Student Voices

Resources for Students by Students - Home of the Student Advisory Council​​​​

ISBE’s Student Advisory Council welcomes you, the students of Illinois, to explore resources and ask questions that we can bring to the State Board from a student’s perspective. We are here to represent you and we want to hear your voice!

Each year a group of students are chosen from around the state to be student advisors to the board. This group of students have the opportunity to see the State Board’s policymakers in action and work with them to provide student perspectives and concerns on the state’s education policies. Students come together a handful of times throughout the year and work remotely on a research project that is presented to the Board. Applications are available in the spring and students are chosen over the summer with their work beginning in September and culminating with a presentation to the Board in March.​​​​​​​​​

Application for Student Advisory Council Now Open!

Are you passionate about education policy and want to use your voice to represent the students of Illinois?

Applications for the 2020-2021 Student Advisory Council are now open. If you are interested in applying and you are going to be a sophomore, junior, or senior at a public high school during the 2020-2021 school year, please submit your application by 5:00 p.m. on May 29, 2020.

Meet the 2020-21 Student Advisory Council

Congratulations to the Illinois State Board of Education 2020-21 Student Advisory Council. The 21 members will provide ISBE with student perspectives and concerns on the state's education policies.  The main focus areas for the 2020-21 Student Advisory Council are to develop ways to respond to post-COVID 19 achievement gaps, create a diversity, equity and inclusion framework, ensure the safety and emotional well-being of students, and address the teacher shortage and rethink recruitment​​​.

Talib Becktemba-Goss

Talib Becktemba-Goss is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. At his school he serves on three advisory and equity committees, plays varsity football and runs his own non-for-profit called OFA. In his free time, Talib likes to volunteer in his community and at the school his mom is the principal of, Legacy Charter School. He also likes to play football with his teammates and hang out with friends.

​Ranyia Cox

Ranyia Cox is currently a sophomore at East Saint Louis Senior High School. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. At her school, Ranyia is involved in numerous activities including Sr. Beta, AP Ambassador, Student Council, the Peace Warriors, and Trio Upward Bound. She also participates in Washington University College Prep. In her free time, she enjoys running her business, baking, and listening to music.

Faith Drescher

Faith Drescher is currently a senior at Hinsdale Central High School. This is her third on the Student Advisory Council. At her school, Faith is President of Future Educators of America, Ambassadors, and Red Devil Leaders. In her free time, she enjoys tutoring low-income students and thrifting with friends.

​Anna Foster

Anna Foster is a senior at PORTA High School. This is her third year on the Student Advisory Council, and she is currently serving as public relations officer for the council. In her free time, Anna likes to volunteer in her community and is involved in numerous extracurricular activities in her school i​ncluding cheerleading, student council, and band.

Cruz Garza

Cruz Garza is currently a sophomore at Zion-Benton Township High School. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. At school, he is a Choir Officer and a cheerleader. In his free time, Cruz is a part of Destination Imagination. He also plays the ukulele, runs a jewelry shop, but most importantly, advocates for others.

Jimma Gass

Jimma Gass is currently a senior at Eldorado High School. This is her first year as a member of the Student Advisory Council. At her school, Jimma is the President of the Student Body, Student Council and National Honors Society. In her free time, Jimma enjoys volunteering at her local wildlife refuge, hanging out with friends, and hiking.

Chloe Goodman

Chloe Goodman is a senior at Red Bud High School, and this is her second year on the council. In her free time, Chloe enjoys spending time with friends, fishing, and taking photos. Chloe volunteers at a local children’s Bible study, raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, is a member of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association Youth Group, and participates in Girl Scouts.

America Gutierrez

America Gutierrez-Trejo is a senior at Collinsville High School. This is her first year on the council. She is the student representative of her school district. She is also involved in the Student Advisory Club at her school, and is president of Leo Club. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring Hispanic students, hanging out with her family, and dancing.

Kiersten Hornberg

Kiersten Hornberg is currently a senior at Huntley High School, and this is her first year on the council. Kiersten is a leader of her school’s Civic Engagement Club and is an active member of Huntley High School’s Student Leadership Council. In her free time, Kiersten enjoys reading, cooking, staying active, and spending time with friends.

Theo Johnson

Theo Johnson is a senior at Urbana High School in Urbana, and this is his second year on the council. Theo is involved in Habitat for Humanity and the Champaign-Urbana Youth Climate Justice Forum, and he is currently working for a local political campaign. He enjoys reading novels, walking, and spending time with his family and friends.

Leo Krueger

Leo Krueger is a junior at Vandalia High School. This is his second year on the Student Advisory Council. Leo is involved in various extracurriculars and clubs. He holds a number of leadership roles in his school and community. In his free time, he likes biking, spending time with pets and family, and traveling.

Hannah Lawrence

Hannah Lawrence is currently a senior at Lane Tech College Prep in Chicago. This is her first year on the council, and she is currently serving as vice president of the council. In her free time, Hannah likes to listen to music and spend time with friends and family. She also leads art-related clubs in her school. Outside of school, Hannah holds leadership positions on a city level with an organization called Mikva Challenge.

Tucker Poshard

Tucker Poshard is a senior at Carbondale Community High School. This is his second year on the Student Advisory Council. At his school, Tucker is involved with many activities. He is an all-state cross country runner, peer tutor, and president of Young Democrats. In his free time, he can be found looking for new music, hiking with friends, or cooking with his mom.

​Lia Rivera Mendoza

Lia Rivera is currently a sophomore at Jefferson High School. This is her first year as a member of the Student Advisory Council. At her school, Lia is involved in numerous extracurricular activities, such as tennis, track and field, soccer, and is part of the team leaders of the Latin Culture Club. In her free time, Lia enjoys playing the guitar, exercising, and spending time with her friends, family and pets.

​Langston Span

Langston Span is currently a sophomore at Champaign Central High School. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. At his school, Langston is involved in swimming and diving, African-American Club, and is planning to join the Debate Team. He enjoys writing and planning out projects or major events.

Amir Sykes​

Amir Sykes is currently a senior at Manual High School. This is his second year on the Student Advisory Council. At his school, Amir is involved in numerous activities, including Marching Band, Student Council, and the local Board of Education. He enjoys gaming and spending time with friends and family.

Serena Thakkar

Serena Thakkar is currently a junior at St. Charles East High School, and this is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. At her school, she is the vice president of Key Club, a leader of Hope Club, and the features editor for the newspaper. In her free time, you can find Serena reading or spending time outdoors with her sister.

Araha Uday

Araha Uday is a junior at Schaumburg High School. This is her first year on the SAC. She also serves as a student trustee on her local library board, and is involved in the Junior State of America, speech, and golf at school. Araha loves sketching and reading in her free time.

Eric Veal Jr.

Eric Veal Jr. is a junior at Willowbrook High School. Eric is a native of Chicago and now resides in Lombard, Illinois. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. Eric is active in over 17 clubs and extracurriculars at his school. When Eric is not working at school or leading an after-school meeting, Eric enjoys traveling, working in equity and education, activism, watching politics, and spending time with family and friends.

Nate Youman

​Nate Youman is a senior at Stillman Valley High School. Go Cardinals! This is his second year on the ISBE SAC, and he’s looking forward to being a voice to students across the state. You can email him at nate.youman@lrcomm.com to talk about anything and everything you want to see implemented at a state level.

Kaitlyn Zhou

Kaitlyn Zhou is a senior at Neuqua Valley High School. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council, and she is currently serving as president. At her school, she is the editor-in-chief of The Essence, as well as a captain for Science Olympiad. In her free time, she likes to draw, play violin, and further find ways to better the community.​​​​​​​​​​​

  • 2019-20 SAC Final Project

    The Student Advisory Council presented their final project​ to the Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. This year, the SAC went in a new direction with the focus of the group. Rather than one large annual project, the SAC split into six focus groups to more efficiently examine the biggest issues facing students in schools today. Additionally, the SAC reached out to every 2018-2019 applicant in hopes of collaborating with them to develop the Student Voices website.

    Explore More...​​

    •   Student Support
      We recognize that many of you have to deal with some pretty heavy issues on top of your education.
    •   Plan for Your Future
      ​We are committed to supporting schools and educators that enable every child to graduate from high school college and career ready.
    •   Funding Your Future
      It's never too early to start planning for the cost of your future.
    •   Student Work Information
      The first step in preparing for a future career is simply getting your foot in the door!
    •   Student School Requirements
      If you’ve ever found yourself sitting in class wondering, ‘Why is the school making us do this?’ then this is the page for you!​​​​​​​​​​​

     In the News

    Meetings

    There are no meetings scheduled at this time.

    Social Media​

    Submit a question / quote ​/ suggestion​

    If you have an idea for this webpage, any questions or a quote of the week, please let us know!​

    "You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."

    - Marcus Aurelius


    submitted by: Rinna Kim

    Contact Information