When Debbie Hymen turned 40-years-old she decided to do the two things in life she really wanted to, “I ran for the school board and I did an independent study to become a realtor,” she said. “It was my metamorphosis.”
Hymen was elected to District 112’s Board of Education shortly after, “I caught the wave, which has been my tag phrase,” she commented about her dedication to education ever since. “I found myself to be a learner that I never thought I was in my youth.”
Hymen originally grew up in Morton Grove but moved to Glencoe before high school and attended New Trier. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in early childhood and family studies and went on to pursue several different careers. She worked as a child life therapist at La Rabida Children’s Hospital and Research Center, then in administration at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and as a marketing support representative for an electronic mail company. Hymen also helped her husband open his law practice and even started her own at home needle point business while she was raising her three children.
After living through District 112’s school consolidation in Highland Park and seeing how it impacted the community, she felt she could do the most good and make the biggest difference while on the Board, “I saw my community evolve, separate, evolve, separate,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of that.”
Hymen spent 12 years as a member of the 112 School Board---three of them as President---before stepping down. “I felt that it was time for somebody else to try 112,” she recalled and had become interested in District 113 after working collaboratively with its Board and watching her kids progress through high school.
“I was fascinated by no teacher union at District 113 because I was one of the head negotiators for 112 and I love collective bargaining,” she said. “I saw serving on District 113’s Board as a natural evolution for me.”
Hymen was elected to District 113’s Board of Education in April, 2011. Hymen considers herself and the Board “stewards of money and stewards of education.” She takes both responsibilities extremely seriously and isn’t shy about how she feels, “I think we need to focus on the kids and what needs to be there for the teachers to make them what they have always been and better and I think that’s a struggle right now,” Hymen stated in regards to balancing school improvements and current economic conditions. “Everybody’s struggling right now; even the people with money are struggling right now,” which is why she’s been a proponent for getting the word out about how the District 113 Board of Education actually works.
“I’m a process person,” she explained. “I believe that it’s important to have the community know how we got to a particular place…They may not agree with everything I say, but at least they know how I got there and that has always been my way.”
Hymen is constantly out in the community supporting local events and inside the high schools at different functions. She emphasized that it’s because she loves what she does and can’t see herself doing anything else, “It makes my life richer,” she said. “It’s a very important part of my life.”
District 113 will be releasing Board member profiles in the following weeks in an attempt to familiarize community members with their elected school officials. Upcoming Board member profiles will all be posted on Dist113.org.