News

SRVUSD Board profiles: Rachel Hurd

Four are vying for three spots in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education. While it appears that boundary changes for Dougherty Valley elementary schools are off the table, budget cuts, teacher's union negotiations and overcrowding are among the top issues facing the board. This week, we will post a candidate profile each day, in alphabetic order by last name.

Occupation/training: Incumbent; community volunteer; reading tutor; 2006 graduate of Leadership San Ramon Valley; retired aerospace engineer, Total Quality Management Systems trainer, and staff manager of strategic technology management and business development. B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Davis.

Residence: San Ramon

Previous elected positions and years of service in those positions: SRVUSD Governing Board Member, 2006 to present.

Children in the district: Of her three children, one has graduated from and the others are enrolled in SRVUSD schools.

1. Why are you running and why would you be particularly effective?

Education is the most important service a community provides for its youth to ensure that they grow up to be productive members of society. I am running for re-election because I want to continue to help shape and influence the quality of the educational experience of students in our schools. I want all children in our schools to graduate prepared to be productive, engaged and fulfilled citizens with viable options for their futures.

My combination of perspectives and experiences is what makes me particularly effective and has helped me earn the credibility and trust of educators. I have proven experience as a school board member who has had to work through difficult financial times to preserve the quality of education in our schools. As a member of the district's negotiating team, I am well aware of the concerns of the employee associations and the management team as we strive to do more with less money per student. I have significant, current, hands-on experience as a parent leader and volunteer in our schools, and therefore have a good sense of what's happening at our schools. Personal experience with my own children's learning issues, coupled with my involvement in both the district's improvement efforts in special education and intervention programs at school sites, gives me a unique perspective on the challenges of how we make education work for all students. My community involvement in scouting, youth sports, Leadership San Ramon Valley, the Facilities Oversight and Advisory Committee, and more recently Rotary International gives me a well-rounded view of the community's values and varied interests. And finally, because the district has had significant leadership changes during the past two years, it's important to have board members with a historical perspective and familiarity with the district's challenges, successes, priorities, and new initiatives.

2. What do you believe are the two most important issues facing the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and how would you deal with them?

The most important issue facing the district is how we continue to provide a quality educational experience for each of our students by continually improving learning and engagement. The second most important issue is how we do that with limited resources, especially now when we are facing unprecedented financial challenges as a result of California's fiscal crisis coupled with the recession.

There may be different opinions about how to improve student learning and engagement, especially with limited resources. It's important that the values and concerns of all stakeholders - students, parents, staff (at all levels and in all functions), and community members - be considered as the district sets direction and aligns initiatives. I think we are on the right track by understanding and emphasizing the balance of rigor, relationships, and relevance in our classrooms, schools, and the district as a whole. We also need to acknowledge and work positively with the natural tension between district direction and site-based initiative. And finally, we need to continue to encourage the incredible parent involvement and commitment to our schools.

3. What is your view regarding the performance of the current School Board and how, if at all, would you act differently?

The role of the school board is to provide governing oversight of the school district, on behalf of the public. The current School Board does its job well. Much of the Board's work is to approve or reject the recommendations of staff, and 5-0 votes are typical. This is not to say that we merely rubberstamp everything that comes before us. We also influence by asking questions and providing insight. We have a more active, hands-on board than most school districts. I do my homework, consider all perspectives, and weigh all options to make the decision that is best for all involved.

4. It is believed that cost reductions will be needed in the years ahead. How would you face these challenges?

I don't want to cut programs for students any further. I greatly appreciate that our employee groups answered the call to help reduce costs by accepting four furlough days for this school year, thus allowing us to back-off on some program reductions. As a result of the federal jobs bill and the greater-than-anticipated enrollment growth, our financial picture has improved. As promised, the district has asked our employee groups to come back to the negotiating table to discuss reinstating some furlough days. We currently have a tentative agreement to reinstate one instructional day and one staff development day. In addition, we have reinstated a third prep/specialist period for grades 1-3.

But with a state budget not approved yet, we must be prudent and not reinstate more than that in case the State implements mid-year cuts. If we are faced with further cost reductions in the years ahead, I would encourage open dialog with staff, parents, and students, concerning the choices and solutions.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Kindly forgive the repetition, but I would like to ask each candidate for SRVUSD School Board to contribute their thoughts on the issue of bullying in our schools, including, but not limited to bullying based on real or perceived sexual orientation.

This may be our best opportunity to learn where you stand on this issue, which will certainly affect my vote, and perhaps that of other readers.

Do you agree with the State Department of Education's model anti-bullying policy? Will you make prevention a high personal priority, if elected? If so, how?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Dear Dolores,

Certainly many issues by readers should be revisited by the candidates individually. Most specifically, we should challenge the current board to address issues outside their consideration and core of support. The current board is focused inwardly at a very small core of administration, PTA leadership, unions and government-allied organizations. If your readers review the scope of review by the current board the reality is little dimension beyond that which the administration brings to the board.

Among neighborhoods there are questions if large campus environments and competitive structures are not the real culprit in the creation of bullying and other forms of intimidation. It certainly raises the question of whether High School is an educational model for a diverse society.

So let's challenge candidates and current board members to fully list there agenda of important issues in our schools and the innovations that provide direction toward solutions. We have John Lane as a student a few years ago in SRVUSD, exceptionally well-educated, and having the potential to focus this discussion. We have Rachel Hurd that has reached to draw SRVUSD agendas beyond operations and fiscal considerations. John and Rachel can set the agenda for these discussions and allow readers to provide their very savvy positions.

Diversity, readers, please express your concerns.

halbailey@yahoo.com


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Knowledge Seeker
a resident of Blackhawk
on Oct 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I want to know what is her stand on sexual orientation as well.

In the schools here are students are already being taught by teachers who voted Yes on Prop 8. What policies should be put in place in order for these teachers and or staff members from bullying these kids themselves as well as protecting them from other students who believe religion must teach how people live their lives? How can it be assured that these teachers teaching these kids will not have bias on students with a different sexual orientation, and that this will not lead to suicides?

How about the Polyamory families who have children at school?

Also, what is Rachel's view in regards to supporting gay rights or trying to destroy them?

We need to support the LGBT community, and prevent suicides. Whether anyone likes it or not, more students are having the courage to come out of the closet, which should be promoted.

What is Rachel's opinion on Midland's School District's VP of the board, and his racially charged comments on Facebook?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 31, 2010 at 6:44 pm

[post removed]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2010 at 8:46 am

Let's make sure that we thank the candidates for SRVUSD Board for seeking election to serve our will and interests. I specifically appreciate Rachel and John making an effort to make this election about their individual service to SRVUSD residents as owners and stakeholders of the district.

Media brought the candidates to the voters as individuals making it easier for residents, including parents, to choose who will provide diversity and individuality in their decisions on the broad educational and fiscal issues SRVUSD faces going forward. We can hope that the new board will not be secondary in their direction of the district and will focus administrators on the broader need of operations suitable to our fiscal resources.

Thank you Rachel, John, Denise and Ken.

Harald A. Bailey
halbailey@yahoo.com


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Prop 46: Two Bridges Too Far
By Tom Cushing | 22 comments | 1,994 views

The valley loses a distinguished and humble leader
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,355 views

My secret identity is revealed!
By Roz Rogoff | 2 comments | 1,120 views