Mary Hess for District #428 School Board


    Why I am running for school board
    maryhesssign2Over the past seven years I have been actively involved in our school district in a variety of ways. I have participated in PTO’s, served on several internal and external committees, and developed and led the district’s parent advisory council for three years. In addition to my involvement with the school district, I have volunteered for several youth programs in our community. I chose to be involved in these activities because I value education, I care about the children in our community, and I want our school district and youth programs to be the best they can be. These are the same reasons why I decided to run for DeKalb Community Unit School District #428 School Board. I have been dedicated to the youth of this community for the past nine years and am now seeking the opportunity to serve in the capacity of a decision maker for our school district.

    My qualifications
    I have worked in the field of youth advocacy for the past four years. My specific focus has been on positive youth development. Through my work, I have developed an in-depth understanding of which factors, both internal and external, contribute to the development of thriving youth and minimize the potential for risk taking behaviors. I have studied other communities around our nation to learn about the various ways they structure their environments to be supportive of youth and have taken the initiative to implement many of these ideas in our community. I regularly work with other youth serving programs and am well acquainted with the many resources available to youth in our community.

    Based on my cumulative learning experiences from previous involvement with our school district and my professional background in positive youth development, I believe I have a valuable set of skills and perspective to bring to the board of education.

    My beliefs/priorities
    Student Achievement: High performing schools are imperative to the economic vitality of our community. If elected, I will be a strong advocate for enhancing our curriculum so that all students are challenged. I feel very strongly that our district needs to maintain high standards and learning expectations for all students. I also believe that the climate of our schools is an important component of student achievement and expectations for student behavior should be held to a high standard.

    In order for our students to achieve, our teachers must be equipped with the necessary tools for success. If elected, I will advocate for learning environments that are conducive to helping our teachers achieve high quality learning outcomes and professional development opportunities so that our teachers are highly qualified – especially if new curriculum materials are proposed.

    Financial Responsibility
    The current board and district administration team has worked diligently to reduce expenses and continues to look at where more savings can be found. Unfortunately, with the district facing a 2.3 million dollar deficit, additional budget reductions and/or new sources of revenue will need to be re-examined. I am not in favor of increasing class sizes or eliminating extracurricular activities as a way to reduce the deficit.

    I believe that solutions to the school district’s budget deficit do not lie solely with the board of education or school district leaders. DeKalb, Cortland and Malta residents will each be electing their next mayor and one to three city council members in this election. I am carefully following these campaigns to learn how these candidates intend to attract new businesses to our community so additional tax dollars can be generated. I strongly encourage every voting citizen to do the same. The budget deficit is not just a District 428 problem, it is a community problem and requires community leaders working together to address it.

    Public Service Record

    • DeKalb Education Foundation Treasurer July 2012 – current
    • DeKalb Junior Leadership Academy Committee Member July 2011 – current
    • DeKalb County Youth Service Providers Chair December 2010 – January 2012
    • DeKalb Youth Football League Board Member March 2011 – October 2011
    • DeKalb Leadership Academy Graduate September 2010 – June 2011
    • DCP/SAFE Coalition Committee Member June 2009 – current
    • Pack 131 Cub Scouts Popcorn Sales Chair September 2008 – June 2010
    • DeKalb AYSO Board Member January 2009 – October 2009
    • ReNew Our Schools Committee Member Nov. 2007 – February 2008
    • District 428 Parent Advisory Council President Elect August 2006 – June 2009
    • District 428 Multicultural Committee Member January 2006 – August 2007
    • Chesebro Elementary School PTA Vice President June 2006 – June 2007
    • DeKalb Cooperative Preschool Membership Chair May 2004 – June 2005

    My request to you
    Thirteen years ago my husband and I moved to DeKalb. We knew little about the town and were unsure if we were just passing through or if we would make this our permanent home. We have now grown to a family of five and are proud to be raising our three sons in DeKalb. We have become very fond of this community and all that it has to offer. We give back as much as we can because we believe that quality of life is one of the greatest gifts any person can contribute to.

    It is my sincere hope that you have gained a better understanding of my motives for running for the School Board and vote for me in the coming election. I also hope you can recommend me to those close to you and anyone else who might vote on April 9th. Even if you are not a member of District #428, I would ask that you share your knowledge of me with those that can have an impact on the election and the future of our children’s education.
    I welcome your questions. You can reach me by email at

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