Patricia Savage-Williams

Central Street Neighbors Association School Board Questionnaire



Name: Patricia Savage-WilliamsPat Savage-Williams

Candidate for: District 202

Voting address:
9007 Samoset Trail, Skokie


Years lived in school district: 34

Campaign website:

Campaign phone: 847-675-8113

E-mail address:

Other websites on which you post campaign statements or positions:

Campaign Chair: Ellen Schwarzbach

Treasurer: Peter Gandy

Campaign manager or consultant(s): Ellen Schwarzbach

Elective or appointive public or party offices previously held including dates:

What is your primary occupation?
Special Education Coordinator, New Trier High School

Breifly list your past civic activities. If numerous list here the five most relevant:

  • Board member, Child Care Center of Evanston
  • Girl Scout Co-leader
  • Evanston Township High School Mixed Level Advisory Ad Hoc Committee Member
  • Co-Facilitator of Community Conversations-Evanston YWCA


What subjects have you studied and what experience have you had which will be most helpful to you as you serve on the school board?

  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Indiana University
  • Master of Science in Educational Psychology - Indiana University
  • Type 75 Educational Administration Certificate - National Lewis University


Please list all endorsements you have received so far.  You may also use this space if desired to indicate what you consider to be your principal base(s) of support and why you want voters to consider your endorsements or support base.

I have lived in this community for almost 34 years. I have many contacts with a variety of people including parents, educators and community members. My list of supporters continues to grow. Endorsements and donations are consistently coming in from these supporters and other Evanston High School community members.


Essence of Campaign. Briefly, why are you running and why should a voter give you one of his or her votes? How will electing you make a difference?

It would be my honor and privilege to serve as your representative on the Board of Education. I have worked as an educator for 35 years with students from preschool to grade 12. I was a School Psychologist in the elementary school district of Evanston for 25 years before moving to a high school as a Special Education Coordinator. I will bring my perspective as a parent and an educator to the Board of Education. I understand how students learn and what motivates adolescents. My abilities as a listener and a problem-solver are valuable assets to the board. Teamwork is the most effective approach to address the complicated issues we face in education today.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education is the most powerful gift we can give to our children. I believe that every student has the right to an education that enhances individual strengths, improves weaknesses, and fosters confidence and self-esteem. Thus, my highest priority is to meet the needs of all students within our school community.


Educational philosophy. American education, and sometimes that in Evanston, is variously criticized as culturally biased in favor of dominant or privileged classes or groups and their culture, as too relativistic, as too coddling and mushy, as failing to prepare students for the 21st century economy, or as failing to teach basics, among others. What principal deficit(s) in American or Evanston education do you see, and what will you do as a local Board member to address this?

In this the 21st century, it is essential to recognize how rapidly our society has changed, thus the need for the educational preparation to change as well. Now more than ever, we need to prepare students for a global world experience. To do this, we must be intentional about teaching students to use critical thinking skills in an adaptive learning environment. Critical thinking involves the development of problem solving skills that they will be able to use in many facets of life. We want them to be effective communicators and have the ability to collaborate with others as we know that major decisions are made through team collaboration rather than independently. Thus, they need to be able to work in harmony with others who may look and be very different from themselves.


Superintendent. If elected this April, during your tenure you will have one or more opportunities to fire, hire, or extend the contract of a superintendent. What specific criteria, if any, including any quantitative performance criteria, will you use in your decision?

Because Dr. Witherspoon currently has a multi-year contract, the Illinois school code requires that his evaluation be “linked to student performance and academic improvement within the district.” (105 ILCS 5/10-23.8) I am aware that the current board recently approved a new set of three-year district goals. I would expect that in determining whether to extend the superintendent’s contract further would depend upon measurement of progress toward these goals. I’m sure the board has an evaluation process in place that I will participate in thoughtfully and carefully.


Expenditures. District 202's most recent posted total budget for all funds is over $72 million – which is over $23,000 per student. District median household income is less than $65,000. Is the current expenditure level necessary and sustainable?

I know that the tax burden placed on Evanston homeowners is substantial and I would certainly not advocate for any increase in spending at this time. However, my experience as school psychologist in District 65 has made me aware of the many needs of our school children, some of which can be ameliorated with programs that cost money. I’ve recently learned, for example, that last school year D202 had over 100 identified homeless students. These students necessarily require significant resources from our district that other school districts don’t have to fund. I am really not currently in a position to comment on whether there is any excess spending in the district.


Tracking. State succinctly and specifically what ETHS should be doing the same, more of, or differently with respect to differentiated or mixed-level instruction, tracking, and the honors program, and why.

These are not really policy questions within the domain of a Board member, but I can share my personal opinion based on my experience as an educator and an ETHS parent. In the past, mixed-level classes were not well designed and the experience of students taking the courses for honors or regular credit was predominately teacher dependent. (Sometimes there was no difference in levels at all.) The freshman-level restructured Humanities classes, however, are taught at the Honors level for all students with a 9th grade reading proficiency. Furthermore, the common assessments assure consistent expectations among teachers, and the clear rubrics provide ample information to students and parents about what is required. It is my understanding, furthermore, that the assessments are designed to teach the skills necessary for success in future Honors and AP classes. I believe that all students deserve to have that foundation. I support the restructure.


Cost Shifting. What should the district be doing to prepare for the possibility that some or all costs of pension financing will be shifted to suburban and downstate districts, as they are for Chicago schools?

The district’s CFO, Bill Stafford, has done a wonderful job of maintaining balanced budgets for the past seven years. I’m sure that if pension costs are shifted, he will make suggestions for possible cuts in spending. I would advocate strenuously to keep those cuts as far away from the classroom as possible.