Deerfield Parents, Community Members Endorse Three Candidates for the 109 School Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2022

Deerfield Parents, Community Members Endorse Three Candidates for the 109 School Board

DEERFIELD, Ill. (Tuesday, November 29) -- The 21 members of the Deerfield District 109 Caucus comprised of volunteer parents and community members are endorsing three candidates for the 109 Deerfield Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education. The candidates will be running for the three open seats in the April 4, 2023, election. Each seat is for a four‐year term.

To gain the Caucus’ endorsement, these candidates participated in an extensive vetting process that included detailed written answers and interviews.

“Deerfield parents and community members engage with potential candidates in a very thorough and careful caucus process,” said David Mutnick, Caucus Chair.

"We support these three candidates as each recognizes the opportunities to continue to provide Blue Ribbon quality education, while identifying that students are also in a recovery period following years of disrupted learning,” Mutnick continued.

The endorsed candidates are:

Rosie Bonar, a Financial Controller, is a wife and mom of two who has lived in Deerfield since 2013. Both of her sons attend 109 schools—one at Shepard and one at Walden. She earned her BS in Business majoring in Finance and Accounting while working full time from the University of Phoenix. She has over 20 years’ experience working in the private sector in service-related industries. She has volunteered at Walden for several years where she utilizes her financial and service-related expertise to evaluate and create processes where needed for efficiency as well as participating in ways to keep families and the school connected.

I believe one of the most important things when introducing new ideas – is understanding what is the foundation you are working with – and ensuring that new ideas continue to build this foundation,” Rosie says. “I come with a strong background in fiscal responsibility, so my perspective on finances, balancing budgets, factoring rising costs in our current economy can lead to open discussions and new ideas. I also come from a unique background that greatly appreciates the current Mission and Vision of the District. My ideas would focus around the current vision, finding ways on how get our students to be emotionally resilient, to think beyond our classrooms.”

Dr. Mitchell Dornfeld, a licensed clinical psychologist, has two daughters one at South Park Elementary and one who will be. Mitch and his wife have lived in Deerfield for six years.

I am so thankful for the Deerfield teachers, coaches, and school board members who go above and beyond their job descriptions,” Mitch says. “I believe it is my turn now to give back and help to make a better future for my daughters and for the entire Deerfield community."

As a clinical psychologist, Mitch understands the importance of listening to all sides of an issue and working collaboratively to solve problems, as well as the critical role mental health plays in our children’s education and development.

"The mental health of our kids coming back from COVID e-learning continues to be a concern. I care deeply about social-emotional learning as well as academic excellence and believe my experience working with children and families could provide valuable insight into the needs of our students,” he says.

Mitch holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a doctorate in psychology from Loyola University Maryland. For five years, he worked as a child psychologist and clinical supervisor at Morrison Child & Family Services in Portland, Oregon, a nonprofit organization providing mental health services for low-income youth and families. Currently, Mitch is a licensed clinical psychologist at Gersten Center for Behavioral Health, serving children, adolescents, adults, and families.

One of the endorsed candidates is currently a board member, looking to continue his commitment to public service. He is:

Ryan Kuo, a business executive, and US Army veteran has lived in Deerfield for more than 9 years. Ryan and his wife are parents of three DPS students, Collin (11, Shepard), Rylee (9, Walden), and Reed (6, Walden). He has served on the DPS 109 Board of Education since 2017. During his time on the Board of Education, Ryan has served as the Chair of both the Finance and Facilities Development Committees as well as spent significant time working to ensure our schools returned back to in-person learning during the height of the pandemic.

“I want to serve the community, and I believe this is the best place to do it," Ryan says. "While my primary desire (and motivation) is to ensure that the District continues to provide top notch education, I also understand that there is an additional benefit that must be balanced for those residents in the District that do not have children attending our schools. Balancing their tax contributions through effective oversight of District finances, while ensuring the top performance possible ensures that the property values, and attractiveness of new construction continues to increase."

More biographical information about the three endorsed candidates is available on the Caucus website

The Caucus Process

Caucus members are residents and parents in District 109, who come from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds.

“These 21 Caucus members represent a vibrant cross-section of our community, and many of them are serving for the first time,” Mutnick said.

Nearly all have children in 109 schools. Most serve, or have served, in various roles within the community and or/ school district, including as part of PTOs, 109 task forces, and others.

After more than three hours of lively deliberation and voting, the Caucus finished endorsing the three candidates around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, November 15.

“I am continually impressed with the thoughtful discussions from our caucus members during the deliberation process," Mutnick continued. “The questions that were asked, and even more importantly the answers given by the candidates showed that Rosie, Mitch and Ryan will be good stewards of our schools.”

First-time member Shannon Sword said that she was impressed by the commitment of the Caucus members, and the time spent during the process.

“The discussions held after the final interviews was truly a special thing to be a part of. Everyone in the room is provided an opportunity to share their opinions on each candidate in a safe and non-judgmental space,” Sword said. “These candidates had all done their homework, spoken with current and past Board members to learn about the role, and came to the caucus interviews prepared. We as Caucus members also did research, talking to a current board member and getting the perspective of the Superintendent on what is required of a Board Member to ensure we endorse the best candidates."

The DPS District 109 Caucus is a nonpartisan, community-based organization dedicated to maintaining and expanding the tradition of excellence manifest in Deerfield's elementary and middle schools, with its role in candidate endorsement at the core of its commitment to the citizens and students served by District 109 schools.

All candidate interviews were in-person and were available for the public to attend.

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