For Immediate Release
April 30, 2014

Applications Available to Serve on ISBE’s Student Advisory Council

High schoolers from across Illinois represent student interests

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education is now taking applications from eligible high school students interested in serving on the state agency’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) for the 2014-15 school year. Students attending a public high school in Illinois who are entering the fall semester as a sophomore, junior or senior are eligible to apply.

“It is a joy working with our Student Advisory Council,” said State Board of Education member Melinda LaBarre of Springfield. “They provide very important perspectives from classrooms across Illinois.” LaBarre is a former teacher and principal in Springfield District 186 and served as a member of the Springfield School Board from 2003 to 2009.

The Student Advisory Council, which was established in 1975, represents a diverse group of students who have demonstrated a strong work ethic and the ability to think creatively and work well in groups. Members share student concerns and can provide thoughts on ISBE’s existing and proposed programs, policies and regulations.

“They say the best way to learn is to experience it. Student Advisory Council provides students with so many amazing experiences. You are constantly learning new things,” said Morgan Rich, a member of this year’s council and a junior at Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School in Mackinaw. Morgan is in her second year on the council and will return for the 2014-15 school year as a senior member.

“Being a member of the council gives you a chance to inspire real change on the education system,” said Thomas Rice, a senior member of this year’s SAC. “It also gives members the opportunity to gain different perspectives on education and the issues associated with it." Thomas attends Dundee Crown High School in Sleepy Hollow. He plans to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he will study civil engineering.

Each year, the members of SAC select a topic that they research in depth and present to the State Board of Education. In previous years, the council has examined the effects of cyber bullying, the effect of mandatory physical education on high school students and district budgets, and the dropout crisis. This school year, members of ISBE’s Student Advisory Council are researching a standards-based grading system. They will present their research project at the State Board of Education meeting in June.

“Working on the project has been fascinating,” said Colleen Madden, a sophomore at Carlinville High School who is serving her first term on the council. “I’ve had the opportunity to get in contact with administrators from across the state, and they have been overall very positive and helpful. The data we have collected is prominent and useful.” Colleen will return next year as a junior on the Student Advisory Council.

Seven SAC members plan to return to the council next year. They are listed here with their school, city of residence and grade level for the current school year.





Colleen Madden

Carlinville High School



Brandy Brown

East St. Louis Senior High School

Washington Park


Shelby Ireland

Riverton High School



Khushi Suri

Proviso Math and Science Academy



Kayla Van Burg

Carlyle High School



Hannah Auten

Benton Consolidated High School



Morgan Rich

Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School



Those graduating this year after serving on ISBE’s Student Advisory Council for the current school year are listed here with their school and city of residence:




Destiny Alicea

Elgin High School


Ernesto Alvarez

Oswego East High School


Mary Casino

Grant Community High School


Tyler Cozad

O'Fallon Township High School


Richard Cunningham

North Chicago Community High

North Chicago

Miles Healy

North Clay Community High School


Thomas Rice

Dundee Crown High School

Sleepy Hollow

Rhett Warner

Taylorville High School


Sabrina Flohr

Collinsville High School


Austin Hansen

Naperville North High School


Danielle Segerstrom

LeRoy High School


“The ISBE Student Advisory Council is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only are you able to voice the concerns of your peers on a state level, the networking opportunities as well as the perspectives you gain through this experience are remarkable,” said Mary Casino, a senior at Grant Community High School in Fox Lake. In the fall, Casino plans to attend Butler University in Indianapolis.

The deadline to submit an application for the 2014-15 Student Advisory Council is 5 p.m. Friday, May 30, 2014. Interviews will be scheduled in July for those applicants chosen as possible members. For questions, contact Vince Camille at (217) 782-3007 or Additional information about SAC is available on ISBE’s website at

“All students should definitely apply to be part of SAC,” said Miles Healy, a senior at North Clay Community High School in Mason who plans to attend George Washington University in the fall. “Taking a role in SAC allows students to be a part of something larger than themselves, and the opportunity and responsibility should not be taken lightly.”

# # #

Follow us: follow us on facebookfollow us on Twitter Visit the official ISBE website at