top of page

I am running for re-election on the platform of Communication, Collaboration, and Change.


  • As a trained counselor, I have demonstrated my ability to LISTEN to varied perspectives on issues from fellow school board members, community members, parents, school staff members, and students. 

  • While serving as the board president, I have communicated clear expectations for board meetings and have consistently responded to emails sent to the board. 

  • I have collaborated with district administrators before, during, and after board meetings.

  • I have solicited the perspectives of staff members during district committee meetings. 

  • I have fostered healthy collaborations with board members in D207 and its other feeder districts. 

  • District 64 is experiencing change--four board positions and a superintendent. Thankfully our frontline teachers and staff are staying consistent. Since I have been on the board since 2019, I can effectively support these transitions. 

  • I seek out professional development opportunities through the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) in the spirit of obtaining ideas to better the board and district.  


Screen Shot 2023-03-06 at 11.36.27 PM.png
Screen Shot 2023-03-06 at 11.38_edited.jpg

Tammy Fraley


PR Resident since 2021

Denise is an experienced member of the board that is prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. She has proven her ability to lead through change and has managed the district through the unprecedented times of the pandemic while at the same time planning the transition from

part-time to full-time kindergarten. She is someone that can undoubtedly lead the district to success in the search for a new superintendent and the welcoming and training of new board members. She works to support the vision of the district and will improve the educational and social-emotional experiences for our students, staff members, and families.  While I only met Denise in the fall of 2021, I have been impressed by her ability to communicate with those of us in the community. She is open, honest, and really listens.

The pandemic was not the best of times for schools and school board members. During school board meetings that were subject to controversy and confrontation, I admired how Denise Pearl kept her cool and respected others’ ability to speak their mind while also respecting the facts and enforcing meeting norms about process and decorum. I kept on watching and thinking, 'This woman is tough!'

While divisiveness continues to impact governance at the state and national levels, I believe with all of my heart that local government is a special place where those wounds can be healed through level-headedness and respect for collaboration. Denise has those characteristics in spades, plus a robust background in education. I want board members who will value and support D64’s teachers, administrators, and all students while also ensuring accountability, efficient use of tax dollars, and academic performance. Our schools have done so much for our sons, who have very different educational needs. 

 Denise's Presidency of D64 School Board overlapped with my Presidency of the D207 School Board, notably during Covid. It was an honor and a privilege to collaborate with Denise and experience her excellence, character, and commitment as she led D64 through unprecedented times and continues to do so. I have also gotten to know Denise personally and there is no one more singularly focused what is best for D64 while also respectively listening to all opinions with integrity and transparency.
The community cannot afford to lose her.

Rebecca Heneghan

Community Volunter & Former PTO President

​I first met Denise Pearl while we were both serving as PTO president many years ago. At that time, she seemed experienced and knowledgeable where I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed. She always asked great questions at the district meetings and was not afraid to give feedback. Her experience in education and counseling made me support her when she ran for the school board initially. Denise’s experience as a trained counselor brings the skills of communication we need for our school board. Now after four very tough years on the board, she has decided to run again. Denise has raised kids in our community and knows our district. She led us through such difficult times during the pandemic with grace and open communication even while our community showed no such grace. Her experience and leadership as board president is going to be crucial with four open seats and a new superintendent. Thank you Denise for serving our community. We are lucky to have you as a candidate again!

Melissa Hulting

Current PR Park Board Commissioner 

Paula Besler, JD

D207 School Board President 2019-2022

D207 School Board Member


Maureen Hartwig

Former Alderperson & PTA President

I am drained after I attend public comments of just one D64 Board Meeting. I keep wondering why Denise Pearl would want to run for another two years for School Board.

But knowing Denise, this speaks to her strong character. She is tough, she cares deeply about the community and she is focused on doing the job well. I am so grateful 

I believe Denise will continue to focus on the things I want: bringing stability to the district, serving all students, effectively collaborating as a Board and not micromanaging the administration.

I met Denise when we both served as PTA/PTO Presidents at Franklin & Emerson. I always admired how effortlessly she took on this role. I was the one nonstop complaining. Since then, we’ve worked together on another project. Denise has a strong
work ethic and brings a desire to learn & collaborate. A researcher at her core, she is focused on the data to guide her. While she has a desire to find consensus, she is not afraid to speak her mind & stand up for her beliefs.

These are the qualities I want on the D64 School Board. During Denise’s tenure, she navigated a lot with pandemic restrictions and public feedback. She has been a leader during difficult times and remained focused on collaborating even with lots of differing opinions.

I want Denise’s extensive experience during this important time of transition at D64. She will be critical to onboard a new superintendent and new board members. I know Denise will continue the work she has done to ensure D64 is a strong district for all students, parents, educators, administrators & taxpayers.

Jim Argionis 

Community Advocate & former elected Chicago Public Schools Local School Council Community Representative


From my many years of experience in community volunteer positions and as an elected school council representative, it is my opinion that Denise has the knowledge, the temperament, the courage, and the tenacity to continue to serve our school district. She showed exceptional leadership and courage to make tough decisions during a very difficult time for school boards. She gained my and my family’s support when we observed her making decisions in the best interests of our students and our teachers despite being attacked personally.


We need elected officials like Denise. I strongly endorsed her for D64 School Board. 

As a resident of Park Ridge, I am in full support of the reelection of Denise Pearl for the Two Year School Board term. I have served on committees with Denise in both D64 and D207. She is fair, thoughtful and honest. Her commitment to what’s best for students and their families is evident in both her words and actions.

Eve Kuczura

D64 & D207 Parent

We have an incredibly important D64 election coming up. This election is about selecting the four D64 board members who give us the best chance at improving the academic performance of our schools, thoughtfully balancing the district budget, and ensuring our most vulnerable students (i.e., LBGTQIA students, students of color, students with IEPs) feel safe and supported at school.

I believe there are four candidates who bring the educational and board experience needed to do that. They are:

1 - Rachel Georgakis, who has been an educator and counselor for 15+ years. She brings significant experience translating Illinois law into district-level policies as well as collaborating with stakeholders at every level of the district.

2 - Monica Milligan, who has 20+ years of educational leadership experience. She has managed a special education department, $50 million district budgets, and curriculum implementations. She also supports academic improvements for 300+ schools across the country and can bring national best practices to our district.

3 - Denise Pearl, who has 25+ years of experience at both the K-12 and university levels. As the current board president, she has strong relationships with district and school leadership and strong ties to the D207 board leadership that are critical foundations for the new board to leverage.

4 - Matt Doubleday, who has decades of experience as a business leader as well as a board member for dozens of nonprofits in the Chicago area. He brings a deep understanding of financials as well as board governance to this role.

Together, these four candidates bring the educational and board experience we need to have the best chance at improving academic experiences for all of our students.

Don’t forget to vote!

Cassandra Lipin

D64 Parent

As the daughter of a teacher, I know just how important a school system/district is not only for the children who attend it but also for the community. In fact, that was one of the main reasons we moved to Park Ridge.

Coming from NYC (via a short time in Chicago), my husband and I were looking for a well-established community with an excellent school district to provide our daughter and us with a strong foundation to plant roots.

One of my “personal” goals after moving here almost 4 years ago was to become active in the community & in the particular school district, as I had done so when we lived back East. Denise was actually one of the first people to reach out to me to introduce herself and provide me with more information on D64.


As we all know, the last 3 years have been unprecedented and as such we have seen LOTS of changes. Our school board meetings have become more important than ever before to attend/watch, as well as us making sure that the right representatives are in office to represent us.

Denise Pearl has played a strong & important role on the school board these past few years. She is tough and cares deeply about the community & schools. I feel that she has represented the interest of the community as a whole these past few years and has been a wonderful counter to some of the “outlier” behavior/complaints & tantrums that have occurred.


Our schools/district needs to focus on the future and the direction that will provide the “brightest” one for all - not sticking strictly to “past ideas” and catering to the “few.”

For me, Denise focuses on the things I want most for our community & school district :

* Creating stability in the district

* Serving ALL students who attend D64

* Working with others in a professional manner other board members

It is not the role of the school board to be micromanaging the school administration, but rather to provide it with support & guidance.

As we embark on this very important time of transition at D64, Denise will be essential to properly onboard a new superintendent and new board members.

As a community, we must support each other and therefore it is IMPORTANT to support Denise on Election Day (Tuesday, 4/4/23)!

Kara Forrest
D64 Interventionist


Lindsey Whyte.   Josh Chapman.   Pat Trippiedi

Vikki Spiteri.   Erin Paluch.   Kate Hannigan.   Laura M Dini

Elizabeth Lynch.  Renee Fath.   Tracey Edsey

Nicole Burmingham.   Amanda Lorenc.   Mary Fontaine. 

Courtney Huddleston.   Joan Tanaka    Sarah Post

Responses to Questions


  • For 10 years, I have been involved in a variety of community service in connection to the local, public schools.  
  • At the PTO level, I served as the President for an elementary school in a suburb outside of St. Louis and PTO President for three years at Emerson Middle School. 
  • At a broader district level, I dedicated service to the district’s foundation when my family and I lived in Webster Groves, Missouri.  Similarly, recently, I was invited to contribute to the foundation for District 64’s partner district, District 207. 
  • From a financial perspective, I was involved in a tax levy campaign at our prior school district in Missouri and brought this experience to the recent bond referendum for Maine 207.
My dedication to the local educational system has been strong and varied.  This experience presents a natural path to serve as a school board member.  In addition to my philanthropic involvement, professionally I consider myself to be an educator, and although the majority of my experience has occurred at the college level, some of the aspects of educational leadership transition naturally. In a broad spectrum, I view education holistically from a pre-kindergarten level to a graduate degree level.   


Denise advocates for Continuing Education and Professional Development for School Board Members.  

Due to her engagement in sessions offered through the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), she earned the recognition of a

Level 1 Master Board Member.


She has attended the  IASB Annual Conference in November of each year she has been on the board.

Additionally, she has attended several Division Meetings to network with other board members and superintendents. 

As the Board President, she has coordinated D64 board training from IASB on topics such as the role of the board and board/administrative decision-making.

Webinars/Events she has attended offered through IASB:

  • The Future is Now - Why This is the Best Time to Go Green 01/26/2023

  • The Value of School Communications 9/8/2022

  • Identifying, Recruiting, and Mentoring Future School Board Members 07/28/22

  • When Online Critics Attack 04/28/2022

  • IASB Winter Book Study 2022: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High 02/11/2022

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the Language We Use 01/12/2022

  • Be a Better Board: Governance Lessons to Help You Improve 10/28/2021

  • COVID-19 Testing For Illinois School Districts 07/27/2021

  • Emotional Regulation: How to Stay Centered in The Storm 07/20/2021

  • Working Through Conflict and Gridlock 08/05/2021

  • Handling Hostile Questions While Standing Your Ground 08/31/2021

  • Learning and Looking Ahead: Lessons from Three District Superintendents 05/20/2021

  • Social Media for School Leaders 05/13/2021

  • Communicating with Candor 06/01/2021

  • Building Mutual Understanding, Trust, and Respect Through Listening 06/30/2021

  • Beyond the Campaign: Welcoming New Board Members 01/28/2021

  • Adapting to Change: COVID-19 Testing at Schools and Future Applications 01/14/2021

  • Trends in Collective Bargaining: Part One 01/21/2021 & Part Two 02/04/2021

  • Parliamentary Procedure for the Novice 02/25/2021

  • Open Meetings Act (OMA) Gray Areas and Pandemic Rules 11/05/2020

  • Working Together as an Effective Board 09/24/2020

  • Virtual Education: Are Your Students Engaging, AND Learning? 9/3/2020


3/21--Go Green Green Drinks @ Beer on the Wall

3/19--Candidate Meet-and-Greet at Yogli Mogli

3/18--Candidate Meet-and-Greet at the Park Ridge Public Library sponsored by the League of Women Voters Park Ridge

3/12--Candidate Meet-and-Greet @ Triple Scoop'd

3/11--Candidate Coffee GENEROUSLY hosted by Gregory & Amanda Valyer

3/9--Candidate Coffee GENEROUSLY hosted by Rebecca Little

2/24--Candidate Coffee GENEROUSLY hosted by Jen LaDuke

2/23--Republican Women of Park Ridge Candidate Forum @ Prospect Park​

2/21--Go Green Green Drinks @ Beer on the Wall

2/11--Candidate Coffee GENEROUSLY hosted by Rachel Nash

2/6--Meeting with Matthew Doubleday, Rachel Georgakis, & Monica Milligan


2/10 Marty Maloney (Mayor, City of Park Ridge)

2/10 Jackie Matthews (Executive Director, Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce)

2/9 Carla Owen (Current D207 School Board President)

2/8 Paula Besler (Former D207 School Board President)

2/7 Reverend Carol Hill (Pastor, Park Ridge Community Church)

2/7 Mark Anderson (Former Alderperson)
1/18 Nan and Chris Parson (Action Ridge Leaders and Community Advocates)






Denise Pearl has taught for 25 years ranging from high school to the doctoral level with topics varying from mathematics to educational leadership.  Currently, she teaches online counseling graduate students and undergraduate statistics students.


In addition to teaching at the university level, Denise has worked in other capacities as a career counselor, academic advisor, and other student services positions. 


Her educational background includes a mathematics degree, a counseling degree, and a terminal degree in educational leadership.


Website wordle art 2.jpg


Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page