Lisa Schneider Fabes
EXPERIENCED -Lisa has served on the Board of Education for the last four years – 2 of those years as Board President. She has taken on a variety of leadership roles and projects during her first term. COMMITTED - Lisa has more than a decade of service to the District 39 community, serving at the school and District level. She seeks to continue serving another term on the D39 board, as she understands the importance of consistency at Board level. BALANCED - When making decisions, Lisa is committed to soliciting, listening and understanding all points of view. She also relies on data and research to inform her recommendations to the Board. Never has this been more important than in the time of COVID.
A Bit about Me…
A bit about my family - I am a mother of three – twin 14-year-old girls and a 16-year-old son. I am married to Brian - we share a commitment to our community and a calling to do work to improve our world. Our family also includes a 9-year old rescue dog named Percy and a COVID puppy named Rosie.
A bit about my time in Wilmette - I have lived in Wilmette for more than 10 years. I have been active since the day we arrived - supporting the schools and sports teams, the League of Women Voters, and served on the Wilmette District 39 school board since 2017.
And a bit about my career - Professionally, I am an independent consultant that provides strategic planning, program design, and project management services to executive clients in not-for-profit and public sectors. Currently I am managing a place-based planning process to reduce gun violence on Chicago’s west side. My previous engagement was as Director of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, a $30M+ emergency response fund for the state of Illinois. In addition, since 2015 I have worked for Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a variety of roles – I started Mayor Lightfoot’s campaign, ran her transition and served as Senior Advisor in the Mayor’s Office. Finally, I have worked, both as a consultant and employee, on education issues at the national, state, and local levels.. For more information, check out my LinkedIn page by clicking here…
Why I am Running…:
For the past 4 years, I have been honored to serve our community on the District 39 Board of Education. When I look back on my first term, the Board has much to be proud of – collectively and individually. Highlights of our achievements include advancing achievement and growth for all students, hiring a new superintendent, launching the kindergarten enrichment program, passage of the District 39 Resolution Against Hate and Statement of Inclusion, as well as providing successful in-person and remote learning options to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individually, I led the superintendent search, was part of the negotiating team for the WEA contract, and have served as Board President since 2019.
In 2017 I ran because I wanted to give back to my community. I deeply care about education and I thought my professional experience would be an asset to the Board. I am running again for all those reasons, but now have another, more significant reason, consistency. The stakes are high for our young people right now. Having consistency on a school board is critical to our ongoing success, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic and our District’s strategic planning efforts as well as the first few years of a superintendent’s tenure. Veteran board members provide the stability and institutional knowledge needed for a high functioning board. Regardless of the outcome of the election, at least two of the board members will be new. Therefore, I think it’s important I continue to serve on the Board in this capacity.
My Role and Goals for a Second Term…
I have learned well that we cannot predict the challenges D39 will face over the next four years, so the most important assets that I will contribute to the board are my experience and judgment, applied to whatever situation arises. Although I am not running ‘for’ or ‘against’ any issues in particular, having goals leads to being a more effective board member. As a Board member, for the early part of my second term, I would prioritize the following on-going efforts that I think are important to the District:
Repair & Rebuild
COVID has massively disrupted our education system and education systems across the world. As a D39 Board Member, I will leverage what we have learned from the pandemic to strengthen and rebuild our education system so that student needs are met and our system as a whole is more resilient.
On-going Improvements on Climate and Culture: Ensuring a Welcoming Environment for All
The District has been working as a community to improve the climate and culture in our schools and beyond through supporting an inclusive, tolerant, and accepting environment and mindset within and among our students, staff, and families. During the past four years, the Board passed the District 39 Resolution Against Hate and the District 39 Statement of Inclusion, both of which outline our ongoing commitment to a safe and equitable learning environment for all of our students and have created a call to action for our schools. Yet, amid COVID, a recent D39 student survey showed that approximately 50% of 5-8 students have a sense of belonging in school. We have more work to do, and I will work to ensure we continue on this path.
The Board hired a firm to facilitate the creation of a much needed 3-year strategic plan. The plan will guide the actions and investments in the coming years. My goal is to participate in the creation of the plan and support any needed identified changes outlined in the plan.
Data Informed Instruction
Dr. Cremascoli has increased the District’s use of data on student achievement to improve instruction. The district has launched instructional leadership teams that analyze data on the student, class and school level on a regular basis. In addition, we have continued to build on the tracking and use of student growth data. The Board has also increased its use of data to understand and respond at the grade, school and district level and to ensure the District is responsive to changes in performance and trends. I will continue to seek to expand on my own use of the data and encourage this practice district-wide.
In response to community feedback that spanned decades, this school year we launched KEEP39, a kindergarten enrichment program, as a way to provide full-day programming for students. Our intent is to start down a 10-year path to providing full day kindergarten. We started at 2 elementary schools - Central and Harper. We will expand KEEP39 to Ramona and McKenzie next year. I will support the administration as it continues to roll out KEEP39 implementation, mindful of lessons learned during this most unusual year.
Over the past 4 years, the Board has continued in the tradition of conservative fiscal management. That practice has allowed us to weather the COVID storm. We were able to meet the additional costs associated with providing two types of instruction and enhanced safety measures, while not jeopardizing capital projects. I will continue to support practices and decisions that continue that tradition.