Name: Al Gaston
Town of residence: Geneva
Office sought: Geneva District 304 school board
Civic involvement and volunteer work:
My civic involvement starts with my work experience where I have managed Wildwood Restaurant in downtown Geneva for over 10 years.
Also, I have been involved for over 26 years volunteering my time and effort working on finance and fundraising committees, running my own events raising monies, as well as other responsibilities working/volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Illinois.
More locally, I’ve been volunteer coaching youth sports for the Tri-cities soccer programs and the Geneva Park District programs for over 12 years.
I have worked/volunteered in the classroom for over 12 years starting at Heartland Elementary School where all three of my children started, then on to Geneva Middle School North where my twins are in sixth grade now and then at the Geneva High School where my oldest will graduate from this spring.
1. Why are you the best candidate for this office?
After the teacher’s strike, I saw this community divided. I felt with my strong people skills and leadership qualities, I wanted to give back and bring us back together as a community.
With my work ethic and experience, my ability to listen to others and work through a process, I knew I was the right choice for the Geneva School Board.
2. What are the biggest challenges facing the office you seek?
The biggest challenges facing the board that I see are continuing to manage the debt accumulated back in the ‘90’s and early 2000’s when the population growth dictated the community to build more schools.
That time period followed a recession that put us in a precarious position. Now we must continue to maintain those buildings and that cost dollars, lots of dollars. Also, I see challenges continuing to keep our students safe.
3. What issues would you like to address should you be elected?
I feel the issues I would like to address is to build new relationships with our teachers so they know that as a community we love them and appreciate them for who they are and what they do.
We need to change the environment so we all trust each other and work to provide our students the best possible education available. We need to do that being fiscally responsible and looking forward to the future to dictate changes in the world so that our children are prepared, not just for college but for life.