Next Steps and Candidate Instructions

After a little R&R following the election, here are some of the things that the leadership team of Change150 are currently working on. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them directly with Jim, Theresa or Dan.  We are so much more effective when we work together.

What’s ahead:

1. Laura Petelle has her seat until June 30th so we don’t think the board is going to do much, if anything until then.

2. In the meantime, an independent committee is being formed to vet candidates who want to be endorsed by Change150 and our partners. The committee is on its way to being formed and should be finalized in the next week. It is our understanding that the committee includes a few retired administrators, a representative from the NAACP, some from the union and a parent or two. This is an independent group who does not answer to Change150 or to any other group. is only acting as a clearinghouse for candidates and forwarding their names to the committee.

3. As a clearinghouse, our website has a dedicated email address that directly forwards emails to the committee. To keep things fair, nobody from Change150 will see candidates’ applications or essays. They go straight to the committee.

4. Anyone who wants to be vetted and possibly endorsed by Change150, the application process includes: name, contact info, resume and answer to these three questions:

  1. What is the reason(s) that you would want to be a school board member?
  2. What qualifications or skills do you possess that would make you a good board member?
  3. What issues would you want to see addressed to improve the school district?

NOTE: All applicants must apply with the school board individually to be considered by the Board. This application is for endorsement by Change150 and others.

5. Once a candidate has his/her information & essays together, they should email it to Again, this email goes straight to the committee.

6. The independent committee has set an application deadline of Sunday, April 6th. Anyone may apply.

7. If a candidate does not want to be vetted by the independent committee, they are free to apply directly to the board and forgo the Change150 application and vetting process.

8. While the vetting process is going on, the leadership of Change150 will continue to work with members of the community in order to advance the mission of change through promoting the 5 Core Issues and Value Statement and to answer any questions they may have.

9. Everyone is encouraged to continue to speak at board meetings and in letters to the editor. Terry Knapp, Sharon Crews and their PSD150 Watch Group have a lot of experience researching school-related issues. Terry has said they are more than happy to help and provide direction.

Peoria Votes for Change


Media Contact: Sea Stipe
Change150 Spokesperson

March 18, 2014


Peoria, IL  March 18, 2014 — The leadership of Change150 would like to offer their thanks to Laura Petelle for her five years of service to Peoria School District 150.

That being said, Change150 is incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support for the Vote for Sue campaign and our mission for change.  We would like to offer our sincerest thanks to all of our supporters, our volunteers, and most importantly, to everyone who cast a vote for Sue to help enact change.

Today’s election is a testament to the democratic process; when people come together and vote, they are a force to be reckoned with.  As of today, there is no question as to whether Peoria wants its schools, and its children, to succeed.  We, the voters, have spoken; we think the leadership of our school district is going in the wrong direction and we are willing to vote for the idea of change rather than vote for the status quo.  Our message is loud and clear.

Change150 has always been and always will be about providing the best education possible for the children of the city of Peoria. We can never lose sight of the fact that this is ultimately about our children, the future leaders of America.  And they deserve better.

Looking forward, we hope that Peoria School District 150 will listen to all the people who have spoken today.  It is our hope that today is the beginning of a new era in District 150, one in which the School Board listens to the people.

# # #

Election Night

To all of you who have helped us – thanks for a GREAT, fast & furious couple of weeks! We’ve done our best and have shown that our community is AWESOME!

A bunch of us will be watching the election in the Dugout room at the Landmark Recreation Center tomorrow night from 6:15 to 11. The Dugout can be accessed through the health club part or through the Bullpen if you don’t mind walking through the bar & grill. There are plenty of TV’s and free Wi-Fi.

If anyone wants to stop by and hang out & watch the results with us, we would love to have you!!! We have all worked hard and deserve a night to relax! FYI – it’s not a festive party or election celebration – just a low-key gathering of like-minded folks.

Just an FYI: we’ve arranged for the press to interview our spokesperson several times throughout the night. We’ll try to manage the media to avoid group shots, but we can’t guarantee that your picture won’t end up on TV

Our Values and the Core Issues at stake

In conjunction with our joint press conference today, we are releasing our Values Statement and the Core Issues that we are advocating that the leadership of Peoria School District 150 address immediately.

Our Values

Our Values statement can be read here.

Core Issues

The Core Issues can be read here.

5 Reasons to vote for Sue Wolstenholm

There is a historic thing happening in this month’s primary election.  Change150 is asking people to vote for a candidate who is not running in order to send a message to the School Board that we’re ready for change.  Here’s the backstory:

Sue Wolstenholm, the challenger on the District 3 school board ballot, withdrew from campaigning against incumbent Laura Petelle citing health concerns. Never in a hundred years did we expect that to happen. What’s worse, it was too late to get someone else on the ballot. Even a write-in candidate must file with the election commission 60 days prior to the election.

Sue did not file official withdrawal paperwork with the election commission so her votes still count, but she has stated that if elected, she would resign. In this scenario, the board would have to make a 1 year appointment and that seat goes back to the voters next year.

So the voters have a choice. 1) Vote for Laura Petelle the incumbent, 2) Vote for Sue Wolstenholm, effectively a ghost candidate, or 3) Don’t vote.

Here are 5 reasons we think District 3 voters should vote for Sue Wolstenholm. (see the district map here <link to map>)

1) A vote for Sue is a vote for change

Change150 has consistently advocated for changes to the leadership of District 150. We want better communication, a collaborative approach management, a board who will listen to parents, teachers, staff and the community. A vote for Sue sends a powerful message to the Board of Education that the voters are serious about this desire.

2) A vote for Laura is a vote for the status-quo

Laura Petelle has consistently voted in lock-step with the superintendent’s agenda and the rest of the board. She has publicly and repeatedly declared her support for Superintendent Lathan and the management practices that have destroyed morale and created a toxic work environment for teachers, administrators and staff within the district. She has not proven her leadership, she has proven that she can follow along with the crowd.

3) The only wasted vote is the one not cast

In many ways, this election can be thought of as a referendum on the current state of the district. In a recent website straw poll the Peoria Journal Star asked “Has Peoria District 150 improved since Grenita Lathan became superintendent?” Seventy two percent (72%) of poll takers stated that things are worse. Peoria residents should take that sentiment to the ballot box, where it really counts.

4) You pay taxes

If you own a home in Peoria, 50% of your property taxes go directly to District 150. Yet since 2011, academic achievement has taken a nosedive as evidenced by the fact that ISAT scores for grades 3 through 8 have plummeted a combined total of 385 percentage points. ( Is this the best use of your tax dollars? Change150 believes that leadership that encourages open dialogue between teachers, administrators, staff, parents, city officials, and community groups is the best way to improve educational outcomes. All the stakeholders of our city’s public education system need to be invited to the table. This is unlikely to happen if Laura gets another five year term.

5) You live in Peoria

Research shows that better public schools result in more Jobs, a better local economy, better property values, less crime, and ultimately, better communities. Change150 believes that with consistent practices of accountability, more open transparency and improved care and concern for the safety and learning environment, all of us will be better off – especially our students.


There you have it. If you want a better future for Peoria, we need to improve on the status-quo within our public education system. The best way to start that improvement is to vote for Sue Wolstenholm for School Board next Tuesday.

Change150 is…

Change 150 is a coalition of concerned citizens working through the democratic process to affect change in District 150 and its leadership.

The current leadership philosophy isn’t working and so we want to create an environment of collaboration for the benefit of our students, teachers and our whole community.

Help us spread the word for change!


We are going to walk the neighborhoods of District 3 to hand out flyers and encourage the public to vote for Sue Wolstenholm for School Board in the March 18 election.

Our first walk is this weekend and we need you!

When: This Saturday, March 8th at 10:00 am.

Where: Grand Prairie Mall parking lot closest to War Memorial

What: You will receive training, a packet containing maps, walking (voter) information and everything you need to help us canvas District 3

Volunteers will have until Sunday to complete the territory that they are assigned.

Please volunteer to help us spread the word that

A vote for Sue is a vote for change

Please show up if you can help.

District 3 is a large area (outlined by the green line in the image below). We need as many people as possible.




March 3, 2014

Theresa Koehler, Secretary





PEORIA, IL March 3, 2014 – Members of CHANGE150, Sue Wolstenholm and several Peoria educational unions are launching our newest initiative, the Vote for Sue, Vote for Change protest campaign supporting the election of School Board District 3 candidate, Sue Wolstenholm.  The campaign will urge Peorians in District 3 to get out and vote for Sue, vote for change and vote against the status quo.


  • Where: 8115 N Knoxville Ave, Peoria, IL (inside Richwoods Community Church)
  • When: Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 11:00 am
  • Why:  We believe our children deserve the best education possible, but that the district is currently being led in the wrong direction. We believe a protest vote for Sue will send a clear message to both the school board and to the superintendent that the Peoria area community is fed up and is ready for a change in leadership.
  • How:  Though Sue Wolstenholm has told the local media she has withdrawn from the election due to health reasons, she is still a viable candidate with the Election Committee and is still on the ballot.  As such, she has allowed CHANGE150 and several Peoria educational unions to take over her campaign.  Together, we urge parents, taxpayers and homeowners in Peoria’s District 3 to vote for Sue and cast a protest vote seeking change from the current school board and its failed leadership.  After Sue wins, she will resign, forcing the school board to appoint a one-year term replacement.  At this time, CHANGE150 and the residents of Peoria will urge the school board to show good faith and pick a candidate who favors transparency, accountability and a change in the status quo.


The goal of CHANGE150 is to unite Peoria’s communities because with a collective voice, we can be loud advocates for our children and for change.  For more information on CHANGE150, please go to

No, We Won’t Back Down

“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”
- Francis E. Willard


As the dust has settled after last week’s City Council meeting, we have a sense of where we are headed for the next round of this battle, and we wanted to share our thoughts with you.
“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.”
- Criss Jami


First of all, WE CANNOT BACK DOWN.  We cannot surrender even one inch of this ground that we have fought so hard to gain!! We are moving forward.
The Board and Grenita Lathan are reeling from all of the movement on various fronts – the City Council meeting, the media and press coverage, the various discrepancies that have been uncovered in the ways ISAT testing incidents were handled in different schools, different and new voices that are joining together.
Lathan and her newly found supporters are following the age-old pattern outlined in Gandhi’s quote:
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”


They are moving into the fighting phase and are trying to fight back with the many weapons they have at their disposal:
  • They are running radio ads.
  • They published their “Bragging Rights”, which was loaded with spin and made dubious claims to accomplishments.
  • Grenita held her own press meeting, giving the public her “word salad”, as it was appropriately named by Robbins and Markley on their WMBD 1470 talk show.
Their constant “No Comment” feels like a part of a strategy that they follow in battles such as these. This strategy has always worked for them in the past. Their opponents have grown weary…fallen silent…disappeared.  Too bad it won’t work THIS time. We are DEMANDING answers, and we are NOT GOING AWAY.


“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” 
Alvin Toffler


Let us keep making comments and letting our voices be heard. Words are one of our most powerful weapons in this battle. Please visit and comment on these various blogs and websites daily:

-          Facebook pages for PJ Star, WHOI, WEEK, WMBD
-          Tweet about our successes with links to the news stories.


Keep talking and listening and researching. Dig in every way that you can. You know people that we do not know and do not have access to. Be a detective. :-)


We are doing the right things. We just need to not give up and not lose momentum. We know that Dr. Lathan is destroying our district through fear and intimidation, and we know that it needs to change.
Keep up the words.
Keep up the presence.
Keep up the pressure.


“Well I won’t back down, No I won’t back down. You could stand me up at the gates of hell, But I won’t back down”

 - Tom Petty

Change150 Speech to City Council

This is the text of the speech given by Change150 Vice President, Dan Dugal delivered to the City Council after the Launch Rally during the February 18th City Council meeting at 305 SW Water Street.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Council, Mayor Ardis;

For the past hour we’ve held a launch rally for a new organization called Change150. Change150 is a collection of voices from across the city who are frustrated with the leadership of Peoria District 150.

As you, our elected city leaders seek to attract new businesses to the region, create jobs and develop economic growth in the city as part of the Focus Forward CI regional economic development plan, you know too well that controversy after controversy in our school system becomes an anchor hanging from the neck of progress.

The most recent controversy surrounding the removal of Principal Wetterauer from Charter Oak Primary School is a symptom of a much larger problem. In essence, this was never about Mr. Wetterauer or Charter Oak, the root problem was always with the management of the district.

I hold in my hands a petition of a “Declaration of No Confidence in Superintendent Lathan” carrying 1,013 signatures of the stakeholders of District 150: parents, taxpayers, concerned citizens, and district alumnae.

Grenita Lathan, with a unanimously complicit board of education, has for the past three and a half years, systematically dismantled school after school. She has imposed an oppressive organizational culture where yes-men and yes-women are rewarded, group-think is expected, and diversity of opinion is exterminated and punished. Simply stated, the organizational culture of the district has become utterly toxic.

And yet, despite this oppressive environment, teachers and other District 150 staff continue to walk into our schools and diligently seek to find a way to provide the best education they can for our children. They have stayed engaged, looking to share those life-changing and inspiring interactions with their students in schools all over our district, creating the thinkers and leaders of tomorrow’s Peoria.

The parents, taxpayers, and civic and business leaders of Peoria, and I know that you too,  do not wish District 150 to fail as Grenita Lathan so insultingly declared to the press. On the contrary, we wish to rescue the district from failed leadership. We want collaborative leadership to work with teachers and principals to make decisions that make sense in their schools, for their unique situations. We want a culture of teamwork where ideas are shared freely, a culture of excellence where parents, teachers and administrators are inspired to inspire our children. Where the team of educators in each school are empowered to raise the tide of educational excellence across the city. Where every school in the district is a Blue Ribbon school, leading to nothing less than a Blue Ribbon city.

We understand clearly the difference between authority and influence. But we ask you tonight to exercise your influence, to the fullest extent possible, to help us effect a change in leadership within the district. We seek the removal of Superintendent Grenita Lathan, the Chief Curriculum and Instructional Officer, and the three Instructional Improvement Officers as soon as possible.