The Norman school district is the 9th largest in the state with a budget of over 100 million and 15,000 children. These children are the future of Oklahoma and as a part of public education they desire every chance to succeed in academics, arts, music, athletics and leadership. If you are a Norman resident, you have a tremendous sense of pride and love of community. This is a great place to live and we are used to seeing excellence from the University of Oklahoma.
That same expectation should be with our public education system. Sure we have Blue Ribbon Schools in the district but is there a commitment for excellence in all areas, and are the marginal students getting lost?
This school board election is important in so many ways. Will we continue with the status quo, or will there be a person that may just question what the school district is doing? One strong commitment that has been made by two candidates (Gasso & Maus) is discipline in our schools or the lack of. Paul Maus’ son was stabbed last fall at school, so he knows first hand of the discipline problems. There are numerous reports of out of control behavior and even drug use in the schools by parents that we know. I know that it is difficult these days for school teachers and administration. Below is the article from the Norman Transcript which interviewed each candidate.
Family Man, Dedicated Father & Husband
Jim Gasso is a well qualified candidate that has years of experience in the education and in private business. He running on the straight A’s platform – Accountability, Academics, Arts, Athletics, Attitude and Advocate for Students & Teachers. Married to OU Softball coach Patty Gasso, Jim and Patty have two boys JT and DJ.
Jim Gasso has over twenty years of teaching, administration and coaching experience at both high school and the collegiate levels. Jim has taught at Community Christian School , substitute with NPS & Dimensions Academy(alternative education)
Jim Gasso started Intencity Sports Training Academy a couple years ago to not only increase boy’s and girl’s athletic ability but for personal development as well. Open to all ages and sports.
Jim Gasso received his Bachelor of Arts – Physical Education from California State University at Long Beach. Went on to pursue a Masters of Arts in Education from Azusa Pacific University. And most recently studied at UCLA’s Administrator Development Institute.
Jim Gasso was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Advancement of Hispanic Students in Higher Education Task Force. Within the Norman School District, Jim has served on the Citizens Advisory Council. Currently Jim participates on the Licensed Behavioral Practitioners Advisory Board.
Jim Gasso would be your voice to the school district and he bring passion for excellence and accountability.
Sparks announced in November that he would not seek a second term, crediting family and business time constraints.
Voters will decide between Jim Gasso, 4201 Upper Lake Drive; Paul Maus, 4801 W. Two Lakes Ave.; and Julie Raadschelders, 1515 Post Oak Road, when polls open Feb. 8.
Not everything is “hunky dory,” and it’s not always going to be, Jim Gasso said. But he has the vigor of a coach on the sidelines when asked about his vision for the district, for which he’s lobbying himself as the candidate for “straight A’s.”
“You have to stay on the curve,” said Gasso, who’s wife, Patty, is the head softball coach at the University of Oklahoma. “I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I wanted to run for school board.”
Gasso, 52, originally from Southern California, has lived in Norman for 17 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts in physical education from California State University in Long Beach and Master of Arts in education from Azusa Pacific University.
While waiting on Sparks’ five-year term to end and his campaign run to begin, he’s stacked his resume, which includes teaching and coaching on the high school and collegiate level for the last 20 years, serving on the district’s Citizens Advisory Council, creating Intensity Sports Training Academy in Norman and substituting at several of the district’s schools.
And now, he says he’s ready. “That’s me. That’s what I truly believe I was put here to do,” Gasso said. “I loved school because I was blessed with teachers with a love for education. And now, it’s my time to give back.”
He stressed accountability — how resources are used and money spent — as his key platform and repeated his “be the best” philosophy — adopted from OU’s President David Boren — leaning forward with intensity each time. “We have to develop our youth because they’re our next leaders,” said Gasso, who has two sons. And part of that means tweaking the district’s discipline policy, which Gasso said is lacking.
The shortfall was such to the extent that several years ago he pulled his oldest son out of Norman Public Schools and transferred him into the private Community Christian School in Norman, where he graduated. His youngest son also attended the private Christian school, but has since been re-enrolled in Norman Public Schools.
He said the district needs more resources, but he wasn’t specific about what, and credited the schools’ lack of discipline for transferring his son. “One thing public schools lack is discipline,” he said. Gasso said his agenda is more philosophical right now, adding that it’s difficult to outline from the outside. “I’m not coming in as the big hero, but I have a pretty good idea. I just want to be part of the process to make things better,” Gasso said.