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Candidate profile: Gunnar J. Haberl, Iroquois School Board

Gunnar Haberl .jpgSchool district: Iroquois

Age: 18

Town (current residence): Elma

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

I am currently employed as a Legislative Aide in the New York State Assembly and enrolled at the University at Buffalo working towards a dual Bachelor's Degree in Legal Studies and Political Science with a minor in Education. Additionally, I am involved in the EMW Soccer Organization and am a member of the Buffalo Choral Arts Society. Recently, I have shadowed various government officials including members of the United States Congress, New York State Senators, Erie County Legislators and the Elma Town Supervisor. These experiences afforded me a greater depth of understanding about the role of government and more importantly, solidified the true value of serving the community.

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 13

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? Yes

If yes, please list your election history:

2013, 2014, 2015: Elected to represent Western New York Schools on the New York State Council of Leadership and Student Activities 2015: Elected as the Student Body President at Iroquois High School 2015: Elected as the Iroquois High School Principal's Student Cabinet President

Please tell us about yourself:

Throughout my time at Iroquois, I served as the President of both the Student Government and Principal's Student Cabinet as well as on various committees, including the Iroquois Character Education Committee and the Iroquois Athletic Council. Together, the two groups worked to revise and implement policy change for the district. Furthermore, I was elected by student councils across Western New York to represent Erie County students and school districts on the New York State Council of Leadership and Student Activities, which provided me the opportunity to attend numerous statewide and national leadership conferences.

Please describe the top issues facing your school district and how you would address them as a school board member:

I believe a pressing issue that the district continually addresses is how to maintain the quality educational programs Iroquois is noted for, given the fiscal limitations and mandated programs placed upon the district by New York State. As a recent graduate I can offer the perspective of the student body and how decisions that are made can affect them and their education. The distanced connection between those who make the decisions and those whom the decisions effect is an unmet need in this community's school district. It is important that our district bridges this gap so that the district can continue to provide the outstanding education it does today.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? No

Please explain why, in 100 words or less:

I believe that both school districts and the State Education Department have the student's best interests in mind while making decisions. They want students to succeed and become contributing members of society. However, there are several obstacles that continue to plague and hinder the educational process for students, educators and parents. Due to contrary motivations such as personal political aims, political agendas, and financial incentives, the implementation of certain educational policies, such as the Common Core Standards, have yielded underwhelming results. As we move forward it is our collective responsibility to guide the education system to serve our students and educators efficiently.

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