Newly Elected Members Take Seats on RBHS School Board


Liam Mathews, Staff Reporter

The bell rings, students begin to flood the halls on the way to their next class, the whole place is filled with sound as different groups of students talk, some elect  to stay silent, maybe listening to music, eventually everyone reaches their class and settles in as teachers prepare to start the lesson for the day. This is a pretty average day at Riverside Brookfield High School, and those who make it possible are the Board of Education.

Voters all across the RB community went to the polls last week on tuesday April 2, where they voted candidates Bill Durkin, Deanna Zalas and Tom Jacobs into office for their first term, while re-electing incumbent Laura Hruska. Incumbent Dr. John Keen and former Board president Matt Sinde were voted off.

Durkin, a Riverside resident, received more votes than any other candidate, edging second place finisher Deanna Zalas by more than 200 votes. This wide margin of victory may be in part due to Durkin’s extensive campaigning throughout Riverside, where many of his supporters posted yard signs. Durkin hopes he can help the entire Riverside-Brookfield community during his time on the board.

“My goals are to be an objective listener, and have an open mind to all stakeholders,” said Durkin.

Jacobs, who was by far the most liberal of the candidates promised that he would push to educate RB students on more civic issues, such as climate change. Jacobs also plans to improve communication between the student body and the Board of Education. He hopes to do this by introducing two non-voting, student members to the school board.

“This has worked very well in two high school districts in Illinois, and RB could become the third,” said Jacobs.

Deanna Zalas was the only first time candidate with experience in government, serving as Director of Risk Management for Cook County. Zalas was upset at the low voter turnout throughout District 208, but thanked those who did vote and got involved in the election.

Groups who actively participate in the political process are so important in a local race like this and their support is greatly appreciated,” said Zalas.

The fourth and final candidate to be elected to the Board of education, and the only incumbent who was re-elected, Laura Hruska, did not respond to multiple requests for comment by the Clarion.

The new group of Board Members joined incumbents William Smithing and Ramona Towner, both of whom’s term goes until 2021, in their first board meeting on April 23.