When Gail Matson married a school teacher in 1997 – and three years later adopted twin 5½-year-old children – she knew she wanted involvement beyond just parenting.

“I have been involved in the Parent Teacher Association since our children started first grade at Midland Elementary School,” said Matson, noting that Daniel and Mariah are now age 17 and attending Mt. Carmel High School in Rancho Penasquitos. “And I served as PTA president at all three schools (including Black Mountain Middle School, and currently at MCHS, where husband Ken teaches).”

Matson is proud of many things connected to her volunteer activities, but she specifically mentions two programs involving Poway Unified School District campuses. “The PTA Reflections program is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “This National PTA arts recognition program is held during the fall at all units and many students advance to council, district and even the national level. I have a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in photography, played the clarinet on and off my whole life, love to dance and appreciate many forms of art – thus my appreciation for being the Reflections Chair for the local PTA.”

In addition, Matson actually trains other Reflections Chairs for all PTA organizations in San Diego and Imperial counties.

She’s equally pleased with two current projects she launched involving Mt. Carmel High School: The weekly Farmers Market and the MCHS Media Sale. “The Farmers Market operates 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday on the MCHS campus, and its main focus is to raise funds for such programs as Grad Nite, Reflections, Coffee with the Principal, Staff Appreciation Breakfasts, Adopt-a-Family, Character Counts and Senior Scholarships,” said Matson, who actually lives in Poway. “And the Media Sale operates twice a year at the MCHS campus, including 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 27-28. Books, CDs, DVDs and other media are donated by the community – and we sell them to local residents, with all funds donated to the Library at the Mount.”

But Matson’s community involvement doesn’t stop at the school house door. She also devotes time and energy to the Poway Youth Soccer League, Rancho Bernardo Soccer, Poway Valley Garden Club, and Poway Community Leadership Institute.

In addition, she owns and operates Freelance Production, a graphic design company operated from her home; plays in a competitive women’s soccer league; and is an avid gardener.

“Growing fruits and veggies and creating foods to share with others is also a passion of mine,” said Matson, mentioning that it’s a love she and her husband share. “We can preserve a lot: Catsup, salsa, stewed tomatoes, applesauce and more.”

She even turned the pleasure she gets from working a garden into an opportunity to give something back. “Being the environmentalist that I am, I took a 30-hour class in composting and now donate my knowledge to organizations in San Diego each year giving back those 30 hours (as a San Diego Master Composter, promoting and teaching composting),” she said.

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Name: Gail Matson

Age: 47

Residence: Poway

Affiliation: Mt. Carmel High School PTSA

Family: Married to Ken; two children

Occupation: Graphic Designer

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Group: Mt. Carmel High School PTSA

Members: 677

Purpose: To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.

Contact: www.powayusd.com/pusdmchs/ptsa/
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