After 34 years as educator, Lake Central's Al Gandolfi starting new career

After 34 years as educator, Lake Central's Al Gandolfi starting new career

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Al Gandolfi, Lake Central School Corp. assistant superintendent, makes comments at the "Wake Up Call" presentation last year at Lake Central High School in St. John.

ST. JOHN — By the time he was a junior in high school in Calumet City, Al Gandolfi said he knew he wanted to do something that involved helping others, but he didn't know at the time what that career would be.

The Lake Central School Board approved the retirement of Gandolfi, now 58, effective at the end of the school year after 34 years in education at almost every level, from teaching to his current position as assistant superintendent for Lake Central, a position he has held since the 2010-11 school year.

"I'm just retiring. I'm not going to stop working," he said. "I had great opportunities in my life. I worked as a teacher at every development level, and I was an administrator at all developmental levels. Although I love my job and the people I work with, I have very little contact with the students, and I miss that."

After starting out as a teacher in Calumet City, he moved to Indiana in the 1980s, first in Hammond and then Lake Central, before going to Munster as an assistant principal and then principal. He returned to Lake Central as director of curriculum in the 2009-10 school year.

"I believe I had the ability to impact kids at every level. I worked with kids with special needs, and that was very rewarding. I am happy that I was able to finish at the Lake Central office and help other administrators grow," he said.

He and his wife, Lynn, have three daughters and own a couple of businesses together, the Tasty Olive retail store in Highland, and an athletic training company called Athletes by Design. Gandolfi also recently started SHAPE — Sharing Hope, Addiction Prevention and Education — with Jerry Patrick, a St. John police officer, who also is the school resource officer at Lake Central, and Charity Lyda, a Lake Central teacher.

"Our goal is to educate parents on the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction," he said of the latter. "I would also like to be an advocate for students and parents who are struggling. There are many opportunities out there, but I am not sure exactly what I will end up doing."

"Al's contributions to our school system will be greatly missed," Superintendent Larry Veracco said.

"His diverse expertise has enabled him to solve all sorts of problems and manage a lot of difficult situations. While we are sad to see him move on, he has worked hard all his life, and we wish him a long and happy retirement."

Slideshow: Celebrating Region teachers like Christine McCollum, Alicia Darnstaedt and Monica Hardy


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