Meet the D-73 Board candidates: Sangita Parande and Louis E. Gatta
LOUIS E. GATTA
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Children in the district? Yes
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Northeastern University
Occupation: General Manager of an alternative high school in Niles
Hometown: Vernon Hills (originally from India)
Children in the district? Yes
Education: Master’s Degree in Science from a university in India
Occupation: Full-time mom
Updated: February 21, 2013 8:10AM
VERNON HILLS — Four political newcomers are vying for three seats on the Hawthorn School District 73 Board of Education.
The seats are open because three incumbents on the seven-member board aren’t running for re-election on April 9.
This week, candidates Sangita Parande and Louis E. Gatta explain what motivated them to run for the post. Candidates Ghita Mueller and Jeanne Engelkemeir will be featured here next week.
Parande said she’s always been interested in what’s happening in the local schools, especially since she has two children who attend them. But she wondered about the board too.
“I was curious, how do they come to the decisions they make?” she said.
In the past, work and family responsibilities kept Parande from getting involved further, she said. But since she isn’t working now, Parande added, this seemed the perfect opportunity to delve into the district’s inner workings.
Gatta said he is running for board partly because education is a family tradition. His father was once a high school principal and taught at Loyola University. Gatta’s wife is currently a teacher in Lake Forest.
Still, the music major didn’t think he would become an educator himself. But after conducting a high school jazz band for a number of years, he now is a general manager at an alternative high school. With this experience, Gatta feels his mix of teaching and administrative experience would be an asset to the Hawthorn board.
“I’ve got a unique perspective, having seen things from these different areas,” he said.
While both Gatta and Parande have different backgrounds, the two also have unique ideas on future goals for the board.
Gatta says the board should continue seeking the best allocation of resources. He also wants to be involved in attracting quality teachers, and to hold teachers and administrators accountable for instituting new state curriculum standards called Common Core.
Beyond that, he has no specific plans and wants to wait to form opinions if he is elected.
“I’ll first need to see where the district is on all this before I form an agenda,” he said.
Parande said her primary concern is school rank and, in her view, Hawthorn schools’ relatively low position as compared with schools in surrounding areas. While Parande praises the district overall and said her own children love their schools, she added that school rankings may lag due to lack of opportunities for advanced and gifted students.
“We have very bright kids, but for some reason we’re not on par with schools in Libertyville, Lake Forest, Buffalo Grove and others,” she said. “We need to have programs for those kids. They can do more than they are (currently) doing.”
This is the first in a two-part series on the Hawthorn School District 73 board of education race for the April 9 election. The other candidates will be featured in the Feb. 28 edition.