James Gates

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Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Wednesday Journal sent out to all candidates running in this year's elections.

Age: 62

Profession: Writing and Literacy Specialist for the DuPage Regional Office of Education

Years in Oak Park: 37 years

Have you attended a District 97 school in the past? NO

Do you have children who have, are or will be attending a school in District 97? What are their ages?

Two adult chlldren, who attended Mann, Percy Julian, and OPRF HS.

Why are you running for this office?

I am running for re-election to the OPESD 97 board because public school education in Oak Park has been my life-long passion. Continued involvement in District 97 initiatives such as early childhood education, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, intergovernmental partnerships, and honoring the commitments made to citizens related to the referendum energize me when I contemplate the next four years.

Have you ever run for or served in a local political office before? If so, when and which office?

See previous answer.

What are your strongest concerns about District 97 at this time?

Frankly, I am not concerned; I am inspired by the challenges. I view being part of a team that is dedicated to providing the children of Oak Park with the highest quality educational experiences while exercising sound fiscal stewardship of citizen tax dollars a source of motivation. Though I am proud of the fact that Oak Park is ESD 97 is among the 7% of all Illinois public school districts to be designated a Bright Red Apple School District, a staff, administration, school board, and school community committed to excellence as the standard expectation is an opportunity that drives me forward.

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