Wilmette, Elections

Jane Hong Shissler effectively drops out of race for Wilmette D39 School Board

After missing the county’s deadline to withdraw, Jane Hong Shissler is asking Wilmette residents not to vote for her in the race for Wilmette District 39 Board of Education.

Shissler is listed on the ballot — along with four active candidates for four available seats on the school board — but she told The Record that professional responsibilities emerged that would restrict her ability to capably serve as a board member.

“As weeks went on to holidays and into the new year, it was clear to me I’d have new obligations in my career,” she said. “When that came to light, I realized that I would not be able to give enough attention to the board role to do it justice and to serve the community the way I want and the way the community deserves. 

“I wish it were different, but we only have 24 hours in a day.”

Shissler, an attorney for an asset-management firm, said she was “very serious” about running for the board and began to campaign soon after she filed for candidacy in November. 

She reportedly designed signs and began building a website, but Shissler did not participate in the annual League of Voters-Wilmette voters guide or the league’s candidate forum Saturday, March 20, opening questions about her candidacy.

Things changed in Shissler’s professional life in January, she said, and in Cook County, the last day to file for withdrawal from a race was Dec. 17.

“I tried to withdraw Feb 2 and I couldn’t submit,” she said. “In the meantime, I had gone ahead and told all of my voters who signed petitions for me that I’m not actively campaigning.”

With Shissler effectively removing herself from contention, the District 39 Board of Education election features four candidates for four seats. 

Board President Lisa Schneider-Fabes and Jon Cesaretti are running for reelection, while Anne Hart and Bonnie Kim are newcomers. 

Incumbents Mark Steen and Ellen Sternweiler are not running. 

The four candidates met virtually for a forum Saturday, March 20, which was recapped by The Record.

Shissler, whose husband, Todd, is on the Wilmette Park Board, said she believes in the importance of local elections and would have been doing a disservice to residents by continuing her campaign.

“I see the impact that publicly elected officials have on their community,” she said. “Local elections really matter. … Local life is shaped by the leaders we elect into local offices. I take it very seriously, which is why I couldn’t just stage a run and do a half-hearted job. I’ve told everyone to not vote for me. … I won’t be able to fill the obligations of the role.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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