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Voter Guide: April 4, 2023 – South Suburban College Board elections

Background: The Lansing Journal made efforts to contact all candidates in the April 4 Municipal Election to gather information to share with Lansing voters. Using a “candidate info form,” we asked the same questions of each local office seeker. Answers were prepared and submitted by the candidates. We will be sharing the info race by race in a series of “Voter Guide” posts.

LANSING, Ill. (March 13, 2023) – South Suburban College is a community college located in South Holland that serves 18 local municipalities. The college is governed by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are elected officials. The South Suburban Community College District is also known as District 510.

With a population of 28,379, Lansing is the third largest of the 18 municipalities in District 510 served by South Suburban College. The South Suburban College Board of Trustees is responsible for appointing the college president and establishing his or her salary, setting policies for governing the college, approving the annual budget, and more.

The South Suburban College Board has seven members, and trustees are elected to four-year or six-year terms. This year, one four-year seat and three six-year seats are available.

South Suburban College Board – Three six-year seats open; eight candidates running

Sherelene A. Harris

Sherelene A. Harris (Photo provided)

Residence: South Holland

Education: Doctorate – Educational Leadership [Ed.D.]

Occupation: Educator – Retired, Associate Professor

Resumé highlights:

  1. Retired Professor, Chicago State University, College of Education
  2. Former School Administrator, Chicago Public Schools [AP-Alex Haley Academy]
  3. Former CPS Classroom Teacher. Taught grades PreK-8th; Civil Servant with City of Chicago prior to completing Bachelor of Arts in Education.

Goals and promises: It is my desire to work in cohort with the administration of South Suburban Community College and the Board of Trustees to bring the best programs, facilities, faculty, and staff to work toward fulfilling students’ academic goals, vocational pursuits, and continuing education goals which can aid in developing their skill sets, personal interests, and/or hobbies to create a self-fulfilling life thereby becoming positive minded contributors to our communities and society as a whole.

Venise Haynes

South Suburban College
Venise Haynes (Photo provided)

Residence: Hazel Crest

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business from Chicago State University. Master’s degree in Technology & Education from Chicago State University. Doctorate degree in Adult Continuing & Higher Education from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois.

Occupation: Retired

Resumé highlights: I am a retired educational professional and a nearly 26-year resident of Hazel Crest. I served at South Suburban College in the department of Adult Education, Richard J. Daley College as an Adjunct Professor in the department of Social Science, and at The Art Institute as an online professor where I taught Introduction to Computer Science.

Prior to academia, I was a carpenter for Chicago Transit Authority and later a manager in the department of Bus Heavy Maintenance. I understand what it means to be a non-traditional student as I did while working full-time and raising four daughters by herself.

My involvement in the community is as a food transitions coach, where I guide individuals in matters of nutrition in order to help their bodies heal from illnesses. I also teach people to choose vegan meals and instruct them on purchasing and preparing products. My vision is to see communities changing to a healthy diet in order to achieve optimal health. I not only talk the talk but walk the walk as I have been vegan for over 20 years.

I will bring significant educational leadership to the South Suburban College Board.

Goals and promises: To not only listen but hear the concerns of people in an effort to examine the full picture. To assist in the continuation of providing quality education for everyone.

Vincent E. Lockett

Residence: Country Club Hills

Education:

Occupation: In addition to his work in public service, Mr. Lockett is the owner and CEO of GCS Cleaning and Environmental Services. Mr. Lockett also has over 25 years of experience in the automotive finance and mortgage industries.

Resumé highlights:

  • Mr. Lockett was appointed to the South Suburban College Board of Trustees in 2021. There he serves on the Finance, Audit, and Architectural committees, where he provides valuable insight and contributions to the ongoing development of new academic programs, capital development improvements, and the overall positive financial health of the college.
  • A resident of Country Club Hills for over 30 years, Mr. Lockett is currently the Alderman of the 2nd Ward where he was elected for six consecutive terms. Mr. Lockett serves the Chairman of the Finance, Insurance, and Risk Management Committee while maintaining membership on the Parks and Recreation and Public Works committees. Mr. Lockett also has past experience serving as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee.
  • Mr. Lockett is a strong advocate for youth mentoring and is a proud sponsor of the Country Club Hills Cougars, Hazel Crest Mustangs, Midwest Hawks, Junior Olympics, and Special Olympics.

Goals and promises: Mr. Lockett is honored to serve on the Board of South Suburban College and is asking for your support on April 4th to continue fulfilling the college’s mission of serving students and the community through lifelong learning. As Trustee, Mr. Lockett will advocate for increasing degree and certificate programs, maintaining fiscal responsibility, fostering inclusion, expanding and modernizing facilities, and building partnerships with local industry to ensure the economic viability of the college district. Mr. Lockett will work to provide the community with access to quality, affordable higher education, and is committed to making South Suburban College the premier educational institution in the southland region.

Kisha E. McCaskill

Kisha A. McCaskill (Photo provided)

Residence: Harvey

Education: PhDs. Public Service Administration and Organizational Leadership (Capella); MSA. Public Service Administration (Spertus Jewish Institute); BS. Psychology and Sociology (Western Illinois University); Certifications in Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Business Management, Project Management, and Paralegal Services

Occupation: Executive Director, Harvey Park Districts

Resumé highlights: During my tenures with the Harvey Park District, with Harvey School District 152 Bylaw/Policy and Finance Committees, and with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, I:

  1. Relieved park district of $4.6 million deficit within first two years of employment and addressed 15 legal matters (contracted in 05/2015). Under my administrative leadership the district currently has surplus, is in good standing with the state, has zero legal matters, all balanced budgets and levy, passed seven annual audits, grant worthy and in good standing with GATA, and we provide the best and most consistent programming in the past eight years.
  2. Identified and addressed budget issues causing cross utilization and repetitive services, decreased legal fees, and forecasted areas of improvement to prevent misappropriation of funds across all departments.
  3. Subject matter expert for the inception of the Illinois Job Link Employment System Unemployment Insurance Claims and Employment connections (as Deputy Director of Employment Outreach Services). I was responsible for reinvigorating employment services to general jobseekers, veterans, youth, re-entry, and women in workplace.

Goals and promises: As an active Trustee I will work with the Board and collaborate with administrators to develop a roadmap for a better future for the students, faculty, and staff. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Increasing student enrollment, program completion, and graduation rates. Inclusive and equitable.
  2. Increasing SSC’s onsite presence in communities by partnering with local resources and municipal governments to provide onsite hybrid learning. This will also assist with early assessments to help significantly reduce the number of remedial classes. As an Adjunct Professor I understand the barriers to student comprehension and challenges of online learning. More accessible locations will help to eliminate the barriers and increase enrollment. Early assessments will assist with more informed curricula at the feeder school level.
  3. Increasing affordability to decrease student loan debt, especially for those students who exhaust funding sources without completion. Ongoing internal departmental audits to assess student success and personal challenges that may result in incompletion and high debt.

Ronnell “Art” Tatum

South Suburban College Board
Ronnell “Art” Tatum (Photo provided)

Residence: Riverdale

Education: South Suburban College

Occupation: Farmer/Gardener Coordinator

Resumé highlights:

  1. 2014-2016 SSC SGA President
  2. 2016-2018 SSC Student Trustee
  3. 2014-2018 Vice-Chairman of Thornton Township Young Democrats

Goals and promises: I will be the direct link of communication between the youth and the elders, the student body staff, administrators, and board, to maintain understanding balance and influence in the works and processes of our education plans.

Terry R. Wells

South Suburban College Board
Terry R. Wells

Residence: Phoenix

Education: Bachelors Degree from Illinois State University, Masters Degree From National Louis University

Occupation: Retired Teacher

Resumé highlights: I am running for reelection to the Board of Trustees at South Suburban College (SSC). I have been on the board since 2001 and was named Chairman of the Board last year.

I am also the Mayor of the Village of Phoenix, a position I have held since 1993, making me one of the longest serving mayors in the State of Illinois. I am the President of the Southland Regional Mayoral Black Caucus, and in 2021 I was named Chicago Defender Man of Excellence. I received the Jefferson Award for excellence in teaching in 2016 and was inducted into the Thornton High School Hall of Fame in 2019. In 2017 I retired from teaching at Thornton High School where I worked for 25 years as a History Teacher and Worked Based Coordinator. I have devoted 37 years of teaching from Middle School to High School. I could not have chosen a more rewarding career.

My wife Loretta and I have been married for 37 years and have three children.

Goals and promises: My goal is to continue to bring quality programs to South Suburban College. We just opened a Barber College last year; this fall we plan on opening a Cosmetology School on campus as well. We have a Construction Trades program that is growing in numbers. We are preparing students for the large infrastructure improvements that will soon be available in the construction field. We are going to break ground for our new Allied Health and Science building later this year. This 50-million-dollar project will train the next generation of health care professionals. It is my goal to bring programs to SSC that will train our residents for jobs that will be in high demand. If you would like to start your own business, the Barber and Cosmetology may be your thing. If you’re looking to work in an area where there is a huge demand, then we have it in Construction Trades and Allied Health and Science. If your finances are not ready for you to enroll in a four-year institution, then you can get an Associate Degree from SSC and save money. My goal is to make sure that we have a variety of programs available for everyone.

Tanjnique D. Miller

No information provided.

Anthony W. Williams

No information provided.

South Suburban College Board – One four-year seat open (unexpired term); two candidates running

Max Solomon

South Suburban College Board
Max Solomon (Photo provided)

Residence: Hazel Crest

Education: J.D./M.Th.

Occupation: Attorney

Resumé highlights:

  • Attorney licensed in Illinois and Indiana
  • Former Adjunct Professor, South Suburban College
  • Ordained Christian minister

Goals and promises: Expansion of College programs, with a special focus on affordable technical and trade training for young adults.

Kevin A. Daly

No information provided.

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The Lansing Journal will continue to cover local election news ahead of the April 4 elections. To view all election coverage so far, view our April 4 Election category. To make sure you don’t miss any future coverage, sign up for our free daily newsletter today:

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.