For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

State Board welcomes 11 new members to Student Advisory Council

​Members to provide diverse perspectives on educational issues  ​

SPRINGFIELD – Twenty-one high school students from across Illinois will meet for the first time today as members of the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2019-20 Student Advisory Council. The council includes 11 new and 10 returning members from across the state. The council will provide the State Board with diverse student perspectives on education issues in Illinois as the Board formulates policy throughout the year. 
“Students’ voices have an important role in ensuring our education system is rooted in equity, quality, community, and collaboration,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “I applaud the outstanding young people on this council for committing to give their time and efforts to improve Illinois’ education system for themselves and their peers. I cannot wait to get to know the members of this year’s council and hear what they have to say.” 
The council will research and present to the State Board on topics affecting students’ success in Illinois. The students’ interests and the agency’s priorities and needs over the course of the year will drive the council’s research topics.  
“The State Board is proud to welcome this fantastic group of students to Springfield,” said ISBE Chair Darren Reisberg. “The Student Advisory Council has provided valuable insight to the State Board for more than 40 years. I know we can learn from our students and offer them a rewarding insightful experience in public service in return.”    
The council will continue to develop the Student Voices microsite at The Student Voices site provides space for students to ask and answer questions and access resources about preparing for college and career. Follow along with the council’s work on its independently managed Instagram account at​.  
The members of the council will meet Dr. Ayala and members of the State Board during the Board’s meeting in Springfield on Wednesday.  
The new members of the 2019-20 Student Advisory Council are: 
  • Saivasubha Chalasani, senior at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora 
  • Chloe Goodman, junior at Red Bud High School in Red Bud 
  • ​Joshua Hargrove, senior at Hinsdale South High School in Darien 
  • Tri Ho, senior at William Howard Taft High School in Chicago 
  • Mikayla Jackson, senior at Sangamon Valley High School in Niantic  
  • Theodore Johnson, junior at Urbana High School in Urbana 
  • Leo Krueger, sophomore at Vandalia Community High School in Vandalia 
  • Tucker Poshard, junior at Carbondale Community High School in Carbondale 
  • Andres Rivera, senior at Maine South High School in Park Ridge 
  • Amir Sykes, junior at Manual Academy in Peoria 
  • Nathaniel Youman, junior at Stillman Valley High School in Stillman Valley  
The returning members of the council are: 
  • Faith Drescher, junior at Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale 
  • Domenica Ferdinardo, senior at Ridgewood Community High School in Norridge 
  • Anna Foster, junior at PORTA High School in Petersburg 
  • Emma Gatz, senior at Metea Valley High School in Aurora 
  • Dylan Hu, senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire 
  • Z'Sanique Sanders, junior at East St. Louis Senior High School in East St. Louis  
  • Carter Shockey, senior at Freeport High School in Freeport 
  • Levi Siebers, senior at Liberty High School in Liberty 
  • Abbigail Thurman, senior at Rochester High School in Rochester 
  • Nicole Tong, senior at Naperville North High School in Naperville  
The Student Advisory Council last year provided input on topics such as equity, mental health, competency-based education, college and career readiness, special education, and technology in the classroom. View the group’s final presentation at  
ISBE will make applications for the 2020-21 council available in the spring of 2020. 
The State Board established the council in 1975. Learn more at​