Niagara Gazette — Former Niagara Falls City Councilman Michael S. Gawel has declared his intentions to join the Niagara Falls City School Board.
The Falls native who has served as an accountant and tax advisor said he wants to see the district succeed, which he said isn't happening at the moment.
"I am running because I see our schools failures," he said in a release. "Low test scores, low graduation rates and a failure to get all sides together, including administrators, teachers, parents and students, (contribute). There should be a way to increase daily attendance and there should be a plan put in place to reach that goal. Our children cannot learn if they are not in school."
Born as the middle of five children to Chester and Mary Gawel, Michael Gawel grew up on 27th Street. Growing up, he attended Niagara Street School, Gaskill Jr. High and Niagara Falls High School, where he wrestled for four years and served as treasurer of the student council and senior class.
After graduating in 1974, he went on to attend Niagara University where he received a his bachelor's degree in accounting with honors. He's also a licensed Certified Public Accountant and received his doctorate from University at Buffalo School of Law in 1984.
Gawel's three children have all graduated from area high schools, with two finishing at Niagara Catholic and the other at NFHS. He said providing quality education is important to the future of the country.
"Education is very important to me." he said. "It's something that no one can take away from you.
"We need to get test scores and graduation rates up for the bottom third. Everyone who starts school in kindergarten school expect to graduate and have a fair chance to go on to college if they wish. Every student should have a chance to attend college, but college is not for everyone."
Gawel said he thinks his experiences and knowledge would make him an asset in the district's budget process.
"I have lived in Niagara Falls all my life and have served on the Niagara Falls City Council," he said. "I have seen the decline of our city, communities, industries and our schools. We need to turn this decline around. With my experience and education, I know I can help make this happen."