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: Lance Raver.
No. 1: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
"My wife, Jana, and I both grew up in Rantoul, and we both graduated from the University of Illinois. My degree is in finance, and I also have my CPA. We've got three daughters. Carly is a junior, Kate is a freshman and Shelby is in seventh grade.
"I am a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments. I've been a partner with the firm since 2002. Jana teaches over at Middletown."
Raver is a current member of the Mahomet-Seymour school board. He was appointed in 2015 after former board member Jeff Ingrum resigned. He was elected in the 2017 consolidated general election.
No. 2: What caught your interest about Mahomet?
"We moved to Mahomet for the quality of the schools. We wanted our girls to receive an education that would prepare them to attend a Big Ten-caliber university, and we are certain that Mahomet-Seymour will do that."
No. 3: Why are you running for the Mahomet-Seymour school board?
"I ran initially because I felt like I had a skill set that could benefit the district. I also take a lot of pride in the district. I'm very proud to say that my girls go to school at Mahomet-Seymour and that my wife is a teacher there. I just wanted to contribute the talents that I have to help continue making the district as great as it's been and help it get a little better going forward.
"In the last three years, I've been on the board, I feel like we've done really good things. There's still work left to be done. There's obviously building projects that we've completed, but additional ones are on the drawing board. As great as the educational outcomes have been, and being a top-30 district, there's always room for improvement.
"We can chase down some districts that are ahead of us. Mahomet-Seymour is a great district, and I just want to be a part of helping to make it better each year."
No. 4: What's something most people don't know about you?
"From a hobby standpoint, at this point with three kids in school, my focus is really on them and the activities they're in — Carly and Kate with their swimming or Shelby with volleyball. Between keeping up with their activities and academics and working full-time and my board responsibilities, that keeps me pretty busy."
No. 5: If elected, what would you consider an important topic as a school board member?
"As far as what the board does, I think it's important to realize that the board is really a policy-making board. We help to develop and review and approve policies. We are not designed to be boots on the ground in the building making daily decisions on daily operations. Our job is to be involved with policy as opposed to individual day-to-day decision making — that's what the administrators are tasked with.
"Maybe more of a vision of what we would like to accomplish ... I think there's four key points that myself as a board member and also as a parent and as a community member (would like to do).
One is making sure we have a safe learning environment. Obviously physical safety comes to mind. Emotional safety — think about that with our younger learners. They really need that emotional support and connection with their teachers.
"Academic excellence. Mahomet is extremely highly ranked in the state