Denise Wildeveld Tapped to Fill Open D161 Board Seat

Wildeveld, who served on the Summit Hill school board from 1999 to 2007, says her main priority will be to help find a creative solution to the district's more than $2 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year.

Denise Wildeveld has been chosen by the board to fill that body's open seat.

Board members will vote to officially appoint Wildeveld at next Wednesday's regular meeting. She will then be sworn in, .

Wildeveld was elected to two terms on the D161 board, serving from 1999 to 2007. During that time, she served as the board's secretary, worked on several committees and was involved in passing two referendums. Wildeveld has lived in the district for 20 years, and although her son and daughter are in college and high school, respectively, they both attended D161 schools.

"I am incredibly honored that they have chosen me to fill the open seat," Wildeveld said in a phone interview Wednesday night. "This board of education has worked very hard over the last six months--they've moved mountains--and I'm ecstatic to be a part of it."

and narrowed the field down to three candidates . Members used a points system to evaluate each candidate, with Wildeveld receiving the most points by a narrow margin, a school board e-mail stated. Board Vice President Joy Murphy said in an interview Wednesday night that the points system was the fairest method to use, adding, "Numbers don't lie."

"(Wildeveld's) eight years of experience as a school board member will help her hit the ground running," said board President Mary Kenny in a board e-mail. "Denise has regularly attended school board meetings for the past few years and is excited about the direction the district is moving. Her experience will definitely help when making the tough decisions that District 161 will have to make in the near future."

One of those tough decisions will be figuring out how to resolve the district's more than $2 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year, something Wildeved said is her top priority as a board member. .

"I want to work with (the other board members) to find creative ways to fix the deficit," Wildeveld said. "It's not going to be a very popular place to be for the next year and a half. I'm fully aware of that. You can't make everyone happy. ... Making cuts and doing those kinds of things is never popular decision."

"I know this deficit didn't happen overnight," she added. "I do know when I get on the board ... we're going to be fiscally responsible. But it needs to have a minimal effect on the students' education because that's what we're here for."

Wildeveld's time away from the board has given her a different perspective on the process, she said. She's been very impressed with what this board has accomplished since April, as well as how transparent it has been with its actions.

Although she expects there to be a slight learning curve, Wildeved said she doesn't think it will take long for her to get up to speed on the board. Some of that confidence comes from the fact that she's served with Kenny and board member Sean William Doyle before, and there's a comfort zone in those relationships. But it also stems from being able to draw on her past experience as a board member combined with her uninterrupted immersion in D161, Wildeveld said.

"Everything they've been through, I've been through," she said. "When I wasn't on the board, I still went to the meetings. And if I couldn't go to the meetings, I listened to the podcasts. Even though I wasn't on the board, I never went away. This school district has always been a passion of mine."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BOARD'S CHOICE? Tell us in the comments section.

Stella Nyder January 07, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I would also like to congratulate our new board member, Mrs Wildeveld! I prayed for the right candidate to fill this position- as i am certain many others have prayed as well... God is hearing and answering our prayers. For this i am praising Him! He is faithful and just and loves us so much...even when we all can be so unlovable...and I am the first to admit that as well.! He even uses our mistakes for His glory! I am thankful, for His grace and mercy and forgiveness in Jesus that when we trust in Him and persevere through trials we can see His work in our lives and His purposes are revealed to us. I am looking forward to meeting you, Mrs.Wildeveld! I know you will be an asset to our new board as God will use your gifts to complement our current board members in the important work that needs to be done!. Praying for continued godly wisdom, guidance and strength and joy to all the board members and our administrators and our teachers in all that you do and continued safety for our students. Square Mom- you have taught me alot in your entries about respecting and caring for others...thank you!
get real January 07, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Isn't that what you do? mrumors and gossip?
get real January 07, 2012 at 11:32 PM
IN your opinion
Square Mom January 08, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Thank you Stella! I have added to my prayer list, "continued Godly wisdom, guidance and strength and joy to all the board members and our administrators and our teachers in all that you do and continued safety for our students." I assume you are the Stella that has prayed for our board at some of the meetings. It is a rare thing for one to have the courage to share one's faith so openly. You are an inpiration to me, and I hope to others as well. "Gentle woman, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom, teach us love." Your kindness and loving grace is appreciated.
Square Mom January 08, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Thank you for reminding us about the power of words. "The flood of careless, unconsidered, cheap words is the greatest enemy of the profound word." -- Stephen L. Talbott


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