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: Substitute Teacher, SRVUSD; Substitute Office Manager, SRVUSD; Education and Community Volunteer.
Previous elected positions and years of service in those positions: President, San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs 2007-09; PTA President, Diablo Vista Middle School 2001-03; PTA President, Golden View Elementary 2003-05, 2006-07; Treasurer, Golden View Elementary Site Council 2001-03, 2006-08.
Children in the district: Of four sons, three graduated from and one is enrolled in SRVUSD schools.
1. Why are you running and why would you be particularly effective?
I am running to serve as a member on the SRVUSD school board because I have the skills necessary to effectively move our district forward. For 15 years, I have been a voice for educational excellence and fiscal responsibility in our school district. I bring experience as a parent volunteer, a classified staff member and as a newly credentialed classroom teacher. I was president of the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and served on the leadership team for the successful SRVUSD Reading and Writing Project and Homework Policy.
I have deep roots in our community and a strong commitment to our children and schools. I have a child currently enrolled in our schools and I have grown children who attended our schools. My combined experiences give me a broad perspective. I am uniquely qualified to understand the needs of our students, staff, and parents, and I have the skills necessary to bring everyone together.
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 single most important issue facing this district is the severe budget crisis. In order to deal with it, I will establish priorities and make sure that we follow through to achieve our goals. I will also continue my work to advocate for change at the state level. Local elected bodies, such as school boards, are being forced to bear the burden of a severely dysfunctional state government. We must come together as a community and support our schools locally, while continuing to focus on the bigger picture.
The second biggest challenge faced by the district is how to make our already excellent schools even better. We need to prepare our students to interact in a global economy. We must proactively examine the changes to the world in which our students are growing up and integrate their strengths into our curriculum and teaching methods. We must continue to support our teachers to equip them with the tools and the training necessary to be effective 21st century educators.
3. What is your view regarding the performance of the current School Board and how, if at all, would you act differently?
The current school board has been faced with making budget cuts unlike anything seen in recent memory. I have been attending school board meetings regularly for quite some time and I have watched, firsthand, as the current board struggled with decisions that affected the lives of teachers and the experiences of our students. It has not been easy.
I believe that, going forward, to help ease this burden on everyone involved, we need to collaborate with one another and communicate effectively so that all stakeholders have a voice and an understanding as these difficult decisions are made.
4. It is believed that cost reductions will be needed in the years ahead. How would you face these challenges?
The current financial outlook has our school district facing unprecedented cuts for several years to come. Local school districts continue to be asked to do more with fewer resources. Now, more than ever, it is time to elect proven leaders who have the skills necessary to make difficult decisions.
I believe that collaboration is essential to effectively face the challenges ahead. I have spent the past 14 years working as a school and community volunteer in this district. During this time, I have worked hard to establish myself as a proven leader who has earned the trust and respect of the community. I have built positive relationships with personnel, corporate connections, and parents. When difficult decisions must be made, I will leverage my relationships with people throughout the community to seek their input and engage in collaborative discussions that, in spite of budget cuts, will allow us to come to decisions that will maintain and improve our already excellent schools.
I will also draw upon my experiences in the corporate world, where, as a Corporate Sites Manager for the Gymboree Corporation, I managed the operations, personnel, and budgets for Gymboree Play Program locations throughout the Bay Area.
I will always put the needs of our children in our classrooms first.