Lane LSC enters new school year with shift at top of leadership


Alex Burstein

The Lane LSC meeting in June 2022, the last meeting with Emily Haite as chairperson.

By Alex Burstein, Editor-in-Chief

Between a symbol change, the removal of School Resource Officers, an administration change and ongoing restrictions regarding the pandemic, the Lane Local School Council (LSC) has had numerous lengthy, yet consequential, meetings over the past few years.

At the forefront of all of those meetings has been Parent Representative and Chairperson Emily Haite, who finished off six years serving as chairperson this past June.

“Emily [Haite] was such [a] big part of Lane and the LSC and she is leaving big shoes to fill,” Parent Representative Laura Symons, who was chosen as the next chairperson of the Lane LSC in July, told The Champion via email.

Symons was unanimously approved at the LSC’s July Organization Meeting to take over the consequential leadership role. All approved positions last one year and are determined at the annual organizational meetings

Symons will be moving up the LSC ranks after spending the past four years as vice-chairperson under Haite.

“My goals have always been to assist in Lane’s growth,” Symons said. “Lane is a great school and we need to continuously adapt as the times require.  I hope to help the school evolve in a welcoming to all, non combative environment.”

Taking over Symons’s vice-chairperson position will be a familiar face in Benjamin Wong, a parent representative since 2016, who was also unanimously selected for the position at the July meeting.

“I want to be a voice of reason for the parents whom I represent and to take their input in order to make the best decisions possible for the school,” Wong told The Champion via email. “I also will continue to oversee the LSC Resolutions where we recognize outstanding individuals/groups/teams within the Lane Tech community.”

The recent LSC departures, which also included the departure of Parent Representative Patricia O’Keefe, encouraged Wong to go for this position.

“With Emily Haite and Patricia O’Keefe stepping down from the LSC, it left a huge leadership void,” Wong said. “Those are two big shoes to fill and I saw this as an opportunity for me to take on a bigger role within the LSC.”

While this will be Wong’s first time in a leadership position with the Lane LSC, he’s no stranger to the role, having previously served as a vice president of the Decatur Classical LSC, where he was a representative from 2009 to 2013.

Despite the change in the LSC’s top positions, the other two leadership roles, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Open Meetings Act (OMA) officer and secretary, will be remaining the same.

FOIA/OMA Officer Anne Lokken and Secretary Ana Borja-Scales were both unanimously approved at the July meeting to continue in their respective positions.

Lokken and Borja-Scales have both been in their positions for about two years.

I wanted to continue serving as the Lane LSC FOIA/OMA Officer because the role gives me an opportunity to use my legal background in a way that benefits the LSC,” Lokken told The Champion via email. “In addition, I’ve been the FOIA/OMA Officer for a couple of years now, and have experience responding to requests. It seemed more efficient for me to stay in the role, rather than have someone else start from scratch.”

Borja-Scales also sees her past experience as a plus as she returns as secretary.

“I don’t know why I wanted to continue as secretary, possibly because I wanted this to be a smooth transition for Laura [Symons],” Borja-Scales told the Champion via email.

While Borja-Scales will stay in the position for now, the community representative who has served on the Lane LSC does not see herself in the secretary role permanently.

“I’m prepared to hand off my role to someone else,” Borja-Scales told The Champion via email. “From time to time, I would like to have a newer member take notes to get a feel for the role of secretary.”

The secretary has seen a big role during Borja-Scales’s two years in the position.

“Even before taking on the role of secretary, I naturally take notes,” Borja-Scales. “It’s not easy being a secretary.  There have been multiple, controversial meetings with turn-around times the following day or week.  I like the challenge.”

For Lokken, she says she has received approximately three or four FOIA requests every year on the job, in addition to working with other issues.

“I’m not sure there is a “favorite” part of the job; however I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of years. In addition to routine FOIA requests,” Lokken said. “I have handled a few more complicated legal questions as well.”

While no issues as big as what the LSC has seen seem imminent, Symons feels confident as this new leadership group starts off a new school year.

“The past several years have been a roller coaster ride,” Symons said. “I do not see immediate issues on the horizon but life might tell us otherwise.  Regardless, I am committed to working hard to meet those challenges head on with the Lane community in mind.”