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New H-F board gets three new members, Anderson elected president

Steve Anderson of Homewood took his seat on the District 233 school board on Monday, May 1, and was elected to serve as its president.

  Three newly elected District 233 school board members
  on Monday, May 1. Serving Homewood-Flossmoor
  High School are Annette Bannon, Steven Anderson
  and Beth Larocca.
(Photo by Marilyn Thomas/H-F 

Steve Anderson of Homewood took his seat on the District 233 school board on Monday, May 1, and was elected to serve as its president.

“I’m proud to be in this chair and I won’t take it for granted for one second. I’m going to work my butt off for this school and it’s going to be great,” Anderson told the audience of about 40 people in the Homewood-Flossmoor High School library.
Anderson was sworn in with Annette Bannon and Beth Larocca, who defeated incumbents Andy Lindstrom, Richard Lites and Gerald Pauling in the April 4 election.
The three new members were welcomed to the board by their fellow board members after a meeting 30 minutes earlier in which the outgoing board voted to dissolve so that new members could be sworn in.
Anderson’s win as president and member Tim Wenckus’ election as vice president/secretary job came on 4-3 votes. Newcomers Anderson, Bannon and Larocca joined by Wenckus as a voting bloc. Board members Debbie Berman, John Farrell and Jody Scariano voted for Farrell for board president and Berman for vice president/secretary.
Wenckus welcomed the new board members, reminding them they have “big shoes to fill” but assured them “this will be a collaborative approach, just like we’ve always done.”
Current board members renewed their oath of office as Anderson, Bannon and Larocca were administered the oath pledging to: protect the district’s assets; agree to free expression; work to maintain the privacy of students and employees; promise not to act as an individual but only as a majority vote on the board’s legal authority; and recognize the right of fellow board members to seek changes through ethical and constructive dialogue.
Anderson, who served 10 years on the Homewood District 153 school board, said he was “humbled” to be elected to the board and to serve as its president.
As the previous board retired, Lindstrom gave parting words saying, “H-F will always be a part of me. The challenge now is which one of you will pick up the red and white (school colors) banner and ask the rest of your members and administrators where their red and white is. It’s important. It lets kids know that you care.”
Pauling, in his final remarks as a board member, said his intention in accepting a board position five years ago was to “help other students to find their pathways” as someone helped him when he was an H-F student. 
He thanked his family, friends, community and fellow board members for the support they’d given him. 
With Pauling and Lites off the board, there is no African American representation. The student population is 68 percent African American. 
Pauling said he has noticed a change in the conversation about and the treatment of people in the community, especially over the past year. 
“I think we have to have some conversations about that. We need to have some conversations about race, about diversity and about inclusion and about the fact that those are things all of which matter in a community like ours,” Pauling said.
His suggestion was later seconded by Susan Bass, a 45-year resident of Flossmoor, who said the community had “never, ever had a diversity problem” until this last year when “all of a sudden we’re very, very divided. It’s a sad commentary.”
Curtis Walker, a Flossmoor resident and father of six, said he chose to move to the community, adding “we’ve been very happy with the school board’s decisions.”  He told the new board he has “high expectations” of them.
Bannon said,  “I appreciate the comments that were made by the individuals. I feel the same way. The H-F community is not about division; it’s about unity. I look forward to it.”
Anderson reassured the audience saying, “I’m here for everybody.”

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