TRS of Illinois

Active Member Board of Trustees Candidates

The election of an active member trustees to the TRS Board is set by law for May 1. Select the following links for more details:

Mark A. Bailey
Frank J. Biga III
Rainy Kaplan*
Fred J. Peronto

* Please be advised that on April 6, 2017, incumbent Trustee Rainy Kaplan of Schaumburg decided to withdraw her candidacy for another term on the TRS Board. However, because the ballot was finalized prior to April 1, her name still appears on the official ballot.

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Mark A. Bailey

Mark Bailey

For the last four years, I have served as an active elected trustee on the TRS Board of Trustees. I am seeking re-election to the TRS Board for a second term. I want to continue my work to provide a secure retirement for TRS members. As a trustee, I serve on the Investment Committee, vice chair of the Audit Committee, chair of the Rules and Personnel Committee, and chair of the Claims Hearing Committee.

This is my 36th year in education. I hold a bachelor’s degree in music education from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa and master’s degree in leadership and administration from North Central College in Naperville. I am an instrumental music teacher for Naperville School District 203.

For most of my career, I have been involved in the Illinois Education Association leadership. I have served as building representative, treasurer, first vice president, and currently as president of the Naperville Unit Education Association. At the region level, I have served as representative, treasurer, and currently I am in my second term as region chair of Region 39. As a member of the IEA Board of Directors, I have served on various committees. Currently, I am on the Internal Operations and Finance Committees.

I look forward to continuing my work on the TRS Board.

Frank J. Biga III

Frank Biga

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Frank J. Biga III and I am a 14-year veteran teacher at Oak Lawn Community High School and a 30-year resident of Arlington Heights. My teaching specialties are A.P. economics and U.S. history. Prior to my teaching career, I worked as a corporate trainer for large telecommunications companies and as a financial consultant. I have also served for the last six years as the treasurer of American Federation of Teachers Council 229 and for the last 12 years on my property association board with about six years as president.

I am well-qualified to be a TRS teacher trustee. My education includes an MBA in derivative markets/finance from Loyola University and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University. I started off with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elmhurst College.

I am running for teacher trustee because I feel we are living in very unique and dangerous times for defined benefit pension systems. I believe, given my educational background, that I have the skillsets and demeanor to serve my constituents in the TRS system.

In terms of my philosophy on defined benefit pensions, I do not believe for a minute the fiction that our pension system cannot be afforded by this state. Illinois, as a whole, has trillions of dollars in assets and hundreds of billions of liabilities. Our state is underperforming in terms of statewide income right now for various reasons and our political leadership on both sides of the aisle needs to be held more accountable for this failure that has put our very fair pension benefits in the spotlight.

But we are a solvent state by any honest accounting standard and I will fight to ensure that this reality is made more well-known. The idea that we have a crisis on our hands is a falsehood. This is a notion put forward by those who do not understand finance and accounting or those who have other motives.

If elected, I will also work with my fellow trustees to ensure the best possible rates of return on our pension assets given the market conditions we face now and in the future. I will also fight unceasingly to preserve our rights under the Illinois Constitution and legal code. I ask for your vote for TRS teacher trustee. Thank you for your consideration.

Rainy Kaplan

After being elected as a TRS trustee in 2013, I am finishing my first term in July 2017. I am a Spanish teacher at Westmont High School in Westmont Community School District 201. Out of the classroom, I am also the head boys’ track and field coach.  I am a member of both the IEA Board of Directors and the National Education Association Board of Directors.

I hold two master’s degrees – in administration from Concordia University in River Forest and in teaching and leadership from St. Xavier University in Chicago. My undergraduate studies were completed in Spanish and secondary education at Bradley University in Peoria.

I live in Schaumburg with my husband Bob who retired from Schaumburg School District 54. My three stepchildren all teach and are TRS members as well. Brad teaches special education and coaches at St. Charles East High School. Stacey is an elementary teacher in Schaumburg School District 54. Matt is a special education teacher and coach in Huntley School District 158.

* Please be advised that on April 6, 2017, incumbent Trustee Rainy Kaplan of Schaumburg decided to withdraw her candidacy for another term on the TRS Board. However, because the ballot was finalized prior to April 1, her name still appears on the official ballot.

Fred J. Peronto

Fred Peronto

I have 22 years of teaching experience at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park where I currently teach American history and A.P. economics. For the past 12 years, I have represented my local teachers’ association in our contract negotiations where I had the opportunity to focus on salary, insurance and retirement issues. I also currently serve as an adjunct professor at Trinity Christian College where I have taught courses in both economic issues and in macroeconomics. These experiences help me understand the complex issues required to protect the pension guarantee that the Illinois Constitution has promised to all public school teachers.

Teaching has been an incredibly rewarding career for me. In 1997, I was chosen as the H.S. District 230 Teacher of the Year and in 2015, I received an Award of Merit as part of the Those Who Excel program sponsored by the Illinois Board of Education. I’ve served as an A.P. reader for the A.P. macroeconomics test for the past several years and I’m currently active in the Chicagoland A.P. Consortium. I look forward to the opportunity to give back to our profession.

I’m a product of public schools. I grew attending public schools in Elmhurst, where I still reside with my wife and three sons, and I graduated from the University of Illinois-Champaign. I come from two generations of public school teachers. My wife currently teaches third grade in Oak Park and our oldest son is ready to embark upon a career in education.

Public schools matter a great deal to me. One of my mentors once taught me that you can see what a state values not by what its politicians say, but by how they spend their money. I’m proud to teach in Illinois and the pension guarantee that the people of Illinois have given to their teachers shows that, as teachers, we are valued in this state. If elected, I will do everything that I can do to ensure that never changes.