|IASB JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE|
2003 JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE
First-term board president honored for taking charge
"I'm just one of you," Gerald Mastio told board members Sunday at the
closing session of the IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference. But this year, Mastio
stands out as the recipient of the Illinois State Board of Education's 2003 Thomas
Lay Burroughs Outstanding School Board President award.
The Olney, Ill., surgeon was honored for accepting a leadership role in East
Richland Community Unit School District 1 at a time when that board of education was in
"The community had lost respect, trust and confidence in the Board of
Education," read Mastio's nomination from fellow board members. Just elected to
his first term on the board in 1999, "Dr. Mastio was elected President (at the
reorganization meeting) and the course of direction for the district changed."
"Dr. Mastio brought professionalism, formality and order to the school board
meetings, and dignity and respect were restored," his fellow board members wrote.
In making the presentation, ISBE board member Joyce Karon of Barrington described
Mastio as someone "who likes the valedictorian but fights for the at-risk
She also injected a personal note about the recipient when she described how the
physician's trained observation skills may have saved the life of a fellow state
Beverly Turkal, of Robinson, was serving as interim superintendent in East
Richland and hurrying on the way to a meeting when she happened to run into Mastio, Karon
said. The doctor told Turkal she didn't look well. Turkal insisted she was fine, but
He convinced the busy Turkal that she should take time to have a blood test, which
revealed severe anemia, resulting in a number of essential transfusions. Mastio's
persistence saved her life, Karon said.
Under Mastio's leadership, East Richland also received recognition as an Illinois
Spotlight School, has seen an increase in the high school graduation rate, has added a
volunteer program to pair 100 community leaders with at-risk students and received the
2003 International Reading Award for Exemplary Schools.
Mastio said he was indebted to his fellow board members for nominating him and for
their assistance in guiding the district to its successes.
The Outstanding School Board President Award is presented annually in honor of Thomas
Lay Burroughs, former ISBE chairman who died in 1991 from complications of Crohn's
disease. Burroughs, who also served as president of the Collinsville SD 10 school board,
represented the fourth generation of his family to serve that district.
The award seeks to recognize the qualities of outstanding leadership on behalf of
improved student learning and educational excellence; outstanding leadership on behalf of
equal educational opportunities; and outstanding leadership in resolving a crisis or major
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