D233 board 2019-04-23 017
Local News

District 233 board says farewell to Farrell, Scariano and welcomes Jackson, Legardy

The Homewood-Flossmoor High School community marked the close of a chapter in District 233 governance Tuesday night as long-time board members John Farrell and Jody Scariano attended their last meeting as board members.

The Homewood-Flossmoor High School community marked the close of a chapter in District 233 governance Tuesday night as long-time board members John Farrell and Jody Scariano attended their last meeting as board members.

  Board member Jody Scariano
  gets a group hug from the cast
  of the H-F High School spring
  play “Into the Woods,” who
  thanked her for her support
  of the arts over the years.
 (Photos by Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)

The community also welcomed two new members to the board, Pamela Jackson and Nathan Legardy, who were elected April 2 and joined the five incumbents in taking the oath of office to form a new board.

But the first half of the evening belonged to Farrell and Scariano, who together have 35 years of experience serving on the District 233 board.

Board members, students and residents took turns thanking them for their service and accomplishments.

The first accolades for Scariano came from drama teacher J.R. Rose and the cast of “Into the Woods,” the school’s spring play set for May 2, 3 and 4.

The group of students came to thank the board for its support, and Rose then singled out Scariano in recognition of her support of the arts over the years. 

“Jody, you have been our champion for so many years, supporting us in everything we do,” Rose said. “I’ve been here 17 years, we do seven productions a year, and I don’t think you’ve missed one.”

The students engulfed Scariano in a big group hug.

  Jody Scariao talks about her
  plans to continue advocating
  for students even though her
  20 years of service on the
  board of education came to
  an end Tuesday night.


The two outgoing board members also received praise from former board member Andrew Lindstrom. 

“I always said, when John Farrell speaks you better listen, because what he has to say is very important,” Lindstrom said. “He knows kids better than anyone.”

Farrell, who chose not to run for re-election, said he felt he had served long enough.

“It is time. Thirteen and a half years is enough,” he said. “I hope to stay connected. I’m not sure how that will look. It’s been a wonderful run, and I’m totally grateful,” he said.

He lauded the community that supports the high school.

“The word community is really the key. It really is a community of love,” he said. “If you love somebody you try to understand them, you try to accept them and you try to be good to them. And that’s what H-F is all about.”

Scariano was first elected in 1999. She finished sixth of 10 candidates for four seats in the April 2 election. She said she hoped district residents would remember her has someone who was “committed, consistent and caring.”

She noted that in two decades on the board, she missed only one meeting.

  John Farrell bids farewell to
  the District 233 board of
  education after serving
  nearly 14 years. 


“I have been a part of what I believe to be the best institution that I’ve ever worked with in my whole life,” she said. “This (election) has not been a loss for me but an opportunity to work on the other side of the table to continue to advocate for students.”

The board also heard reports from representatives of a number of groups, including the H-F Foundation, the Homewood-Flossmoor Employees Organization, the track and field teams and several residents.

One parent said he had appeared before the board last year to report that his child was experiencing bullying. He said Superintendent Von Mansfield and Principal Jerry Lee Anderson had responded to his concerns promptly and helped address the situation.

“Sophomore year’s been great. No bullying. She’s really been able to thrive,” he said. “Often you guys hear all the bad news.  I wanted to make sure we also celebrated something.”

Following the certification of election results, the board dissolved itself upon adjournment. After a short break, the meeting reconvened with Mansfield temporarily presiding as the board reorganized.

After the five incumbents and two newcomers took the oath of office, Steve Anderson was re-elected board president, and Gerald Pauling was re-elected vice president. 

“Thank you colleagues for putting your trust in me again,” Anderson said. “I will do my best … to serve the needs of the board and be open to the community.”

Pauling echoed Anderson’s pledge to be open and accessible to the board and the community. 

“I sincerely believe that our collective success occurs when we engage with each other,” he said.

Newcomers Pamela Jackson and Nathan Legardy addressed the board and audience for the first time as board members.

“I just took an oath of office that I take very seriously,” Jackson said. “I’m excited about bringing new energy, new ideas to the board. I am here to represent all of our students, all of our community and all of our staff.”

“These are big shoes to fill,” Legardy said of Farrell and Scariano. “Thanks both of you. Thanks six other board who have welcomed me. I am certainly looking forward to working with you guys, looking forward to learning and to contributing.”

In other business, the board voted to continue its regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the library of the South Building, 999 Kedzie Ave., in Flossmoor.

The board also voted to cancel the July 16 meeting.

During the votes on routine financial matters, one question was raised regarding the timing of summer school staffing.

The board was considering hiring 75 summer school staff members with a budget of $391,342. Board member Beth Larocca noted that the enrollment period did not end for another three days after the meeting.

“Does it make sense to move this to May instead of in April when the enrollment numbers are all in and we have a clearer picture?” she asked.

Mansfield said the enrollment numbers were stable enough to make hiring decisions. 

“We have a clear enough picture now,” he said. “Historically those numbers have filled in. We know that from past years, otherwise we would not bring that to the board.”

The board unanimously approved the measure.


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