Superintendent's Message, 2.2.2016

The passing of KCSD96 Board of Education member Lauren Gordon on Feb. 2, 2016, is a deep loss to the District community. Mrs. Gordon’s heartfelt passion for children’s learning–both academic and social/emotional–was immediately apparent to those who knew and worked with Lauren.

She proudly took her seat at the Board table for the first time in April 2011 and in 2015 was elected to a subsequent 4-year term. Mrs. Gordon embraced her responsibilities from the first, seeking out and taking full advantage of every opportunity to learn, ask questions, and understand deeply the needs of students and faculty and the process the Board of Education follows to meet them.

She excelled at focusing on details, which contributed to her effectiveness as a member of the Policy Committee. That talent and her thoughtful reflection ensured that Board colleagues listened closely when she shared her opinions. She considered very deliberately every Board decision she made, asking questions until she was confident that the action was the right one for the District.

Before she served the community as a Board member, Mrs. Gordon devoted hours and energy to her work for the PTOs at Willow Grove, Ivy Hall, and Twin Groves Schools. As Ivy Hall PTO co-president from 2008 through 2010, she introduced popular after-school programs and increased family participation, enhancing the elementary learning and school community experience for hundreds of students and parents, as well as their teachers and support staff. 

She contributed significantly in myriad ways as a Board member and Board secretary, but perhaps will be most fondly remembered for her keen interest in and passion for students’ social/emotional learning (SEL). Mrs. Gordon was the Board of Education representative on the District’s Social/Emotional Learning Committee and was elated and encouraged by the progress the District made in recent years in framing SEL and helping parents, faculty, and Board colleagues understand the importance of educating the whole child.

Extending learning opportunities for all students, including high-performing students, was also critically important to Mrs. Gordon. In her discussions with Board members, she referred often to the District’s mission to ensure that every child achieves his or her maximum potential. Thus, she wholeheartedly supported the move to standards-based grading and reporting, ongoing professional development for faculty, instructional coaching, and the academic rigor introduced through the scaling of new standards and targets.

Mrs. Gordon understood the significance of her work as a Board of Education member and gave every aspect of it her full attention–from responsible financial stewardship and a 21st-century long-term outlook to the needs of every child in every school.

Lauren was a devoted and loving mother who held nothing back in committing to her work as a volunteer for the District 96 community. We will dearly miss her discernment, her intellect, her wry humor, her passion, and her presence at our Board table. Along with her Board colleagues Marc, Renee, Liz, Jim, Mike, and Cynthia, I count myself truly fortunate to have had the privilege to work together.