I write about Fred Arkin, District 200 school board candidate. While Fred is a great mentor, friend and colleague, this endorsement is not being written as a favor. The impetus for this endorsement comes from my role as an active community member and father of two young boys. It is important to me not just as someone who loves our communities, but now as a parent who desires to send his sons to a world class school. Knowing Fred intimately for 40 years allows me to write confidently about the unique qualities that will make him a fabulous school board member.

Fred’s personal resume is public knowledge: he is a graduate of OPRF High School and Washington University, a very successful small business owner, and a longtime resident of River Forest and then Oak Park.

Fred’s business acumen alone qualifies him to be a strong school board representative. He is certainly capable of helping guide the school in a time when serious fiscal decisions have come to the table. He is smart, thoughtful, empathic and will not shy away from making tough decisions.

But what I believe will make Fred an important contributor to the school board is his years of service in the community and the unique perspective he brings as a result. He has volunteered as a coach for 40 years. In his time spent as a youth and high school coach, he has mentored thousands of young men and women, myself included. Each young person mentored would testify to the enormously positive impact he had on our lives. Over the past few years, he has initiated a girls wrestling team at the high school. He has also become a leading advocate for girls wrestling statewide, culminating in the IHSA sanctioning girls wrestling for the first time.

Fred has coached and built relationships with youth and parents from all parts of our villages, all races, all socioeconomic backgrounds. Through all this, he has gained a deep understanding of the needs and wants of all the people of Oak Park and River Forest. He is a candidate who will be able to speak to and take interest in issues that affect everyone. 

Please consider casting a vote for Fred Arkin. I firmly believe this community is only as healthy as its high school. We need great people representing us and guiding us. I cannot think of a better candidate.

Michael Powell, Oak Park

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