New Board of Education Members Seated

Three new board members were sworn into office at the Hawthorn School District 73 meeting this week. Members Matt Jacobs, Wes Polen and Julie Simpson replace outgoing members Jeanne Engelkemeir, Lou Gatta and Ghita Mueller. The new board members are serving four-year terms that expire April 2021.

Retiring board members accomplished an extraordinary amount of work in the four years they served on the school board. Board President Jeff Bard highlighted some of those accomplishments that included redistricting the schools into neighborhood schools, approving a 5-year Strategic Plan for the district, approving an Intergovernmental Agreement with Mundelein District 75 to lease Lincoln School for its preschool and early childhood program, approving a Hawthorn Education Association contract, approving an Educational Facilities Master Plan, approving full day kindergarten, rolling out one to one technology in the middle schools, expanding dual language through eighth grade, and entering into discussions with the Vernon Hills Park District  to construct a kindergarten center adjacent to the Sullivan Center.

Following is a highlight of the elected candidates.

Matt Jacobs has lived in Hawthorn District 73 since 2007.  He and his wife, Abra, have lived in the Deerpath neighborhood since 2013. Their two children, Colin and Ryan, will attend Aspen Elementary School in the fall 2017.  Matt has volunteered his time in charity work through his cover band, and with umpiring and coaching baseball and softball through the Vernon Hills Community Baseball organization.  He has a Bachelor of Science in business administration, and is currently a Quality Assurance Analyst for W.R. Berkley Corporation in Naperville.

Wes Polen resides in Vernon Hills with her husband, Scott, and their two children. She actively participates in the Hawthorn community by volunteering at various PTO and school events, and as a Midwest Young Artist Conservatory parent volunteer. Wes holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is currently a chief operating officer for a government relations consulting firm in Chicago.

Julie Simpson has lived in the Hawthorn District 73 community since 2006. She and her husband, Jake, live in Vernon Hills, with their two children. One school age child attends a Hawthorn school. Julie studied political science at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. While in school, she served a term on the school’s judicial affairs board. She also spent a year as a resident assistant. Julie has been a stay at home mom since 2009. She currently cares for her infant son and has spent time the last few years volunteering in D73 schools.

After the new members were seated the board was reorganized as follows – Sonali Patil, President; Jayson Tran, Vice President; Wes Polen, Secretary..