Dr. Tom Kostes was appointed to the board in 2006 to fill an unexpired term. Tom was first elected to the board in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. Dr. Kostes serves as the board president. He graduated from Tilden Technical High School and received his B.S. and Masters degrees from George Williams College. Tom earned his doctorate in education from Loyola University. He also holds a Chief School Business Endorsement from Northern Illinois University. Tom and his wife Carolyn have two grown children and five grandchildren. Dr. Kostes is retired from North Palos District 117.
Ian Chafee was appointed to the board in 2009 to fill an unexpired vacancy. He was elected to the board in 2011. Ian graduated from Oak Lawn High School. He earned a B.A. in computer science from North Central College. Ian and his wife Debra have two daughters who attend schools within the district. The couple remain deeply involved in the community, co-coaching youth soccer and softball teams through the Hickory Hills Park District. Mr. Chafee has been involved in coordinating and sending CARE packages to soldiers deployed overseas. Ian also is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcyclists that provides support for veterans and families of soldiers killed in action. Mr. Chafee brings a great deal of experience to the board in the area of technology.
Ron Moran was elected to the board in 2009. Ron graduated from Argo High School and attended Moraine Valley Community College and Winona State University. Mr. Moran graduated from the apprentice school for the IBEW Local 134. Ron and his wife Melissa have three daughters, two of whom attend schools within the district. Ron and Melissa have been involved in the community and the school district over the years, including PTAs and the Hickory Hills Baseball and Softball programs. Mr. Moran's background as a project engineer for an electrical contractor gives him a wealth of expe
rience dealing with construction management and contract issues. Ron also serves as a part-time electrical inspector with the village of Justice.
Debbie Groark was appointed to the board in September 2012. Mrs. Groark graduated from Stagg High School. She attended Moraine Valley Community College. Debbie and her husband Jay have two daughters. One daughter currently is a student in the district and an older daughter is an attorney. The Groarks have resided in Hickory Hills for 38 years. Debbie has been involved in the Girl Scouts for 30 years, including the last 18 years as a Girl Scout leader. Mrs. Groark remains a staunch advocate for a quality education for all students. Debbie will serve out the unexpired term of former BOE President Mark Gambla, who resigned to spend more time with family.
Chris Slowik was appointed to the board in 1989 to fill an unexpired vacancy. She was elected the following year to a four-year term. Chris was re-elected four more times and resigned from the board when her term expired in 2009. She served as board president for 12 years. Chris was appointed to fill an unexpired vacancy in 2012. Mrs. Slowik graduated from Morgan Park High School and attended Northern Illinois University. She and her husband Jim have four grown children and 13 grandchildren. Chris has been involved in the community as a past secretary for 'Better Funding For Better Schools' and a past president of local school PTAs. Chris also is the director of SCOPE, the South Cooperative Organization for Public Education.
Candy Kramer was elected to the Board of Education as a write-in candidate in April 2013. Mrs. Kramer graduated from Morton West High School. She attended Elmhurst College and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and an Elementary Education Teaching Certification. Mrs. Kramer earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Aurora University where she continued her education while receiving an Administrative Certificate in the school's Educational Leadership program. Candy works as the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning at Pleasantdale School District 107. She and her husband Mike have two children, both of whom attend District 117 schools. The Kramers have lived in Hickory Hills for six years. Candy enjoys helping out with all the activities in which her children are involved.
Tracy Sukalo was elected to the school board in April 2015. Mrs. Sukalo graduated from Argo Community High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She is a science teacher at Andrew High School in Tinley Park. Mrs. Sukalo received her first masters' degree in curriculum and instruction from Governor's State University and earned her second masters' degree in educational leadership from Lewis University. She also holds an administrative certificate. She and husband Tony have been married for 15 years and have three children, all of whom are enrolled in the district. Tracy and Tony enjoy participating in the activities in which their children are involved. Tracy coaches her daughters' seventh- and eighth-grade basketball team and is the assistant coach of her son's fourth- and fifth-grade basketball team, while she and Tony also coach their son's baseball team. Mrs. Sukalo ran for a seat on the school board because she believes in quality public education for all students, both current and future students. She said she also has a "personal interest in the continued success of District 117."