Local School Council Election News

Chicago's Local School Councils are some of the city's most influential civic bodies. Elected every two years by parents, teachers and community members, LSCs hire and fire school principals, manage discretionary school budgets of in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and guide individual school curriculums. An active LSC can make a good school great and a neighborhood desirable for new homeowners.

The 2012 elections will take place at all elementary schools from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. LSC elections take place at all high schools from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 19.

Here, we've put together a guide to local schools, a place to look up local candidates and an archive of our LSC coverage. Check back every day for updated candidate information and news on the elections.

Interested in meeting your local candidates? Come to our Center Square Journal LSC Candidate Meet and Greet on April 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the DANK Haus.

School And Candidate Guides

LSC News


Candidates! Submit your information here.

Terri Versace

Running for Parent Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Waters
Since October 2005 I have been the volunteer president for WatersToday, the Parent-Teacher Co-Op. And although I have been actively helping the school for 6 years, my passion and focus led me to quit my job for 2 full years, while our group worked with the administration on: marketing the school through flyers and school open house exhibitions, giving the school tours monthly for the last 6 years, before and after school programs, free tot programs, and summer camps. For 5 years I have helped head up both the Flower Power and Spring Auction fundraisers to keep Waters excellent Full-Time Music and Ecology Programs going for ALL of our kids. I have made our name known in the local community, and those businesses help us by donating to our cause every year, allowing us to ssucceed.
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Gregory Foster-Rice

Running for Parent Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Waters
I’m a parent who comes from a family of educators and artists, so Waters has always felt like a natural fit for us. It’s our neighborhood school and our school of choice. As a professor at Columbia College Chicago with a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, I have significant experience in grant-writing, strategic planning, budget management, curricular development, committee service, communications and many other areas that would complement the work of the LSC. But I’ve learned the most about schools and the important role they play in child development from the devoted teachers and parents whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know as a parent myself. I’m especially interested in developing new ways to engage parents and community members with the inspiring efforts of our teachers.
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Michelle A. Ramirez

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Lakeview
Michelle Ramirez is a former public school teacher and previously taught English and English as a Second Language. She has a Masters in Secondary Education and Curriculum and has extended experience in designing and implementing curriculum to meet state and federal standards. Michelle earned her law degree with high distinction from the University of Iowa and currently practices civil litigation in Chicago. She is dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students. She volunteers at Lake View High School, serving as an attorney coach for the mock trial team, and is an advocate for higher education. She is the author of "Second Class Students: Federal Limits on State Benefits for Higher Education.
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Michael Cohen

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Amundsen
I have lived in the neighborhood for eleven years with my wife, Wendy. We have a third grader in CPS and are staunch advocates for strong neighborhood schools. I have done a lot of work with the Raise Your Hand Coalition, a parent-led advocacy group that has brought attention to the need for better funding and stronger parent and community voice at CPS. I grew up in public schools in Evanston. I work as a corporate attorney and have extensive experience with contracts and budgets. I am excited about the opportunity help improve community involvement at Amundsen.
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Lauren Garry

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Lakeview
Lauren Garry, is the Associate Director for External Relations for the Center for Advanced Design, Research, and Exploration (CADRE) at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Ms. Garry is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with outside research laboratories, universities, congressional representatives and staff, private businesses, the Department of Defense (DoD), and other federal agencies. Prior to UIC, Ms. Garry served as the Development Assistant for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the Univ. of Michigan. Ms. Garry volunteers as an adviser for a student organization at DePaul Univ. and is an alumni recruiter for the Univ. of Michigan. Ms. Garry received her BA degree in Organizational Studies from the University ofMichigan and her MBA from UIC.
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Darcy DeWolfe

Running for Parent Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Burley
My children have attended Burley School for eight years. In that time I have been a board member of Friends of Burley for six years, including four as President. I have helped to significantly increase our funding ability to support needed staffing and programs at Burley and have taken a lead role in spearheading the complete renovation of our playground, scheduled to begin this summer. I have also been a member of PTA for eight years and have regularly attended all LSC meetings. I have a strong relationship with Burley’s administration and staff and believe I have a very thorough understanding of what makes Burley unique -- our stellar successes in academic achievement, extracurricular programming and our very special culture and community.
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Juanita Garcia

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Amundsen
A lifelong Chicagoan, I have been a member of the neighborhood since 2001. My background is in mechanical design with an emphasis on sustainable building design. I have earned the US Green Building Council credential of LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in Building Design + Construction. My passion for sustainability is based in the holistic approach to sustainable design that can positively affect the health and well being of individuals. I have a long history of volunteer work particularly in math and science education since I was a student at the Illinois Math & Science Academy. Most recently, I've been working with adults with low and limited literacy rates.
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Lisabeth Weiner

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Burley
Crisis Communications Consultant,with specialties in healthcare and financial services Former newspaper reporter: American Banker Reuters Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism MS '80 Princeton University Fellowship -- Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs University of Minnesota BA'74 Resident of Lakeview -- 10 years Two children
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Frank Carter

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Lane Tech
I am retired from my primary career in industrial manufacturing management. I also taught high school math for several years, which greatly sparked my awareness of the need for improvement in secondary education, particularly in urban settings. Lane Tech is an example of what can be done and I would very much like to become involved in nurturing its excellence as a college preparatory experience. My education includes masters in finance and astrophysics, for career and for passion. My son and twin daughters are now grown and independent. All three are undergraduate engineering majors. I will approach the LSC role at Lane with an open mind, ready to listen and learn and do my best to find opportunities to improve on the administration of what is already an excellent institution.
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Michael Brandfon

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Ravenswood
Mike spent several years as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and is also an experienced public relations professional. He currently is a proud full-time dad to twin 18-month-old daughters. Mike recently volunteered with Lakeside Community Development Corporation where he provided communication and media support to help promote the non-profit organization’s mission of advocating for affordable housing and providing counseling services to first-time home buyers on the city’s north side. Mike was born in Chicago and grew up in a northern suburb. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in English. He and his wife, Sara have been home owners in Ravenswood since 2008.
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John Martin

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Bell
Resident of Bell School Community since 2009 Father of Ava (attending Bell in Fall of 2014) and husband of Stacey Turner Professional Experience Chairperson of Boundless Readers Non-Profit - Mission is to inspire CPS students to become lifelong readers, by working with teachers, administrators to provide professional development and classroom resources (boundlessreaders.org) Own JFM OPS Consulting, a operational and financial consulting firm focused on helping early-stage companies grow (www.jfmops.com) Education Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) – MBA MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) - Bachelor of Science 8 years of public school, 4 years of Catholic school
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Christine Weldon

Running for Parent Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Waters
I started working with the Waters community 6+ years ago as a founding member of Waters Today. Waters had fantastic programs, a loving environment and unfortunately a declining enrollment. Working with a group of parents and staff we painted the inside of the school, created tot programs and marketed the school. In the past 6 years enrollment has doubled, test scores have increased, the school building and grounds have been improved, and additional school programs have been established as a result of our work. I established the not-for-profit status (501c3) of Waters Today with the IRS, so we could conduct proper fundraising. I have been the treasurer of Waters Today for 4+ years. Through fundraising and grants Waters Today has supported full time music, ecology, kinder and more.
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Catherine Marchese

Running for Parent Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Coonley
I have two children in the neighborhood program at Coonley - one in first grade and the other in fourth grade. My husband and I lived in this neighborhood over 10 years. I have been very active in bringing many artists, programs and performers to our school. I am currently a consultant for a non for profit organization. I have access to many different artists, business organizations and individuals across the city and around the world. I work with all these groups to help enrich the students education. I am running for LSC because I love the school, and I want to continue to bring programs, artists, performers and ideas into the school to inspire and educate the children.
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Stacey Paradis

Running for Parent Representative | Currently on LSC: Yes | School: Hamilton
Stacey Paradis has been a resident of the West Lakeview community since 2000. She currently serves as the chair of Hamilton Elementary School's Local School Council and has served for two terms. She also is Vice President of the West Lakeview Neighbors and is on the Board of the Lake View YMCA. In her professional life, she has worked in public affairs, government relations and issues management and PR for non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses and at all levels of government. She is the Deputy Director of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and works in the Loop. She has two sons at Hamilton - one in third grade and the other in kindergarten.
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Matthew Zaute

Running for Community Representative | Currently on LSC: No | School: Bell
North Center resident since 2008. Father and husband. Executive with a Chicago based digital advertising agency. Twenty plus years experience as a participant, coach, and official with Odyssey of the Mind, creative problem solving competition. Extensive professional experience with budgeting, team building, and strategic vision. Ten plus years of community service with the First Saint Paul's community meals program. Member of the steering committee. Fund raising director for the FSP program. Endurance athlete.
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