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School board candidate profile: Jerome C. Pandell

Challenger eyes enhancing output, outlets, outside engagement

Challenging for a seat on the San Ramon Valley school board, Danville resident Jerome C. Pandell aims to bring a fresh outlook that would help enhance the school district in the areas of openness, output, outlets and outside engagement.

The 31-year-old Pandell said he has "the background and experience to bring a good forward-thinking perspective to our schools that will allow us to maintain those traditions of excellence that our district is already known for to some degree. And you can't just rest on your laurels and hope everything will work out to be the same because you'll discover reality doesn't always work that way."

A Danville native who attended San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) schools, Pandell works as a lawyer focusing on construction-related litigation, representing engineering and architecture companies for a law firm based in Walnut Creek.

He is the only challenger facing off against a trio of incumbents in the race for three Board of Education positions this fall.

Billing himself as "an advocate for our schools, from our schools," Pandell said one of his top priorities is to increase the openness and accessibility of the school board, in part by "lobbying heavily" to implement a policy of providing video or audio recordings of board meetings online.

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By making the recordings available, the district would be "helping (parents and students) understand what's going on in their school district more by just being able to watch or listen to it online," according to Pandell.

Another focus would be working to make sure the district maintains its strong educational output "in the face of curricular and financial changes," he said, referring to California's new Common Core State Standards and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

He called Common Core "a great program," adding that successful implementation of the new standards is key for the SRVUSD.

Pandell said the district needs to ensure "the students actually are able to apply what they're learning -- which is great stuff that reminds me of some of the best teaching I had growing up in these schools -- to the assessments that they are being given. I'm confident that our teachers will be able to do that, but we have to make sure they have the resources at a district level to do that."

He also offered praise for the LCFF, contending it "should, over time, bring the district back to where it was before the recession in terms of state-received funding." But he said the school board should remain forward-thinking in using the LCFF funds and seeking other funding outlets.

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"I believe we need to be stronger partners with our state and federal elected officials in terms of finding resources, not just for our school district, but that will help all school districts in California maximize their full potential," Pandell added.

Pandell said he is optimistic about the SRVUSD's financial situation going forward but would take steps "to ensure that we're prepared for even the slight changes so that we can continue on a trajectory that allows us to maintain, and even strengthen, the traditions of excellence that we already have."

As a Danville homeowner, Pandell said he "happily pays" the San Ramon Valley's $144 school parcel tax, which is set to sunset in June 2016.

"I fully support asking the voters to re-up the parcel tax," Pandell added. "If there is support at some level in the community to increase that parcel tax to meet our needs, I would favor that to the extent that support is there."

Another important issue for the district is how to address overcrowding due to ongoing growth in the Valley, according to Pandell, who said his experience with the construction industry could help with solutions such as space-planning and boundary adjustments.

He said he would also work to make sure the district not only "has a seat at the table in some of these (development) discussions, but makes its voice more loudly heard when these issues come up."

"There are other things that we hopefully can and should be able to do in terms of working with our cities to make sure that development and growth in this Valley does not become something impossible for the district to manage," he added.

The school board could also do more to engage the local business community and provide more support to special education, according to Pandell.

Additionally, increased investments in extracurricular activities such as the arts, speech and debate clubs, and athletics would "help make sure our students have the opportunity to be as well-rounded as we want them to be going into college," he said.

"I'm someone that believes investments pay off," he added. "When we invest in our schools, our students and our teachers, those pay dividends down the line that are an immeasurably amount greater than what the investment originally was."

Pandell said enhanced engagement within the school community, especially with younger parents, would also be among his top priorities as a board member.

"I'd listen, and I want to hear from our voters, our parents, students, teachers, administrators ... what issues matter to them," he explained. "And that is policy and ethos I will bring to the job when I'm elected."

Born in Walnut Creek and raised in Danville, Pandell attended Rancho Romero Elementary School and Stone Valley Middle School in Alamo before graduating from San Ramon Valley High School in Danville.

He earned a bachelor's degree with honors in political science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 2005. He completed his law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 2008.

Pandell sits on the UC Hastings College of the Law Board of Governors and the Northwestern University Leadership Circle Board of Directors. He also serves as treasurer for the Contra Costa Young Democrats and the Landmark Oak Homeowners Association governing board.

He is not currently married and has no children.

Editor's note: Town Square posts in response to this story that contain unverified information or blatant campaigning will be removed.

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School board candidate profile: Jerome C. Pandell

Challenger eyes enhancing output, outlets, outside engagement

by /

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 16, 2014, 10:13 pm

Challenging for a seat on the San Ramon Valley school board, Danville resident Jerome C. Pandell aims to bring a fresh outlook that would help enhance the school district in the areas of openness, output, outlets and outside engagement.

The 31-year-old Pandell said he has "the background and experience to bring a good forward-thinking perspective to our schools that will allow us to maintain those traditions of excellence that our district is already known for to some degree. And you can't just rest on your laurels and hope everything will work out to be the same because you'll discover reality doesn't always work that way."

A Danville native who attended San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) schools, Pandell works as a lawyer focusing on construction-related litigation, representing engineering and architecture companies for a law firm based in Walnut Creek.

He is the only challenger facing off against a trio of incumbents in the race for three Board of Education positions this fall.

Billing himself as "an advocate for our schools, from our schools," Pandell said one of his top priorities is to increase the openness and accessibility of the school board, in part by "lobbying heavily" to implement a policy of providing video or audio recordings of board meetings online.

By making the recordings available, the district would be "helping (parents and students) understand what's going on in their school district more by just being able to watch or listen to it online," according to Pandell.

Another focus would be working to make sure the district maintains its strong educational output "in the face of curricular and financial changes," he said, referring to California's new Common Core State Standards and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

He called Common Core "a great program," adding that successful implementation of the new standards is key for the SRVUSD.

Pandell said the district needs to ensure "the students actually are able to apply what they're learning -- which is great stuff that reminds me of some of the best teaching I had growing up in these schools -- to the assessments that they are being given. I'm confident that our teachers will be able to do that, but we have to make sure they have the resources at a district level to do that."

He also offered praise for the LCFF, contending it "should, over time, bring the district back to where it was before the recession in terms of state-received funding." But he said the school board should remain forward-thinking in using the LCFF funds and seeking other funding outlets.

"I believe we need to be stronger partners with our state and federal elected officials in terms of finding resources, not just for our school district, but that will help all school districts in California maximize their full potential," Pandell added.

Pandell said he is optimistic about the SRVUSD's financial situation going forward but would take steps "to ensure that we're prepared for even the slight changes so that we can continue on a trajectory that allows us to maintain, and even strengthen, the traditions of excellence that we already have."

As a Danville homeowner, Pandell said he "happily pays" the San Ramon Valley's $144 school parcel tax, which is set to sunset in June 2016.

"I fully support asking the voters to re-up the parcel tax," Pandell added. "If there is support at some level in the community to increase that parcel tax to meet our needs, I would favor that to the extent that support is there."

Another important issue for the district is how to address overcrowding due to ongoing growth in the Valley, according to Pandell, who said his experience with the construction industry could help with solutions such as space-planning and boundary adjustments.

He said he would also work to make sure the district not only "has a seat at the table in some of these (development) discussions, but makes its voice more loudly heard when these issues come up."

"There are other things that we hopefully can and should be able to do in terms of working with our cities to make sure that development and growth in this Valley does not become something impossible for the district to manage," he added.

The school board could also do more to engage the local business community and provide more support to special education, according to Pandell.

Additionally, increased investments in extracurricular activities such as the arts, speech and debate clubs, and athletics would "help make sure our students have the opportunity to be as well-rounded as we want them to be going into college," he said.

"I'm someone that believes investments pay off," he added. "When we invest in our schools, our students and our teachers, those pay dividends down the line that are an immeasurably amount greater than what the investment originally was."

Pandell said enhanced engagement within the school community, especially with younger parents, would also be among his top priorities as a board member.

"I'd listen, and I want to hear from our voters, our parents, students, teachers, administrators ... what issues matter to them," he explained. "And that is policy and ethos I will bring to the job when I'm elected."

Born in Walnut Creek and raised in Danville, Pandell attended Rancho Romero Elementary School and Stone Valley Middle School in Alamo before graduating from San Ramon Valley High School in Danville.

He earned a bachelor's degree with honors in political science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 2005. He completed his law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 2008.

Pandell sits on the UC Hastings College of the Law Board of Governors and the Northwestern University Leadership Circle Board of Directors. He also serves as treasurer for the Contra Costa Young Democrats and the Landmark Oak Homeowners Association governing board.

He is not currently married and has no children.

Editor's note: Town Square posts in response to this story that contain unverified information or blatant campaigning will be removed.

Comments

Beth
Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:08 am
Beth, Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:08 am

Thanks for your concise coverage of his positions. I absolutely will not be voting for him.


Peter
Danville
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:28 am
Peter, Danville
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

Based on this article, it appears that Mr. Pandell is an excellent candidate for the SRVUSD board. I would like to see more openness in all levels of government, as does Pandell, and his educational position is what our students need. Mr. Pandell will receive my vote.


Name hidden
Alamo

on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm
Name hidden, Alamo

on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Janet
San Ramon
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Janet, San Ramon
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm

He pursued and received support from CTA and the local teachers' union. What did he have to promise to get this support over the incumbent Ken Mintz?


C. R. Mudgeon
Danville
on Oct 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm
C. R. Mudgeon, Danville
on Oct 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I am in agreement with Beth (first commenter, above), and will also not be voting for Mr. Pandell.

In general, it is a bad idea to elect school board members who are backed by the teachers' union, as they will not be effective representatives of the taxpayer during contract negotiations.

The same concept applies to fire district boards - you never want to elect someone to the board with close ties to the union that they will be negotiating with...


Jim
Danville
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm
Jim, Danville
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Yet Contra Costa Taxpayers Association President Mike McGill supports Mr. Pandell, according to www.jeromepandell.com/endorsements ... seems like that makes him a good voice for change.


realist
San Ramon
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm
realist, San Ramon
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I will be voting for Jerome. It is time for a change. As someone who closely follows the dysfunctionality of the school district. I feel that it is time for someone new.


Janet
San Ramon
on Oct 21, 2014 at 6:43 pm
Janet, San Ramon
on Oct 21, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Do you really think he represents change when he is being sponsored by the same teachers' union as are 2 out of the 3 incumbents? Only incumbent Ken Mintz does not owe the union for his position.


Resident
San Ramon
on Oct 22, 2014 at 8:34 am
Resident, San Ramon
on Oct 22, 2014 at 8:34 am

So let me understand Jerome. He has only been to one or two school board meetings. He is NOT a member of any PTA or school site council. He has NO children in or out of school. He has the endorsement of the Teachers Union. He claimed earlier that he was on the Board of Trustees of his law school when in fact he was only on the board of his Alumni Association at the law school (typical lawyer ethics I presume?).

He is definitely NOT the best candidate!!

Ken Mintz, with Dennise and Rachel are far better candidates.


SRVUSD parent
Los Cerros Middle School
on Oct 22, 2014 at 9:10 am
SRVUSD parent, Los Cerros Middle School
on Oct 22, 2014 at 9:10 am

The union is heavily supporting Pandell with its expensive mailers. That alone is a reason NOT to vote for Pandell.

Anyone who has never had children in the school district is not in touch with the current problems, either. That is another reason NOT to vote for Pandell.

Thirdly,----there are amazing number of reasons--- Pandell apparently makes his living by representing businesses that work for the school district (contractors, etc.). That is another BIG RED FLAG against Pandell. Vote for Mintz, not Pandell.


Hope (and change)
San Ramon
on Oct 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm
Hope (and change), San Ramon
on Oct 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Change, for the sake of change, is not always a good thing people.
Haven't we learned anything as a nation in last 6 years?!


LT Resident
San Ramon
on Oct 24, 2014 at 8:33 am
LT Resident, San Ramon
on Oct 24, 2014 at 8:33 am

I believe that Jerome is looking at this position as just a stepping stone to a larger political career. He is being promoted by the Democratic Party and the California Teachers Association (CTA) with little or no qualifications for this position hoping he will get elected and then move up in a few years to State or National office.

He has little on no qualifications for this office beyond graduating from one of the schools in the district.

I'm voting for Ken Mintz, Rachel Hurd and Dennise Jennison - Not Jerome!


Janet
San Ramon
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:41 am
Janet, San Ramon
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

I don't think Ken Mintz is anti- union. So one has to wonder what Mr. Pandell promised the local teachers' union to get their endorsement over Ken Mintz who I believe they endorsed in the past? Perhaps the union can be more transparent about this decision?


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