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Lockport District 205 Board member Sandra Chimon Rogers dies

Lockport District 205 Board member Sandra Chimon Rogers dies

Lockport Township High School Board member Sandra Chimon Rogers died Monday after a long-term illness, District 205 officials announced.

Chimon Rogers, of Homer Glen, was elected in 2023.

An alumna of Lockport Township High School, Chimon Rogers was the dean of the College of Professional Studies at the National University of Health Sciences, where she oversaw the college’s curriculum, accreditation standards, assistant deans, chairs and faculty.

She had held director and administrative positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University and Calumet College of St. Joseph.

In a district video from May 2023, Chimon Rogers said Lockport High School prepared her for her career.

“It’s a good way to give back to the community and my alma mater,” she said. “What can we do to help our students become better prepared for life in general, for college or the trades? I’m a big advocate for women in science and engineering and of all minorities. And with that, they just need a cheerleader.”

Chimon Rogers obtained her doctorate degree in analytical chemistry and her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois, according to her biography at the National University of Health Sciences. She specialized in bioanalytical nuclear neurochemistry focusing on finding various compounds that may be possible preventatives for Alzheimer’s disease.

In her spare time, Chimon Rogers and her former research assistants were working on completing her project with NASA to see the effects of anti-gravity as a possible prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, her biography said.

She was recognized for her innovation in academic curriculum overhaul by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Society of Innovators and presented a TEDx Talk on changing the way we teach and learn, her biography said.

“Sandra was a clear-thinking, resolved board member,” District 205 Superintendent Robert McBride said in a statement. “I will remember her most as a person who was kind to me and my family. She brought her life experiences, academic achievements, and wisdom into everything she did. This is a loss for her family, our board, and our community.”

McBride said the district lost “an outstanding individual.”

“We lost a very capable board member, but we also lost a brilliant, large-hearted individual,” McBride said.

Chimon Rogers was empathetic to others and easy to slip into a conversation, McBride said. She was generous with her time and talents, he said.

In her year on the board, she enriched the board’s conversations about facilities, finances and the budget with her background in education, McBride said. She was instrumental in hiring two new counselors to help lower the number of students the district’s counselors had on their caseload.

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to Dr. Chimon Rogers’ family,” District 205 Board President Ann Lopez-Caneva said in a statement. “Sandra was a great board member and person. She will truly be missed.”

A GoFundMe page was organized by Christina Clausen, chair of the Will County Republican Central Committee, to support her family after their loss.

The GoFundMe page states Chimon Rogers was initially diagnosed with a lung fungus that weakened her immune system and caused her liver to be attacked by an auto immune disease called primary biliary cholangitis. She had a liver transplant on Mother’s Day but suffered setbacks over the next six weeks, the GoFundMe page stated.

Funeral arrangements are pending, District 205 officials said.

Chimon Rogers was born in Austria and leaves behind a husband and two children.

She was among eight candidates seeking a four-year term in 2023. She ran as part of the We The Parents Illinois slate and was elected along with Martin Boersma, who resigned in December.

After funeral arrangements have been completed, district officials will work on the steps to replace Chimon Rogers and will share that information. The district will open the position for applications and interview potential candidates, which must be done within 60 days.

Michelle Mullins is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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