Dr. Marcus Schabacker, and Dr. John Venson. At the same May 4 meeting, Ms. Zinser was elected Board President, Ms. Davis was elected Vice President, and Dewey Winebrenner was elected Secretary.

“We have exciting and challenging opportunities ahead of us as we are truly a District in motion,” said Ms. Zinser. She noted the recent hiring of incoming Superintendent Dr. Matthew Montgomery; the selection of a new LFHS Principal, Dr. Erin B. Lenart, new Board members; planning for a return to full-time, in-person learning in the fall; “and all of this upon the backdrop of a community still healing following a year of uncertainty and division during the pandemic.” 

“We have work to do,” she said, “and I’m confident that we are up to the task.”

“With new Board members,” she added, “come new ideas, strategies, and solutions. Our Board represents a diverse cross-section of our communities, which allows us to better understand the issues we face from a variety of perspectives. 

“Our commitment is to listen for understanding and to do everything we can to further the shared goals of our community, keeping the growth and well-being of our students as the center of everything we do.” 

Board members, she added, are often referred to as “trustees” because the “public places its trust in us as stewards of the talent and treasure of our school District.”

“As your trustees we carry out the truest form of representative government in our democracy, volunteer public service, to preserve the core of our society, which is public education.

“I thank each one of my fellow Board members for investing themselves in this important work and I thank our Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood school community for your trust in our efforts. “

Superintendent’s Report
Interim Superintendent Dr. Constance Collins introduced student leaders Will Elliott and Erica O’Neil who updated the Board on recent extracurricular highlights and sports team successes, upcoming AP exams, and end-of-year events including prom, which takes place on the LFHS front lawn on Saturday, May 22, with 550 students expected to attend. Students are to arrive in groups of 90, with prom lasting about 2.5 hours for each group.

Principal Dr. Chala Holland reminded the Board that graduation is at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, on the LFHS front lawn and shared information about Scouts Rock, an experimental rock-painting activity during lunch periods on May 21 being done as part of National Mental Health Awareness Month.

Reopening Report
Dr. Collins and Director of Safety and Security Lane Linder provided an overview of COVID-19 data; reported on the May 5 Pfizer vaccination clinic at LFHS, which drew more than 200 people; and shared information on upcoming Pfizer vaccination dates for those 12 and over, pending full federal approval of vaccinations for that age level. In a livestreamed event on May 19, Dr. Collins will host Northwestern Medicine Pediatrician
Dr. Michael Bauer to discuss the vaccines for children 12 and older. With just weeks left in the school year, and events such as prom and graduation planned, Dr. Collins urged community members to help LFHS “finish strong” by complying with health and safety measures. 

Looking ahead to fall reopening, Dr. Holland provided the latest information as planning continues, including expected ongoing safety measures and the ways the District will handle extracurricular activities and provide students support in the classrooms. She noted that, despite much speculation, the District is not assuming “learning loss” has occurred. “Not all of our students have struggled with remote learning,” she said, pointing to students who have thrived with increased autonomy and the removal of social factors that sometimes interfere with learning. “We have not,” she added, “noticed an extreme shift in learning for our students or in their grades. Learning differently does not necessarily mean that students are learning less.” 

Principal Search Update
Ahead of the BOard vote on Dr. Lenart’s hiring later in the meeting, Deputy Superintendent Rebecca Jenkins summarized the new LFHS principal search process, which began March 23 and involved search firm B.W.P. & Associates. A survey on desired principal attributes drew more than 900 responses, Ms. Jenkins said. Finalist interviews with stakeholder groups took place April 29, before Dr. Lenart became the recommended candidate. Dr. Lenart, currently the Principal of Fairfax High School, in Fairfax, Virginia, will begin as LFHS principal on July 1, replacing Dr. Holland, who is leaving LFHS for a new position. 

Education Committee
The committee is now led by Mr. Winebrenner with the rest of the committee members to-be-determined.

Finance and Operations Committee 
John Noble has taken over leadership of the committee from Ms. Davis, who will remain on the panel. The committee will meet in June. 

Shared Services Optimization Committee 
Dewey Winebrenner chairs the committee and said he will provide a report at the Board’s next meeting on shared services optimization work that former District 67 Board Member Jeff Folker spearheaded ahead of the hiring of Dr. Montgomery. Additionally, Ms. Zinser said she met with District 67 Board President Justin Engelland on ways to enhance alignment between the two Boards. 

ED-RED Legislative Update
John Noble, legislative liaison, told the Board that he is watching several pieces of legislation affecting school districts that are under consideration in Springfield and currently moving between the House and Senate.

NSSED Update
The liaison is still to be determined, with an update expected in June.

Action Items
Approved Approval of Lake Forest High School Principal Contract
Approved Approval of Director of Buildings and Grounds Enabling Agreement

Upcoming Meeting
Monday, June 14, 2021 - 7 p.m.