Dr. Tom Kostes
Dr. Tom Kostes was appointed to the board in 2006 to fill an unexpired term. Tom was first elected to the board in 2007. 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 where he served as superintendent.
Ron Moran was first elected to the board in 2009. He was re-elected to three additional four-year terms: 2013, 2017 and 2021. 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, all of whom have attended 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 experience dealing with construction management and contract issues. Ron also serves as a part-time electrical inspector with the village of Justice. Mr. Moran serves as the board's vice president.
Debbie Groark was appointed to the board in September 2012. She was elected to the board the following year and was re-elected in 2017 and again in 2021. Mrs. Groark graduated from Stagg High School. She attended Moraine Valley Community College. Debbie and her husband Jay have two daughters. both of whom attended District 117. The Groarks have resided in Hickory Hills for more than 40 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 quality education for all students. She attained the title of Master Board Member by attending various events, classes, and conferences. Mrs. Groark also completed the LeaderSHOP Academy for continuous learning and she serves as a Delegate-at-large with the South Cook Division.
Bobby Greene was appointed to the board in May 2017 and elected to a four-year term in April 2019. He grew up in Bridgeview and attended Argo High School. Mr. Greene graduated from Illinois Benedictine University where he played football and majored in sociology, which included a concentration in criminal justice. He spent 12 years as a police officer in Bridgeview before being injured on the job and retiring. Mr. Greene now works as an attorney. Bobby and his wife Jaclyn have two children in District 117. Mr. Greene said he believes in "giving back" to the community. "Volunteers are the backbone to great communities." Bobby serves as the board's secretary.
Debbie Chafee was elected to the board of education in April 2019. Mrs. Chafee is a business analyst trained in both accounting and finance. She is also a certified public accountant. Mrs. Chafee and her husband Ian, a former board member, have resided in Hickory Hills for more than 20 years and are the parents of two daughters: Grace and Katelyn. Mrs. Chafee said she ran for a seat on the board because she wanted to give back to the community and to share her extensive background in school district finance and school funding. She launched a one-woman crusade to stop a funding bill that would have cut millions of dollars from District 117. During the process, she became one of the most important and outspoken voices in the debate over education funding in Illinois. Mrs. Chafee founded an organization called EDGE Illinois (Everyone Deserves a Great Education) to inform parents and rally supporters. In the new funding formula, District 117 received an additional $1.3 million this year. "I feel very fortunate to live in such a great communiuty and to have such great schools for our kids," she said. "I want to be part of a group that works together to keep our communities and schools successful and strong."
Barbara Rebidas was elected to the board for a four-year term in April 2021. Mrs. Rebidas grew up in Chicago and graduated from Kennedy High School. She and her husband Jacek have two sons, Sebastian, an eighth-grader at Conrady, and Julian, a first-grader at Sorrick. The family resides in Palos Hills. Mrs. Rebidas received her Bachelor's Degree from Robert Morris College and her Master's Degree (MAS) from Governors State University. She oversees the bookkeeping for her husband's construction company. Mrs. Rebidas said she ran for a seat on the school board "to give back to the community." "I think the school district is doing a great job and I'm so appreciative that they kept the schools open all year. Julian is so happy to be in school." She said the family enjoys skiing and gets on the slopes as often as possible, including the annual trip to Colorado.
Ewa Bochenski was elected to the board for a four-year term in April 2021. Mrs. Bochenski grew up in Chicago and attended Hubbard High School through her junior year before moving with the family to Burbank where she attended and then graduated from Reavis High School. Ewa and her husband Jerzy have two children: Jakub, a sixth-grader at Conrady Junior High School and Emilia, a 1st-grader at Sorrick School. The family resides in Palos Hills. Mrs. Bochenski works in technology and assists companies register for trade shows. She also said she ran for a seat on the school board "to give back to the community that has been so good to my family and I." "We live in a great community with a great school district. I wanted to be part of that." Mrs. Bochenski said she is pleased with District 117 and the way it educates all its students. She acknowledged COVID-19 has made things difficult on a lot of people, especially kids. "But I'm really proud of the way District 117 has handled things with keeping schools open. Mrs. Bochenski said she enjoys spending time with family and friends.