Candidate profile: Andrew Reinking

Name: Andrew P. Reinking

Office seeking: Regional Superintendent of Schools, Madison County

Party: Democratic

Age: 47

City of residence: Edwardsville

Campaign website: reinkingforregionalsuperintendent.com

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for Regional Superintendent to ensure all students in Madison County have access to a full range of quality educational opportunities and programs in a safe environment. As Assistant Regional Superintendent I have partnered with school districts, higher education and not-for-profits to help schools offer educational opportunities promoting students success whether they choose to attend college or enter the workforce. I believe it is vital we arm students with the skills they need to be successful and competitive in a rapidly changing economy.

As a parent, nothing is more important to me than the safety of our students. As Regional Superintendent, I will continue to work to ensure all school districts in Madison County are maintaining the safest environment possible by thorough annual school safety inspections and providing districts with opportunities to meet school safety experts to review and implement the best safety practices possible.

I will work to make sure diverse academic and fine arts programs are offered as well as work to revitalize career and technical education programs in our districts by partnering with the trades and local industry to develop and improve programs which meet the needs of employers here in Madison County.

What qualifications do you have for this position? Over the past 9 years serving as Assistant Regional Superintendent of Schools for Madison County, I have experience building relationships with school districts, higher education, business and state agencies to help improve the quality of education in Madison County. These relationships have allowed our region to expand opportunities for students in the areas of math, science, language arts, technology and STEM, as well as providing teachers access to quality professional development opportunities to help them better meet the needs of all students.

Throughout my 23 years in education I have served in a variety of roles including Director of the Alternative Education Program, Director of Regional Truancy Program, Homeless liaison and teacher. The opportunity to work with a diverse set of students has provided me with the experience necessary to understand the education related challenges students and families face as well as what is necessary to help them be successful.

My experience serving as a School Improvement Specialist allowed me to work in every school in Madison County with teachers to help them improve technology integration and science in classrooms.

My education includes a Doctorate in Education leadership, Specialist in Education Administration and Master in Instructional Technology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as well as a Bachelor in Political Science from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

There have been efforts by Madison County school districts to levy a sales tax for school infrastructure reasons. The efforts have failed. Would you support these efforts in the future? Why or why not? The decision to support or not support the issue of the County School Facility Sales Tax is not up to the Regional Superintendent. Under Illinois law the Regional Superintendent does not have the option to deny petitions to put the question on the ballot as long as those petitions meet the requirements set forth in the law.

However, I believe all school districts should fully research any opportunities with potential to reduce the property tax burden on the citizens of Madison County. The citizens should have the right to vote on whether to enact any such opportunities.

What is the biggest issue facing the ROE? How would you handle it? The biggest issue facing the Regional Office of Education, as with almost every school district, is how to maintain quality programs which meet the needs of our students, schools, educators and communities while facing continued cuts to funding from the state and federal level. To address these needs I will continue to advocate for adequate funding not only for the Regional Office of Education but for all schools in the county by working with the Illinois State Board of Education and our legislators.

Through partnerships with higher education and non-profits I will continue to seek grant funding to implement or expand programs to meet the needs of students and educators in Madison County.

What do you believe the ROE can do to improve education in Madison County? I believe the Regional Office can continue to move education forward in Madison County by working to improve both school environments and program offerings. With the uncertainty of state and federal funding, it is vital to become innovative in how we continue to offer quality educational programs. To continuously improve educational opportunities for all students I have sought to develop partnerships with other agencies to address needs identified by Madison County schools.

These partnerships have led to the development of the Conversations toward a Brighter Future which is helping to create a more positive school environment by engaging students in building a more positive school environment through building respect and reducing bullying. They have also led to new programs, most notably expanded opportunities for students and schools to access high quality instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as well as a new law enforcement careers program.

It is important we prepare students to be successful no matter what path they choose in life. I am looking forward to working with labor, local industry and school districts as we rethink how we prepare students for the future.