PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — There’s a new president of the Peoria Public School Board of Education.
During Thursday’s afternoon meeting, members elected former Vice President Gregory Wilson to replace former President Doug Shaw. Additionally, Martha Ross became Vice President.
Murphy a father of two Peoria Public Schools students said he’s working to make Peoria Public Schools a better place for all children.
“We have to make sure that we take care of all our students in our district, it’s just not about one race or one culture,” Wilson said. “We have close to 14,000 students and we have to make sure they all have the tools to be successful.”
Wilson said it’s a “great feeling” to have the support of his fellow board members. He said his goal is opening up communication between the board and students.
“One of the major goals is making sure that we are always in communication with our families; making sure we’re reimaging education, we’re bringing innovative things to PPS,” Wilson said.
Thursday’s meeting was also the last one for board member Dan Walther. Mike Murphy will take his seat on the board after defeating him during the April general election.
“I do this for my children, but I also do this for all the families in PPS whether it be the students or the faculty,” Murphy said.
Murphy a father of three is a former PTO president and will represent District 3. He said he wants to bring a perspective of a parent with young students to the board.
“I have a lot of experience dealing with the faculty of schools and just listening to their concerns and their questions and relaying that to administration, whose always worked with me,” Murphy said.
Walther has served on the board for the last five years.
“It’s difficult to leave. I enjoyed the work, it took a lot more time than when I first got on it,” Walther said.
Walther said his biggest achievement was negotiating an agreement with the teachers’ union in his first year on the board, as well as pushing through improvements at Richwoods High School track.
“That was critical in us getting that half cent tax, countywide tax passed and I think that getting passed is really critical for the district, because it’s long-lasting,” Walther said.
Wilson joined the Board of Education in 2017 following the April election for the open District 2 seat.