Top row (left to right): Mr. Christian Copple, Mr. Jim Dombek, Mr. Alex Grados, Mr. James Chyllo
Bottom row (left to right): Mr. Eric Jones, Mrs. Beth Marie Evans, Mr. Michael DeVito
To start the 2023-24 school year, we are pleased to introduce three new members to the Sycamore Community School District 427 Board of Education. Please join us in welcoming Mr. Christian Copple, Mrs. Beth Marie Evans, and Mr. Alex Grados. We recently had the opportunity to ask a few questions and learn a bit more about our newest board members.
Tell us about yourself.
CC: I am proud to call Sycamore my home. I grew up here and graduated from Sycamore schools. I went on to attend the University of Iowa with the goal of becoming a history teacher. It was there that I realized I did not have what it takes to make it as a teacher and that a different career path would be a better fit for me. After graduating from Iowa, I attended NIU College of Law and practiced locally in DeKalb for a few years. I am currently an attorney at the Kane County Public Defender's Office where I represent hundreds of indigent clients in both juvenile and felony courtrooms. I have always had a passion for volunteerism and helping those in need. Public service played a large role in my upbringing and anyone who knows my family can gather where this passion stems from. My wife, Andrea, and I are happy to be settling down here with our two, soon-to-be three, boys. Our oldest is currently enrolled in Little Spartans and loves cheering on the Spartans at sporting events when he isn't cheering on the Hawkeyes. I believe life truly offers more in Sycamore and that our community is filled with people who share my passion for charity and lifting others up.
BME: I am 61 years old, married, and have two children, who attended Sycamore schools. I have six biological grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and others by marriage. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1991 with a B.S. in Education, and a Minor in Business. I have had a small business in DeKalb County for 23 years, and have resided in the county since 1985. I am the author of four books, a certified life coach, and a licensed minister. I have been a chaplain at CCDOC in Chicago and have written a newsletter for the incarcerated since 2007. I am currently the World Network Of Prayer (WNOP), Prayer Request Coordinator.
AG: I was born and raised in Sycamore and had the privilege of attending Sycamore schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Proudly, I graduated from Sycamore High School in 2022. Presently, I am a student pursuing a degree in Accountancy at Northern Illinois University. I would like to pursue a career in the realm of public administration. In my free time, I enjoy late-night runs and bike rides.
Why did you want to become a member of the 427 Board of Education?
CC: For as long as I can remember, Sycamore schools have been a cornerstone in our community and a point of pride for residents. The goals and values held by Sycamore schools are those of the community as well. I put my hat in for the School Board to help foster and promote those values in our schools while also ensuring that Sycamore continues to put its students first. I hope to not only maintain, but build upon the factors that made Sycamore schools so great for myself and many others when I was a student and athlete. There is always room for improvement, and it remains a goal of mine to make sure our district is open and accessible to all members of our community.
BME: A friend encouraged me to get involved in local politics. The Board of Education was on my heart, and what I felt to do after prayerful consideration. However, it was not a year for a consolidated election, so I initially ran as Precinct Committeeman. While out in my precinct doing this work, so many people I talked to were upset by the education system in general, and in particular things that they felt were immoral. This strengthened my resolve to get on the ballot, campaign to win, and be involved in keeping Sycamore 427 on the right track towards excellence.
AG: Being a former student in the Sycamore School District, I always had a keen interest in the organization's operations and made sure to keep up with the current happenings, especially during my time in high school. I strongly believe that the opinions and views of recent graduates can be incredibly helpful to the School Board, which is why I decided to run for a position on the board myself.
What excites you about serving on the 427 Board of Education?
CC: As a new board member, I am excited to build upon my existing knowledge of the district and community so that I can better assist our students, educators, staff, and community members. I enjoy working with people on problems ranging from districtwide policies to the smallest areas of concern. While the board plays a very limited role in the day-to-day functionality of our schools, it is important for board members to understand how the district functions. This promotes a better appreciation for how our decisions impact the lives of our students and stakeholders. I encourage anyone with concerns or interest in learning about what our role is to attend our meetings and review our agenda items. Also, I am very excited to be participating in the Curriculum Coordinating Council, the North Grove School Association, and the Calendar Committee.
BME: I am very excited to learn so many new things, and to be involved in, and excel in the committees I have been appointed to (Citizens Advisory, Curriculum Coordinating Council, and Financial Advisories). I want to do the best I can in this office for the students, constituents, fellow board members, and the district in general.
AG: I am excited to connect with students and their families in whatever capacity possible to ensure that the district serves their needs as best we can.