By Traci Chapman
Paul Gerber says he decided to file for the Yukon Board of Education due to what he saw as a disconnect between the panel and parents – a situation he wants to change.
“I attended a school board meeting back in June of 2021,” Gerber said last week. “What I saw was a definite disconnect of communication between the board and the parents; I want to close that gap.”
Gerber said he was concerned not only about the lack of communication between Yukon school board members and parents but also issues surrounding student behavior. Yukon, like many districts, has reported an uptick in student disciplinary problems, particularly since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Oklahoma in March 2020. Although to a great extent the worst of the pandemic has receded, behavioral issues remained, officials said.
Those issues were what Gerber cited as the biggest challenge to the district at this time.
“I hear a lot of bullying and disrespect toward the teachers and fellow students; but mainly the teachers – I understand that this could be one of the many reasons why substitute teachers do not want to fill in,” he said. “I am concerned about the student body behavior – we need to involve the parents 100% and have open dialogue as to why this might be happening.
“I want see the students be educated as well-rounded and productive individuals in the workforce,” Gerber said. “We need to focus more on learning how to communicate with others both writing and verbally, excel at math and science, engineering and reading.”
While Gerber said he believed Yukon Board of Education’s members’ intentions were overall “focused on growth for the schools and how it effects the community,” he wished to “establish a civil discourse between the board and the parents, to actually listen to parents’ concerns and frustrations.”
Gerber, 52, is a chemical engineer who graduated from University of Oklahoma in 2005. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he has six children and 10 grandchildren and has been married 24 years.
“I am an engineer with a business mindset along with logic and reason to make the best financial decisions for the school and for the future of the school system,” Gerber said. “Above all, I will be the voice of the parents – they elected the board to represent them and they help decide what’s best for their children also.”