Meet the Lake Forest School Board Candidate: Phillip Thomas

Phillip Thomas is running for the At-Large seat on the Lake Forest School District’s School Board. Other candidate Q&As can be found here: Austin Auen and Stephanie Justiniano Johnson.

Phillip Thomas

Age: 40

Occupation: Police sergeant

Educational Background: “Graduate of Lake Forest and furthered my education at Delaware State University for a year and a half prior to attending the Police Academy.”

Tell us about your involvement in the community?

“Through my current position as a police sergeant, I do multiple community activities most recently being a meet and greet with the Bear Den of Cub Scout Pack 141 in March. Since 2005, I have been involved in various schools participating as a mentor to the students, served on the Parent Advisory Committee for the district, served on the Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention Committee for the district, participated in Central Elementary Career Days and Job awareness, chaperoned North Musical Adventures, attended various PTO fundraisers and coached Little League baseball.”

How will your experiences shape your views on the school board?

“Participation in all of these activities gave me avenues to invest in the academic and social wellbeing of the Lake Forest students. I will continue to be involved in the community to keep abreast of current information and research to make decisions for our community.”

What are your top hopes and goals as a candidate?

“My top hopes are to see our district, students and staff succeed and strive to be a productive member of society. In addition, I will seek to help the Lake Forest Community grow and continue to be a productive and safe community.”

Where could LFSD improve?

“From my experiences with having children in the district, communication between parents and teachers could be improved. Also, I would love for the district to provide opportunities for our youth to have more activities in our community.”

What is LFSD doing well?

“Proactive in preparing for the future, hiring productive staff and retaining good teachers and administrators. Also, events like I Love LF Day, the Father/Daughter dance and Mother/Son dance.”

How should Lake Forest handle finances going forward as state leaders consider some school district funding cuts?

“They need to be very conscience of spending and explore other funding options to include grants.”

The final draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act has been released. What are your thoughts? How will this affect students in the LFSD?

“It is good that ESSA will hold all schools accountable for student performance. ESSA strives to ensure that all students are receiving quality instruction so they can achieve. Although some requirements can be handled differently, the overall intent is meant to help our students succeed. We are fortunate in the LFSD that our schools have been performing above the state average in most content areas and grade levels. I am confident that our staff and administrators will continue to improve instruction so that we will continue to grow. I have no doubt that our staff and administrators can help our students to be the best of the state.”

Bullying: Is this a problem for LFSD? What are your thoughts on how it is handled within the district?

“Bullying is a problem for every district. The policies are in place for LFSD and we need to make sure they are enforced consistently throughout the district.”

What else, if anything, would you like to tell voters?

“I am a graduate of Lake Forest and have lived in the district all my life. I have two children in the district (High School and Central) and I am aware of parental concerns. In my current position, I have an excellent understanding of the issues faced in the classroom due to the diverse backgrounds of the students. My ultimate goal is to see Lake Forest students become successful Lake Forest graduates.”

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