Mastio Nomination




       2017 Lifetime Achievement Award



I/II.  Name, Key achievements

What an honor it is to nominate Dr. Gerald M. Mastio for a Lifetime Achievement Award.   Dr. Mastio served as a member of the East Richland Community Unit #1 Board of Education for thirteen years and President of the Board of Education for ten years.   He was the 2004 recipient of the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award for the State’s Outstanding School Board President.   His leadership created academic excellence, provided equal opportunities for all students and established an environment of trust.

Dr. Mastio was elected to the Board of Education in 1999 and at the first organizational meeting Jerry was elected President of the Board.   That was different!   Usually the President of the Board is the board member with the most or at least some prior experience as a board member   Not so in Jerry’s case!

Jerry had been a supporter of ERCU #1 as a community member.   His children graduated from the district.   He was actively involved as a parent and community leader.   One of his greatest commitments and joys was his work with the football team as their doctor!   Therefore, it was not a surprise that Dr. Mastio assumed the role of President of the School Board!

Jerry knew how to lead!   He worked with board members, administration, and staff to create an environment where questions were welcome, conflict was acknowledged, and collaboration happened!   Jerry always asked WHY?  His focus was always on the child or the student.  He valued education and believed that indeed all children should have opportunities for learning. 

Jerry ran a formal meeting but one that was relaxed and happy.   He showed respect for all who came before the board and worked to address their concerns.   During executive session and often later in the evening Jerry would often tell a story or a joke.   He would share stories from the hospital, experiences from his childhood, or perhaps stories of places he had been and things he had done.   We cherished those times and marveled at his experiences, opportunities and his ability to tell the story.   For indeed we enjoyed the story, loved the joke, and got to know Jerry the man!

Jerry had the eye of the surgeon!   He could find the error in the board packet, hear the highs and lows of the band, and discover the opportunity that was there all the time but not recognized.    He paid careful attention to all detail, whether it was hiring of the superintendent or the approval of the volunteer.   In fact, with each employee or volunteer he would ask the question- Will this person be a good role model for young people?   Kids always came first!

Jerry loved presenting the small gift to teachers and staff during National Education Week.   It always took him longer than we had planned for he would stop and tell the students a story, or ask them a question, or engage them in a discussion.   It was always difficult to know if the students, staff or Jerry enjoyed it the most!

During Jerry’s time on the board – the district opened a brand new state of the art Elementary facility in 2000.   In 2002 the High School was remodeled and in 2009 the Middle School went through a complete renovation.   Jerry saw curricular changes too as he was supportive of the Junior Recruiting Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program, the Dual credit program with Olney Central College, the enhancement of the Special Education program, the addition of a “hands-on” vocational woodworking course, the addition of the Middle and High School Vocal music program, increased guidance services for all students, laid the foundation for the annexation of Richland County Schools, and the list goes on and on.    In addition, Jerry was instrumental in the establishment of the Global Initiative which has resulted in our school partnering with a high school in Gars, Germany.   It was Jerry who challenged us to create and implement this exciting program and he supported it all along the way!

We were all delighted when Jerry was recognized in 2004 as the State’s Most Outstanding Board President!   Jerry was the ultimate professional!   He represented the school district and community in a most outstanding manner.   He was confident is who he was, had no hidden agenda, and was committed to all children.   Jerry recognized the value of education is his life and was passionate about the importance of education for our students and the future of our community.   Jerry had a collaborative style of leadership that was inclusive rather than exclusive.   He was modest and humble about the work of the district and wanted to hear from all stakeholders.   His smile, wit, and twinkle in the eye added to his charm.   Jerry’s leadership enabled the Richland County Community Unit #1 School District to become a lighthouse district for Southeastern and all of Illinois!

Jerry was a good man who gave so much to others whether it was operating on them to restore their health or sharing his talents with the district.   He and his wife Linda brought his mother to Olney and took wonderful care of her.   He suffered with his daughter Merideth and her family during her illness and upon her death.   That was truly difficult for indeed he lost his only daughter!   David’s family came often to visit and Jerry and Linda loved taking Dave’s four boys on vacation.   Jerry was proud as the boys learned to order from the menu, dress appropriately, and learn the manners of gentlemen.   Steve and his family came to visit and Jerry loved talking about Steve playing tennis and Dave playing football as Olney Tigers.     Jerry loved Hank, Linda’s son as his own.   Hank is now a band director in the Chicago suburbs and just took his band to play some concerts in Germany!   Jerry would be so proud!

Jerry loved his wife Linda!   He supported her, cherished her, and wanted always to please her.   He respected her talents whether he was bragging about her cooking or her latest career achievement.   He enjoyed hearing about her work and loved the stories she would share about students and daily happenings.    Just before his death, Jerry shared that after his first trip to Springfield he was at home and the next thing he could recall was Linda holding his head and telling him “nice things”.   He smiled and the twinkle in his eye was still there!

It was a joy to have known and worked for and with Dr. Gerald Mastio!   We miss his keen mind, his loving heart, and his zest for life! 


III.  Persons willing to attend - 

       If Dr. Mastio is chosen as a recipient of the award, please let me know.   I will try to contact his wife Linda Mastio in the Chicago area.   If she is unable to come, then I will certainly find someone to accept the award.

IV.  Additional Sources of Support

 Board members Ben Anderson, Steve Marrs, Leon Redman, Jeff Wilson, Jervaise McGlone, Jeffrey Rosenberg would be very supportive of this candidate.

     In addition, Mr. Harry Hillis who is in failing health served the district for over 40 years and was the Board Secretary during the time when Dr. Mastio was President.    Harry would be extremely supportive.    Indeed Mr. Hillis is an excellent future nominee!


 Respectfully submitted on June 29, 2017 by:

Marilyn Holt, Retired Superintendent