Arlene Albert was a write-in candidate to the Joliet Township High School District 204 Board of Education in 1981. Back then, the district was trying to close Joliet Central High School. Albert was not a native to the area and she did not have a sentimental attachment to the school. But she read the report and she did not agree with the decision. Mostly, she was worried because they were not going to simply "lock the doors and walk away," she said, but rather that they were going to use only a couple of rooms, but not use it for students. It was too late at the time for her to enter the race and be listed on the ballot, but she began a write-in campaign and she won.
"I have seen this district come from a very, very difficult time," she said. "Financially, we were in dire straights."
"We reached this time today when Joliet Township High School is becoming the school of choice."
Paige Vanderhyden has served on the JTHS board since 2011, but before that seved 14 years on the Elwood Grade School District 203 board.
"I just always want to create that vision of what is best for the kids," she said. "It's very meaningful to me."
Albert appreciates the difference she has seen in the district in her time on the board.
"I've gone through and survived some very difficult times," she said of the district growing and changing. "It is a pleasure to be on a board at a time when people are working together."
Recently, JTHS was named one of the 100 best places to work by the Chicago Tribune and Workplace Dynamics.
Albert said at the meeting Wednesday that the board members were very proud of that distinction.
Superintendent Cheryl McCarthy said that in honoring board members, she can draw attention to the jobs that they do.
“Its really important for our community to realize what difficult jobs these are," she said. "They do work a lot, not just a board meeting a month."
She said the current board members are committed to two things - supporting the district's strategic plan and making sure that the choices they make are good for the students in the district.
"When you think about the community as a whole, every child in that community belongs to that school board," she said.
The Joliet Township High School District 204 Board of Education is comprised of the following members. Information on each candidate is accessible by clicking on their names.