Teaching adds up for outgoing District 230 board president

By Jeff Vorva

High School District 230 president and longtime board member Frank Grabowski didn't hesitate when asked what he thinks is the perfect teaching job.

"Junior high math," he said. Since retiring from the business world after more than three decades of service, Grabowski is finding that his new passion is teaching. He got a taste of it subbing in Orland District 135 and Kirby School District 140 since this school year started. With this change in career path, he is also giving up his seat on the board as he will not run for re-election April 9.

After serving on the District 140 board for four years, he is the longest-serving District 230 board member as he logged 14 years after bring appointed in 1999 and winning three elections.

But he's giving that up for a while.

"Education is the career I want to go to at this point in time," he said after last Thursday's school board meeting. "I went down the business path for 33 years and now I actually want to be in the classroom with the students. I've had a chance to help businesses save millions of dollars with all kinds of projects. I know what is expected from the administrative point of view. Now I have a chance to actually be with the students and whatever school district I teach for will be very exciting to me.

"I've worked both junior high and high school. I will continue on until I get a fulltime position. With that in mind, I want to commit myself to those efforts."

His last job in the business world was as a coordinator for meter-to-cash for People's Energy where he said he tried to find solutions that would save the company and consumers money.

The Tinley Park resident is a graduate of Quigley South High School and holds two bachelor's degrees from Loyola University and a master of business administration degree from DePaul.

In April, 2011 he was voted as president by the board.

"I was nominated once before and didn't get the votes," he said after the vote. "I look at this as true community service as a steward for the taxpayers and as a steward for the families and the students themselves."

Former board member Mike Hastings, who is now a state senator, nominated Grabowski and said "his background is unmatched."

"He assumed numerous leadership roles … and brings innovative solutions to complex problems," Hastings said after the meeting.

Now Grabowski is getting a hands-on experience in working with kids and it's something he hopes to do for the long term.

"I've been concerned with customers and I've been concerned with taxpayers," Grabowski said. "I've been concerned with students from this side [the board of education level] and now I want to be there in the actual classroom to help them.

"From what I've already experienced this year and last year has been very rewarding so I know I'm going to enjoy going down that path. I want to find a place that wants someone like me who wants to be there for a while and wants to build a long relationship."