Voters will cast their ballot for four open seats on the Mahomet-Seymour board of education during the consolidated general election. Those asking for your vote include Julie Cebulski, Meghan Hennesy, Jeremy Henrichs, Ken Keefe, Jenny Park, Lance Raver, Colleen Schultz and Jason Tompkins. Each week, we will feature one candidate (in alphabetical order) in a Q&A style. This week: Jeremy Henrichs.
No. 1: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Jeremy Henrichs is a physician at Carle Foundation Physician Services, where he serves the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine branch in Champaign. He earned a bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan, along with an M.D. from the University of Illinois' College of Medicine.
"I grew up in central Illinois in the Cullom area. I've been in Mahomet since 2004. I met my wife (Christine) in med school at the UI, and she grew up in Mahomet. We have four kids (Annie, 16; Sam, 14; Ellie, 12; and Josef, 4)."
No. 2: What caught your interest about Mahomet?
Having met wife Christine, a Mahomet native, in med school, the two set roots in the Mahomet community 15 years ago.
"She continues to practice medicine at the Carle Clinic in Mahomet, and we have our four kids. We have a vested interest in seeing the school district thrive, and we really enjoy the Mahomet community and have formed some great relationships in the community.
"The school district is a really important part of the community, and Mahomet is very proud of its school district, and we want to continue to see that thrive and excel as we move forward."
No. 3: Why are you running for the Mahomet-Seymour school board?
Henrichs was appointed to the Mahomet-Seymour school board earlier in June, replacing board member Cheryl Melchi, who resigned May 22.
"The decision really hasn't changed. There's a desire to provide, or to see the school district provide, an opportunity for all who are in the Mahomet-Seymour community, and I really want to see the school district continue to thrive.
"The district has a great reputation academically and the community has a great representation with community involvement, and I think we need to continue that. The goal isn't test scores, we want to see our school produce individuals who are going to be future leaders in our community, and I think that requires a partnership between the community and the school district.
"The academics that Mahomet has been known for, we don't want to become complacent in anyway. We want to press forward. We want to encourage our administrator. We want to help our students grow academically. I think we've got to press forward and continue to raise the bar to achieve the excellence we want to receive on an annual basis.
"We have a great history, but that doesn't mean we get to rest back and enjoy the ride. We have to continue to press forward."
No. 4: What would you say is something most people wouldn't know about you?
For Henrichs, it all boils down to his commitment to his relationships.
"The things that are important to me are the relationships in life. Obviously, the relationships with my wife and kids are a priority, but that also extends to relationships within the community.
"We've been called, at least from my prospective as a Christian, to love our neighbor, and I think that is something all of us could work on. I know I fall short on a regular basis, so trying to keep that perspective of being generous and loving and kind, not just to my family and my friends, but others in the community that I come in contact with and extending them the courtesy they deserve.
"As far as interest goes, there's lots of different things people do. Life is about relationships and people and community, and I think communities thrive when people take care of each other and look out for each other. I think that it's easy to focus on yourself and sometimes we need to focus on others."
No. 5: If elected, what would you consider an important topic as a school board member?
"As school board members, we need to be representatives of taxpayers and the community. We have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources that have been given to us. Fiscal responsibility is obviously a very important part of that.
"I think it's also important that we provide a safe environment for our kids to thrive in. Parents want to pick them (their children) up at the end of the day and not have to worry about them. I think that's an important part of being a board member is to continue to work on the safety aspect, not only in the classroom, but with our student athletes as well; that's very close to my passion as well as a sports medicine doctor.
"(That) and continue to look elsewhere to upgrade our sports facilities. We have some really great facilities, but there's always change that needs to be made and continuing to review these properties and facilities that maybe aren't up to standard, I think that goes along with how we want to achieve excellence in the school district. We're always looking for a little bit of an edge to improve."