Incumbent Evanston Township High School Board Member Mark Metz, of 2125 Sherman Ave., is retired from a career in retirement plan services.

Family

Metz and his wife Noreen have three children who are graduates of District 65 schools and ETHS.

Education

Bachelor’s degree in mathematics

In his own words

Opening statement at Feb. 10 candidate forum at Haven Middle School.

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Nothing we do at ETHS is as important as what happens when good teachers connect with students in the classroom.

That is where teaching and learning take place. That is the business we are in. And everything else we do should support and pormote that interaction.

We are fortunate to have a capable faculty at ETHS, a talented faculty. And we must keep it that way and make it even better. So, how do we make that happen?

Well, number one we hire great teachers.

Number two, provide professional development opportunities and teacher evaluation of their performance.

And finally we listen to teachers and engage them in the process.

During my time on the board we have improved our teacher selection process, ramped up our training and evaluation, and developed professional learning communities. And I will continue to advocate for these initiatives.

Also, we need curriculum that is more rigorous, relevant, closely aligned with upper level honors and AP courses.

We need higher expectations for performance of all students. Core structure like the earned honors system will help.

We should provide equitable supports, giving kids the help they need to succeed.

And we must continually measure the effectiveness of every program at the school, make improvements to some and discontinue others that are not yielding the desired results.

We must manage our way through the current economic crisis. My experience in business and finance, and my chairmanship of the board’s audit committee will be useful in promoting value-based budgeting, well-funded revenue reserve accounts, smart deployment of capital and accountability to the taxpayers.

We must look for alternative sources of funding. The ETHS Foundation, which I helped form, is a good example, and is making a real difference.

ETHS is a cornerstone of Evanston/Skokie. The school must communicate more effectively with the community. That is why, at a recent board meeting, I asked that we develop a comprehensive, strategic, external communication plan that will help the administration and the board communicate with its various audiences more thoroughly, clearly, consistently and with greater transparency.

Thank you.

Campaign website

MetzForETHS.com

Other resources

Profile on PTA Council website

Art Newman interview with Mark Metz (video)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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10 Comments

  1. Mark Metz and District 202 Board

    I would imagine that Evanston Now is a good spot to encourage discussion of those who are running for elected office.  So in that spirit, and perhaps to stimulate a little discussion about the candidates, I offer my thoughts about Mark Metz, who I've known for years and think would be an excellent person to keep on the District 202 School Board.

    Evanston Township High School is the point at which all our young people come together for education that will prepare them for their own future and, together, to shape the future of Evanston. We have one of the finest high schools in the nation and Mark, as a member of the Board, plays an important part in continuing and building on its tradition of excellence.

    As a member of the District 202 Board, Mark Metz brings a thoughtful analytical style, tireless effort, and an intense focus on the issues. He listens carefully to all points of view. He welcomes fresh ideas. He is a strong and consistent advocate for policies that are in the best interest of the students.

    Mark understands the fine points of budget policy, the result of a career in the financial industry. It is a skill he brought to the city of Evanston as the chairman of a special committee formed to clarify the challenge of meeting the city’s pension responsibilities.

    As the parent of three children who graduated from ETHS, Mark is one who has seen firsthand all that ETHS offers as well as the challenges confronting the school.

    My own long-time collaboration with Mark came through his years as President of the Evanston Baseball and Softball Association. He led us through a period of dramatic growth in the sport in Evanston, working closely with the city to develop the remarkable set of fields at James Park. It was no accident that after his term as the head of EBSA Mark went on to further volunteer service on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, a position he still holds.

    Hundreds of young baseball players—my own sons included– know Mark as Coach Metz. He not only taught them the skills of the game, he imparted its values and shared with them the fun. When we took our first teams of 12-year-olds to the well-known tournaments in Cooperstown, Mark was the coach who took them. Today he is a volunteer coach with the ETHS baseball team.

    Mart Metz brings the dedication, skill, financial wisdom, and sense of humanity that we need in a civic leader and I encourage Roundtable readers to vote for him to continue his service on the District 202 School Board.

    I look forward to the thoughts of others about the District 202 School Board election.

    1. Mark Metz

      I just read Roger Boyer's piece on Mark Metz and I couldn't agree more.  Mark is one of those real people – you always know where you stand with him.

      I came to know Mark when I did some consulting work with him.  It would have been easy to just do the work and walk away, but Mark is one of those people that makes connections and we did just that.  From the moment I met him a couple of things became obvious.  First is his love of Evanston and our community.  He talked at length about ETHS, his baseball coaching and his despair at the budgetary crisis hitting the city.  This is his expertise and he wanted to find some way to help.

      When he was appointed to the board, he was thrilled, but being the modest man he is, he tempered the excitement with an understanding of just how much work there was going to be.  I, for one, was thrilled when I heard he was going to run for the board.  I know Mark to be a thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent man who comes up with creative ideas but doesn't get bogged down by them.  Rather he reaches out to others to move things forward, rather than draw a line in the sand.

      Evanston will benefit by having Mark Metz on the School Board and I strongly urge all to cast their vote for Mark on this upcoming election day.

      1. Metz voted to dumb down education at ETHS

        Mark Metz voted to eliminate straight honors courses at ETHS despite hundreds of upset parents at D202 board meetings and a petition of more than 450 parents who all opposed the controversial, unproven and untested differentiation policy.

        By letting every freshmen who can read at a high school level take so-called freshmen advanced honors classes is simply a farce, and it's dumbing down education.

        Because Metz voted for that policy, I will NOT vote for him. Nor should any Evanston parent.

        1. Metz

          …and neither should any other clear-thinking parent with a child in (or coming along to) ETHS

          1. Like both anonymous Al and

            Like both anonymous Al and Curmudgeon,  I find the elimination of honors at the high school reprehensible and did not plan to vote for any incumbent for either school district.  I find assertions that "my children received a good education at ETHS"  to be just a bit disingenuous, when those children graduated prior to the tenure of the current Superintendent.    It is easy to make a change for other people's children when it is not your own that are impacted.   I was saddened to hear that Ms. Hansen had to drop her bid for the Board for that reason.   That being said,  I was impressed with Mr. Metz's support of streaming  district 202 board meetings,  and his attitude towards transparency  and fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of this community.    So while I enthusiastically support Jonathan Baum, and R. Scott Rochelle,  my third vote will have to be for Mr. Metz.   

             

          2. I’m voting for mostly incumbents and let me tell you why.

            My children are currently receiving an excellent education in district 65.  There is a lot of good news coming out of the district.  The achievement gap is closing – by any measure – and the white students in district 65 are outperforming any area district you choose to compare them to.  The strategic plan is being implemented and the results are being seen in the classrooms, where it counts.

            With regard to the elimination of straight honors, I have read quite a bit on the subject – both sides – and it seems like a reasonable idea to me.  As far as your assertion that "more than 450 parents" signed a petition, that number seems pretty insignificant when compared to enrollment at ETHS – and the approximately 78,000 stakeholders who are community members in the district.  Perhaps there is a vocal minority opposed but many, many more who are supportive?

          3. Working for some. . .

            Ms. King,

            I'm glad District 65 is working for your kids. Perhaps they aren't in middle school yet. Perhaps they aren't on the high end of the achievement spectrum. Perhaps you've just gotten lucky with teachers. Unfortunately, for too many kids in D65, it isn't working. Kids at both ends of the bell curve are not getting what they need while the kids "on the bubble" are getting lots of attention. Hence those achievement gains you point to. Certainly all the kids in D65 are getting plenty of ISAT test prep. Lots of parents think their kids deserve better.

            Of course, that closing gap is only closing if you look at one metric – the ISATs. Have you been reading the data in the Roundtable? Have you noticed that the achievement gap on the EXPLORE test is stagnating? Or perhaps, like our administrators and some board members, you're happy to cherry pick the data.

            Do you have an data to show that the 450 people who signed the petition are "a vocal minority"? Yes, that is not a significant number compared to the number of students at ETHS or in the community, but do you have any data to show that those others DO support the proposal? Or that many, many more people object to it but just didn't sign the petition? Maybe the 450 are a vocal minority of a larger majority who let those 450 speak for them. What about the number of editorials and letters to the editor in the Tribune and elsewhere objecting to the proposal?

            Have your children experienced straight honors or mixed level classes at ETHS? Perhaps families whose students have had that experience are better able to assess the proposal than you are.

            Of course, you should vote for whatever candidates you choose. Many others in this community think that our kids deserve better and that the school board can do better than rubber stamp the proposals of the administration(s). I will not be voting for the incumbents. 

          4. Why I’m not voting for incumbents, especially in D65

            Ms. King,

            Like you, I believed that my children were receiving an "excellent" education in D65.    That is, until we hit middle school.    Like many others at either end of the spectrum, the education my children were receiving was not working for them.   Parenting is not made easy when my expectations of what my child's work products were higher than the teacher's.   Because I dared to complain, I had to tell my children to be exemplary in their behavior, so that there were few opportunities for retaliation.  I hope that you never have your child tell you that they would rather receive an "F" , rather than deal with a teacher, or worse yet, have your child confess to you that a teacher told them that they "couldn't do math.  Quite frankly, if my children succeed in life it will be because of the efforts of a cadre of dedicated teachers , not because of the administration in either school district.  Just because my experience was different,  does not mean that I'm right and you're wrong.   we just have different experiences.   I wish your family well and hope that when your child leaves the Evanston schools, he or she will have critical thinking skills, the courage to question the status quo appropriately, and a work ethic that allows them to be successful.

  2. I suspect that our different

    I suspect that our different opinions are not due to differences in our children but our expectations. 

    I understand that education, not unlike parenting, is an imperfect process.  While the best interests of kids are always the goal, occasionally mistakes are made.

    I understand that the board, staff and administration's obligation is not to just give my children the best education possible, but to use limited resources to best serve all students.

    I believe that it is my responsibility to get involved and push the outcome for my kids in the right direction.  With some notable exceptions, I have found the board, staff and administration open to my involvement.  I am proud of what I've been able to accomplish.

    I also believe that the strengths of our schools – diversity, acceptance to name a few – far outweigh some of the negatives that I'm sure we've both experienced.  Otherwise I would be raising my kids elsewhere.

    As far as testing, yes the ISAT shows higher scores for minorities but all of the testing shows improvement.  Any test shows stellar performance by our non minority kids.

    No, I do not have high schoolers but as I said, I did a lot of reading from both sides, spoke to many parents and considered my own experience with honors classes.  I read parent opinions, educators opinions and took into account how the school board voted when forming my opinion.  I do know that either way, some parents would be happy, some not.  As I tell my son, just because someone doesn't do what you want doesn't mean they aren't listening.

  3. Mark is not only qualified, he is needed on the 202 Board

    Mark was chosen in 2009 to serve for the remainder of my term when I stepped down to accept a contract position in Dubai.  He was unanimously approved by the then sitting School Board and has since proven our decision to be correct.  Mark is meticulous in his preparation for meetings allowing him to make well informed decisions.  His financial acumen means he understands the complexity of school board budgeting, a critical skill in these difficult financial times.  Most importantly, he is a calm voice of reason who has the ability to build consensus and seek out the compromises necessary for the Board to be an effective governing body. That, alone, is reason enough to elect him to a full term this April.

    Although I am not running for the school board this year, I fully support Mark and could not have asked for a better candidate.

     

    Omar Khuri

    Former District 202 School Board Member.

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