Joe Gray

Grove Sun

With three years of service under his belt, Grove School Board member Rami Masri has seen many changes, and is anxious to continue his service.

Masi is running for re-election to the Grove School Board against Clara Mills in the February 8 election.

“Of all the various boards I’ve served on, the School Board is by far the most rewarding,” Masri said.  “As a Realtor, when I bring people here the first thing they want to know about are the schools, the roads, the hospital, and we’ve made great improvements in all those areas.”

Masri and his family have lived here for nine years, returning to his wife’s hometown where they currently have three boys in the Grove school system.

Masri bought Shangri-La Realty several years ago, and has now seen it grow to a firm with 27 agents and two offices.  During that time, Masri says he has seen great improvement in the schools in recent years.

“When I first moved up here, it was tough to drive people by the middle school, which is typically the first thing families want to see,” Masri said.  “With this latest bond issue, we’ve really addressed a lot of issues, like leaky roofs, adding classroom space, and health and security issues.  For years here they were operating without a long-term plan, just addressing needs when they came up.  We have worked hard to develop a long-term plan.”

Masri’s passion from education comes from his mother, a native Oklahoman who moved her kids back to the heartland from their overseas home so they could benefit from public education.

“Education is the great equalizer,” Masri said.  “I’ve been to grade school all over the world.  I’ve seen how kids are educated in third-world countries.  Public education is what makes our country great.”

For his service, Masri and fellow board member Kenny Wright were recently awarded the 2010 Board of Education Excellence Award by the OSSBA for pursuing continuing education beyond the legal requirements.

Masri and others have also been working on a project to track Grove students through and after college, to get their feedback on what areas the school can improve to prepare them for college. 

“We really want this to be a place where kids can get educated, be prepared, go off to college, and then come back and raise their families,” Masri said.

Masri says the current board has worked very well together, and is enthusiastic in his praise for new Superintendent Sandy Harper.

“I’m extremely proud of the job our Superintendent has done, and you can’t discount that,” Masri said.  “She took over a very tough situation, and was left with a financial mess.  Sandy has been absolutely fantastic.”