For Immediate Release
Monday, September 28, 2015

State Board’s Student Advisory Council convenes for the 2015-16 school year

12 new students join five returning members to voice student education concerns

SPRINGFIELD — Seventeen sophomore, junior, and senior high school students from across the state of Illinois were selected as members of the Illinois State Board of Education’s Student Advisory Council (SAC). The teens conducted their first meeting of the school year at ISBE offices in Springfield on Sept. 22 and 23.

Members of SAC work with the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent, providing student perspectives and concerns on the state’s education policies.

“The Illinois State Board of Education believes it is vitally important to maintain a relationship with the students of Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “By engaging with these students, ISBE benefits from the insight of student leaders, leading to better learning and creating even more opportunities for success for the youth of Illinois.”  

The 2015-16 SAC includes 12 new members and five returning members. The new members of this year’s SAC are:

  • Seetha Aribindi, a junior at Hinsdale Central High School
  • George Baker, a senior at East St. Louis High School
  • Bridget Harris, a sophomore at Belvidere North High School
  • Elishua Johnson, a junior at North Chicago Community High School
  • Christopher Kim, a senior at Northside College Prep
  • Haydn Lambert, a senior at Monticello High School
  • Xiao Mei, a senior at Jones College Prep
  • Sally Nijim, a senior at Willowbrook High School
  • Alexander Palacios, a senior at Kankakee High School
  • Hayley Palmer, a senior at Carlyle High School
  • Kathleen Rock, a sophomore at Byron High School
  • Hannah Sunderland, a junior at Knoxville High School

The returning members of this year’s SAC are:

  • Niquan Dawson, a senior at Morton West High School
  • Mackenzie Flynn, a senior at Stillman Valley High School
  • Colleen Madden, a senior at Carlinville High School
  • Nicole Marcus, a senior at Naperville North High School
  • Travis Whitt, a senior at Altamont High School

Applicants to the SAC undergo a competitive review process and those selected exhibit strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work well in groups, think creatively and come up with innovative solutions. The SAC was established in 1975 and all sophomores, juniors, and seniors who attend an Illinois public high school are eligible to apply. 

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 SAC has examined the education funding system in Illinois, the effects of cyber bullying, the effect of mandatory physical education on high school students and district budgets, and the dropout crisis. Visit the SAC page online at