This fall marks the first Board of Education election for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District under by-trustee-area voting.
And residents of Area 2 (which includes much of Danville) and Area 3 (primarily the Dougherty Valley in San Ramon) are fortunate to have three eager candidates each from which to choose on their Nov. 3 ballot.
The district is in an important phase as it works to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic -- and its associated impacts on in-person learning and state funding -- all while being under a change of leadership with new Superintendent John Malloy.
Voters should look to capitalize upon this moment of change by electing board members with a range of perspective and a campaign centered around fresh, informed ideas to improve SRVUSD into the future. Those candidates are newcomers Shelley Clark in Area 2 and Scott Roberts in Area 3.
SRVUSD Area 2
Clark, one of two challengers on the ballot, stands out as a dedicated community leader helping support local schools and the district in a variety of volunteer roles, including on the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, Facilities Oversight Committee, PTAs and Booster groups. She has run a spirited campaign tapping into her experience advocating for students, teachers, parents and the taxpayer at-large. Clark's fresh perspective will help reinvigorate a static board during a critical time.
We commend incumbent Greg Marvel for serving SRVUSD for the past 20 years on the board, always focusing his decision-making on what's best for students. But we view Marvel as an integral part of a school board that has become stagnant in recent years. He also failed to separate himself in our candidate forum, and his campaign overall has sorely lacked public engagement. And as we've written elsewhere this fall, we strongly encourage school districts like SRVUSD to consider term limits capping at 12 years to better ensure the turnover of new ideas.
Priscilla Graft, the other challenger, has run an interesting campaign centered tackling the COVID-19 crisis and rethinking district funding allocations while also being the only Area 2 candidate with children currently in the schools. However, while she has good experience at the PTA level, Graft lacks service time district-wide that is imperative for a school board member. We're concerned about her ability to effectively hit the ground running from day one. We urge Graft to consider serving on a district committee to gain that vital experience.
Vote for Shelley Clark for SRVUSD Board of Education Area 2.
SRVUSD Area 3
In a deep field of three newcomers competing for the seat occupied by outgoing Board Member Mark Jewett, who opted not to seek re-election this year, San Ramon resident Roberts stands above the others.
A San Ramon Valley native and first generation Asian-American, Roberts has an impressive record of public service that includes the city of San Ramon's Parks and Community Services Commission, SRVUSD's Parcel Tax Oversight Committee and the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation Board of Directors. He has the background and the skills to accomplish the comprehensive campaign platform he touts -- top priorities such as education during the pandemic, student wellness, pooling community resources, diversity and inclusion, teacher retention and fiscal sustainability.
District parent Laura Bratt is another strong candidate, campaigning with priorities of transparency, equity and compassion while offering a background that includes the district's LCAP Stakeholder Committee, site council and the local PFLAG chapter. But in a highly competitive election, we give the edge to Roberts based on his depth of public service experience, more developed platform and standout performance at our candidate forum.
Dougherty Valley parent Kumar Nallusamy is also running a passionate campaign focused on supporting students and teachers, promoting transparency and pushing for creative budgeting. His experience includes serving as an alternate on the San Ramon Library Advisory Committee and volunteering in local schools, but it lacks the type of district-level service that we like to see. We had also hoped to hear more detail about how he'd achieve his campaign priorities on the board.
Vote for Scott Roberts for SRVUSD Board of Education Area 3.