There will be some shakeup to the New Trier High School Board of Education in the spring if the New Trier Caucus has anything to say about it — and it usually does.
Two board members are not seeking re-election, while another is not slated by the caucus, which announced its selections last week for the April 2021 election.
The caucus picks feature three new faces for the four open seats. Absent from the slate are incumbents Carol Ducommun, of Wilmette, who has served three nonconsecutive terms; Marc Glucksman, of Glencoe, the current board vice president; and Greg Robitaille, of Winnetka, an eight-year board veteran and former board president.
Ducommun and Glucksman, both of whom were caucus-slated in 2017, are not seeking re-election, while Robitaille, also slated in 2017, petitioned the board but was not among the four choices, said caucus chairwoman Betsey Frank.
Robitaille declined to comment and it is unclear if he will seek re-election outside the slate.
Frank would not comment on specific candidates but said, “The caucus selections are based on the best candidates.”
“I feel that the caucus process was efficient and transparent, and the caucus selected the individuals that they felt were most qualified,” Frank said. “What we look for are candidates that can represent the entire New Trier community.”
The four-person caucus slate is led by incumbent Keith Dronen, of Wilmette, who is seeking his second term on the New Trier Board of Education after a long stint on the Wilmette District 39 Board of Education.
Others slated are Kimberly Alcantara, of Wilmette, an attorney who has served as a board member for Wilmette D39 and the League of Women Voters of Wilmette; Avik Das, of Glenview, a juvenile probation officer who is active with Avoca District 37’s Parent Teacher Council; and Sally Tomlinson, of Winnetka, a communications professional who is a Winnetka Community Nursery School board member. (Full caucus bios below)
The New Trier Caucus was established in 1954 and is composed of 45 township residents, many of whom are selected by town-based caucuses and volunteer to interview, vet and endorse candidates for the New Trier Board of Education.
Ducommun will retire from the board after 16 consecutive years of public service — 12 years with the New Trier School Board (2005-2013, 2017-2021) and four with the Village of Wilmette (2013-2017).
“I lived out my passions, serving my community, and it’s time to turn the reins over to other capable hands,” she told The Record.
New Trier Caucus slate bios (submitted by New Trier Caucus)
Kimberly Alcantara grew up in Michigan and has lived in Wilmette for 18 years. She graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a B.A. in Psychology and English, and holds a JD from University of Michigan Law School. She has served on various boards, including the Wilmette District 39 School Board and the Board of the League of Women Voters of Wilmette, and has both chaired and participated in multiple District 39 committees. Two of her sons have graduated from New Trier, and her youngest son is a New Trier freshman. Alcantara is an attorney at Friedman Law Group in Chicago.
Avik Das, a native and long-time resident of Glenview, has two daughters, one a New Trier ninth grader, the other an Avoca West fourth grader. He has actively participated in various school activities in support of his children from chaperoning extracurricular events to participating in various PTC activities. He holds a BA in American Studies from Northwestern University and a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is the Director and Chief Probation Officer of the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department of the State of Illinois, Circuit Court of Cook County, and has been a Juvenile Probation Officer for more than 20 years. He serves in various advisory boards and committees informing the criminal and juvenile justice fields locally and nationally and is a Fellow of University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy and a Certified Court Administrator of the National Center for State Courts Institute for Court Management.
Keith Dronen has served on the New Trier High School Board of Education since 2017. His committee work has included the Facilities Steering Committee, All‐School Forum, Special Education Parent Group, New Trier Educational Foundation, and Finance Committee; he also serves on the leadership council of the Northern Suburban Special Education District. He is a past president and board member of Wilmette Public Schools District 39. Keith is a member of the Illinois State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities. A graduate of Northwestern University and Chicago Kent College of Law, he has two sons who have graduated from New Trier and a daughter currently attending New Trier. He is the owner and principal at Dronen Financial Services LLC.
Sally Tomlinson grew up in Madison, Wis. and has lived in Winnetka for almost 20 years. She graduated with a BS from UNC Chapel Hill and an MBA from Kellogg. After a decade in advertising at Leo Burnett, she focused her time on raising her family and volunteering in the schools. As a board member of WCNS, she co-chaired the Winnetka Children’s Fair. She spent several years co-chairing multiple graduation, parenting and fundraising committees in District 36. While her son and daughter were at New Trier, she overhauled the Parents’ Press Newsletter among other efforts. She currently serves as a parent representative on the 2030 Strategic Planning Committee.