Candidate profile: James Jack Yaekel Jr.

Name: James Jack Yaekel Jr.

Age: 45

Immediate family members: Son of Jim and Rosemary Yaekel, sibling of Julie Yaekel Blackelk, Jean Wood, Jodie House, Jennifer Schlemmer and Joe Yaekel

Town: Waterloo

Office seeking: Waterloo School Board Dist. 5

Occupation: Instructor for Union Laborers of Southern Illinois

Previous and elected offices and terms served: None

Why are you running? I grew up in the Waterloo school system. I want to use the educational foundation it gave me to give back to the community and its children. I would be honored to have the opportunity to work with the school board on maintaining Waterloo’s position as one of the best school systems in our area.

What is the most important issue facing the Waterloo Community Unit School District? How would you approach it? The biggest issue facing our school system is unreliability of finances from the state. A way to help our budget is to keep our spending well in check by ensuring our school buildings are up to date and operating efficiently.

Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not? I do not believe the demographic reflection from teachers to students needs to be similar. Having a diverse group of teachers for our students to learn from, interact with, and gain different perspectives from is just as important a lesson for the students to ingest as the subject of the classroom.

How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? I believe it is important to keep our education up-to-date with the continuously changing technology and needs of our community. Therefore, STEM should be an integral part of our educational system with an emphasis on education in the trades, including agriculture, construction, and automotive. That being said, it is equally important that the fine arts department does not suffer from lack of resources or support due to the shifting focus to STEM.

Why should people vote for you? Having worked in the construction industry all of my life, I offer a valuable well of knowledge to tap for the Building and Grounds Committee. My aspirations are built even higher though. I want to make sure everyone is heard. From the young lady in shop class wanting to build her dream home to the old couple trying to keep their dream home from ever rising taxes. Fiscal responsibility, fair representation, and the ability lend a helping hand to whoever needs it are my greatest priorities.