Candidate profile: John Hipskind

John Hipskind
John Hipskind Provided photo

Name: John Hipskind

Age: 37

Immediate Family members: Wife, Wendy, and two daughters Hayley, Hadley

Town: Highland

Office seeking:Board of Education Member

Occupation: Lawyer

Previous and current elected offices and terms served:None

Why are you running?I believe our school system is the foundation of our community and that our children deserve the very best education possible. I am running to ensure our community thrives, and most importantly, our students thrive. I believe my experience as a lawyer, business owner, and college professor will be an invaluable asset to the board as it attempts to navigate through turbulent financial times.

What is the most important issue facing the Highland Community Unit School District? How would you approach it?I believe there is a disconnect between the administration, teachers and the community. At times, it seems as if we have three teams on the court instead of one working in unison. To rectify that, I believe that the school board should assume a larger leadership role. In that role it is necessary for the board to maintain an open line of communication, operate with transparency, and be honest with those it serves.

Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not?I believe the school district should always strive to achieve a diversity of ideas and beliefs among teachers in order to enrich our students learning and understanding of others.

How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education?I think there should be a significant emphasis on science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) in our students' curriculum. Our society has advanced rapidly due to the contributions of scientists, engineers and innovators. I believe the days are gone when what you know was most important. Today, information is so readily available, the key is to know what we do with that information. We need to equip our students with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and makes sense of information. These skills are the basis of STEM and I believe should compose a large component of our students' curriculum.

Do you support the Madison County sales tax referendum to benefit school facilities? Why or why not?Yes. I believe the benefit will far out weigh the cost. Our schools are running on a shoe-string budget due to the state's financial crisis and our students are suffering. Our schools are cutting programs and services when they need to be increasing programs and services so that our children have every tool available to ensure success.

Why should people vote for you? I am running not to advance an agenda - I have no agenda. I intend to evaluate every issue with an open mind, with as much information as I can obtain, and with as much input as I can get from our students, teachers and community members. I intend to make every decision with the students' and taxpayers' best interest first and foremost in my mind. I promise I will always listen, communicate and be honest with those who I serve.