MVWSD November 2018 School Board Candidates:

  1. Tamara Patterson                                                           https://tamarapatterson.org
  2. Devon Conley                                                                     www.devonconley.com
  3. Ellen Wheeler                                                                www.ellenforschoolboard.com
  4. Greg Coladonato                                                    https://www.linkedin.com/in/gcoladon                                                

 

Link to view (aired on KMVT15 Community Media, available on YouTube):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfQqMMcV-tE

Candidates have 1 minute to answer questions.  See YouTube Timestamp in parentheses after each question to view the candidates’ specific answers  (see below)

Opening statements: (0.00)

Tamara Patterson

Devon Conley

Ellen Wheeler

Greg Coladonato

Question 1 (14:15)

How can the board and and the city council work together to plan for future growth in MV?

Devon: My city planning degree was focused on how city planning and school policy work together.  Increase affordable housing for teachers, fireman, police etc.  when new development happens, resources set aside for school facilities.  

Greg: this is an area the school board is doing better the last 4 years than before. I asked the super if we could have more meetings with the city.  Current super is at alot of city meetings. We have been pushing hard for in lieu fees and school set asides.  It is working well and would like to see it continue.

Ellen: almost all of our board members have attended every city council meeting in last couple of years that had to do with housing in N Bayshore to understand impact on schools in MV. have had conversations with council members and city manager.  In addition, we are very near to having a study session re: teacher housing between city of MV and MVWSD and it is not in Cooper Park.

Tamara: the role of the board is to ensure growth is an opportunity not a burden.  Don’t want to risk execution. Stay disciplined to execute effectively.  

Question 2 (18:25):

What do you think the role of oversight involves?

Devon: my classroom experience taught me how hard it is to teach working with individual children, not cells on an excel spreadsheet. Oversight means holding the district accountable for children, not just data. For how we are supporting families, everyday. Connecting families to resources outside the school. Oversight means accountable to everyone in our district, because if not we are failing people, not just data.

Tamara: Super and school teams need to be accountable for how.  Needs be a separation between steering and focus on policy and direction and ensuring delivery. Schools free from bureaucratic tape ensuring kids getting excellent education. Make sure we are doing that at the larger levels so at the lower levels we can all achieve what we want.

Greg: the way you operate on school board different than how you may operate in other parts of your life.  School board has 1 person reporting to it.  School board sets policy, sets direction to super, hold people accountable, set goals. Started strategic plan process when Dr. rudolph arrived.  Can’t get into details of specific teachers or students.  Oversight requires self discipline to do as much as you can through policy and leave the execution up to the team.

Ellen: Graduate of Santa Clara University school of law.  Worked in family law, where goal is best interest of the child. I bring that viewpoint as a board member.  I talked to board members and super about it.  Every child in our school district.  Mr Coladonato did a good job reciting the master in govn board member responsibilities, not going to continue with that.  

Question 3 (23:11):

Do you believe the new school boundaries increase the economic disparities between schools in the district? How will these changes affect district-wide quality of education?

Devon:  I value neighborhood schools. Research shows neighborhoods are also segregated by class and often by race. By income.  We have new boundaries now, so moving forward we need to be focused that every school regardless of whether you live in an apartment or single family home, or don’t have a home, that you are getting a world class education.  Board should look across all schools and ensure no one is left behind.

Greg: lives in Slater neighborhood.3 different school boundaries: Landels, Huff, Theurokoff. Didn’t help anyone’s kids.  Misguided policy. When Vargas opens next year, all kids in his neighborhood will go to school together. District needs to make sure every kid at every school can succeed to best of their abilities.  Not play games and move kids around. Have communities work together to make their school better.

Tamara: if every school was achieving high test scores, would we be talking about boundaries? Excellence for every school, every student. Top priority. In high school got a 92 on chemistry exam, her parents said ‘that’s great,why didn’t you get 100?’ went to teacher, and teacher said ‘you know Tamara, not everyone is a 100 percenter’. That lit a fire for me, there was a system that supported a strong education for all students.

Ellen: we’ve been working over past 3 years to create new school boundaries because board voted to open new school (Vargas). When Vargas opens next year, all the schools will have their new boundaries, and the hope is kids can walk and bike to school with neighborhood kids, and excellent teachers at every school, excellent board and super, will have great results.

Question 4: (28:17)

MVWSD has one of the largest achievement gaps in the state. What is the most important thing you would do first to try to close this gap?

Tamara: First, need to be honest about where achievement gap is. Survey from last year of teachers, students, parents asked how strongly do you feel your student will be successful in high school. 89% of students, 59% of teachers agreed. There is a disconnect. Need to make this a key focus

Devon: first, I would look at what is happening inside classrooms. State data is a starting point. Schools use a school site plan for the year. Plan details now in each classroom the school will support children whatever their needs are. I think the focus on classroom and student differentiating is the way we close the achievement gap. I’ve taught in school that are predominantly low income students and English learners. I’ve seen students have 1.5 years of growth in 1 year. Instruction is key, supporting teachers is the way to do it.

Ellen:  there’s an achievement gap on the 1st day of kinder. Need to have high quality preschool and early childhood education for 4 years minimum, ideally younger. If we have high quality preschool, achievement gap is abated. If we continue to have high quality teacher, we will have excellent education.

Greg: English Language Proficiency is the best tool we have to help students on the other side of the achievement gap. Wants to accelerate the rate we teach English to our students. Federal guideline says it takes 6 years to teach English. We are in Silicon Valley, we can aim for a much higher goal than that. Has been pushing for as much English education for kinders as possible. Goal is convert all of them to ‘English learned’ status by end of 1st grade.

Question 5: (32:36)

The middle schools have recently adjusted their schedules to allow most students to take 2 electives.  How do you intend to evaluate and support this new schedule, and how do you intend to support students continuing to be able to take 2 electives?

Greg: My 6th grader likes having 2 electives. We did it to address a problem.  If we think of a better way to address the problem, I’d consider changing to that. Seems to be working alright so far.

Devon: I hear about this alot from my former MV kinder students who are now middle schoolers. Been going to PTA meetings and talking to parents.  There are some kinks to work out. Kids having trouble getting in to electives that will be the most supportive for them.  I’ve heard issues around the math courses and how students are being assigned to the math courses.  Once assigned to a math track, it determines what electives you can get as well. Might need to make adjustments mid year or for following year.

Ellen: we had a committee that examined how to do electives, initial rationale was ELL’s never got an elective. Now, everyone gets 2 electives.  Some people get more time on math.  Some people get less time on math because they need less time.  A lot of the kids love it because it makes them want to come to school.

Tamara:  Good that we changed things.  Our children have an amazing capacity to grow.  We need to stay on top of it as a board.  You can see, not just with further along data, how are people getting along, does it really feel like parents are supporting this.  So we understand where we are and adjust as needed.

Question 6: (36:53)

In light of the discussion about the new schedules, do you support moving the middle school start time to be after 8:30 as has been recommended by pediatricians?

Ellen: (laughs) The CA school board assoc opposed this because opposed to one size fits all, not opposed to later start times.  School board is examining this issue, complicated because late start for middle school impacts elementary schools. I.e. some middle school kids are taking care of their younger siblings.  I’m glad we have some time to examine this issue and see how it’s going to work.

Tamara: bill on this recently vetoed by Governor.  There’s good science behind middle schoolers starting later, but it doesn’t make sense to have one size fit all. And understanding ourselves...how can we benefit our community and result in higher achievement for our students.

Greg: my 6th grader has a hard time waking up for 8:05 school start.  If he bikes he leaves at 7:20, which is too early.  I’d support 8:30am start.  Also would support it for high school. And marching band after school instead of 7a.m. and I support the lights as well.  Seeing how hard it is to get my own children to sleep, I think it would be a good idea to do 8:30 start.

Devon: I believe in science.  Using facts to inform policy is a good thing.  Teenagers have a different circadian rhythm and they are not getting the sleep they need to be successful. Had a brief stint teaching 8th grade chemistry, huge difference for kids later in the day or free period in the morning.  Opportunity to look at creative solutions, i know this has large impact on families, but it’s about the wellbeing of our kids. If they are sleep deprived, they will have difficulty learning and social emotional dev will suffer.

Question 7: (40:24)

We always hear our students are not ready for high school.  What are your plans to ensure each student is ready for high school?

Devon: State level data indicates our students are struggling in math as they are going into middle school. 4th and 5th graders are struggling.  If you are behind in middle school, how are you going to be prepared for high school? Drill down and focus on what is happening in classrooms. Give them fundamental skills in middle school.

Greg: MVWSD, LASD, and MVLA school district superintendents have been meeting on this topic. They are working on ways to harmonize the curriculum we use with the HS curriculum and smooth the transition. Some of the students that have had the hardest time making the transition to high school, are students MVWSD has had since Kinder and now they are in 8th grade still learning English. When they get to high school it doesn’t go well.  Our main new initiative, in addition to science curriculum, should be a much accelerated English training program.  Should also consider combining our 3 districts into 1, similar to Palo Alto.

Tamara: Want to reiterate that the school board’s role is to set the vision and the direction, and focus on the ‘what’, and allowing and supporting the school staff and superintendent the ‘how’  How to solve this challenging problem. In my decade and a half career, I’ve tackled realling challenging problems with 4 aspects: 1. a team, 2. prioritizing 3-5 priorities, 3. asking good questions, 4. Learning from them.

Ellen: The question is one of those statements that is an old fashioned idea. My own experience with my child that went from Bubb to Graham to MVHS to UC Berkeley and then to a job, is that most of the children at Graham were well prepared for MVHS and most of the children at Crittenden are well prepared for LAHS. We want to continue to have all 3 school districts work together, but things are not as bad as you may be thinking.  A lot of our kids are doing really well.

Question 8: (44:34)

The Mountain View Community has become both ethnically and economically diverse.  The needs of Spanish speaking families, which you have been alluding to, are difficult.  How can we be inclusive and welcome them?

Tamara: Our system needs to not fail our children.  We need to value all parents and all families.  We need to be honest with them and see where everyone is.  There is a similarity with Congress.  If you ask someone ‘Is your Congressman doing well?’ they say ‘yes, and then you ask ‘Is Congress doing well?’...uhh.  We need to start by being honest with where kids are and provide resources.  Bring them into the conversation.  Have them be a partner in their child’s education.

Devon: When I first started teaching, one of my students had come here from Guatemala.  He was quiet and shy in the classroom because he was learning English.  I visited his home where his mother, father, baby brother, and 3 other families lived in a 2 bedroom apartment.  They were so relieved to be in a safe place and a place where they felt there was opportunity for their children, and so hopeful about school.  Everyday the boy came to my classroom, filled with hope for his family. That is why I have stayed in education.  All the children in our community deserve a high quality education and they are the hopes and dreams of their families.  We need to make sure families aren’t afraid,

Ellen: One of the joys of being a School board member is being able to go to all of our schools and see how the kids are doing, what the teachers are doing, what the principals are doing.  We have a principal in this room right now, we’ve got some teachers and former teachers in the room right now.  One of the things that is great about Mountain View is we love the diversity of living here.  Our children in the diverse schools are doing better and better every year. We’ve made almost 10 points improvement in test scores among low income and Spanish-speaking students.  I see the efforts and work our staff is doing to make those scores improve.  So I think good things are happening.

Greg: Some of the things the school board has been doing in this direction, which I am totally supportive of: Hired school engagement coordinators at all of the schools. Their full time job is to do what the question addressed: how can we connect with these families.  I think that has helped.  Also we have passed a number of resolutions relating to how school is supposed to be a safe place for students.  We have tried to send a message that school should be safe.  Another joy of being on the school board is getting invited to the pre-K graduation.  This is a Spanish-speaking parent education program that happens every year that I attend.

Question 9: (49:01)

What are your out of the box ideas for teacher retention that do not include housing?

Greg:  I am proud to admit one out of the box solution of mine for this problem was adopted last year.  The school board and the union negotiate over what % increase every teacher is going to get over last year’s salary.  That year, I proposed can we get the number we would give to everybody, and give a high % increase to teachers at the start of their career, and balance that out with a slightly lower % increase to teachers in highest paid bracket.  The effect was to add a couple thousand dollars to starting teacher salaries, I thought it might not go over well with the union, but it was approved.  I’d like to see it done again. We didn’t do it this last year, but I’d like to see it done next year so we can catch up starting teachers somewhat so they can live here.

Ellen: (laughs) I was laughing because we hear everywhere housing and transportation is a huge issue.  It’s hard for me to think about ways to retain teachers that don’t involve housing and transportation.  We have teachers who commute 2 hours a day to get to our schools and cannot find an affordable place to live in our school district.  Our soon to be unveiled plan of large teacher housing unit for low to moderate priced units for teacher and support staff is a huge deal. When people learn about it, all over the state they are going to be envious of us.

Devon: Something that is really difficult about teaching is there is not a lot of flexibility. Example, when I was pregnant in my 3rd trimester, I was teaching every day, and I needed to go to the bathroom.  But I could not leave my classroom, so I had a urinary tract infection for 3 months while I was pregnant, and I had to take antibiotics, which can lead to preterm delivery.  There are not many jobs where that happens.  I think there are opportunities to improve the working conditions of teachers that make it more sustainable job.  We lose 1 in 3 teachers by their 7th year of teaching.  Housing, salaries, transportation play into that, but it’s also incredibly difficult and a very rigid structure.

Tamara: We need to honor our teachers as a community.  I hope that’s not too out of the box.  Research and my experience shows that the greatest pull to keep a good employee is culture.  Do we respect their expertise?  Are we giving them room to grow?  I know a 3rd grade teacher that was crowdsourcing to fund school supplies this year.  Where is that in the job description?  We need to be able to support and honor our teachers as a community.

Question 10: (53:10)

What is your view of the role of the board and how would you work to improve the effectiveness of the board?

Ellen: important for the board to work as a team.  There’s a term we use called ‘leadership team’.  That’s the 5 members of the school board and the superintendent. We can get alot done when we work together.  Professional development for school board members exists, we take that training, learn not to invent things from scratch.

Tamara: I’ve mentioned before I view the role of the board as setting the strategic vision and the what.  Allowing the superintendent and the staff to figure out how.  They are the experts.  I don’t have a lot of the answers to how something should be done, I don’t know that anyone does.  It’s the educators that know how to solve challenges in their classroom.  The board helps get other things out of the way.  Think about risks and plan B, C, and D to make sure we are all successful.

Greg: There is a masters in governance for board members, 5 course series.  Learn about being a public official. Encourage existing and new board members to do it. Skill building in basic parts: negotiation, hiring, etc.  Another thing the board can do is rotating through different roles: clerk, vice president, president. Give board members a chance to try different roles gives them a broader, multifaceted understanding of what it means to be on the board.

Devon: The role of the board is to be the voice of constituents and voice of families.  Accountable to families and children.  Role is hold board accountable. We are accountable to parents and children and voters.  Our job is to hold the district accountable.  That is why we are in those seats.  I have the expertise to ask the right questions and to really push on how are setting policies that support all our students.

Question 11: (57:17)

How will you improve trust between the board and the community? How can the board improve transparency?

Devon: Something that is really important in board meetings, the public venue where the public can see the decision making, is that we are clear and honest about what our goals are for programs, whether or not we have met those goals, how much we have met or failed them by, and what are next steps will be.  It’s tempting to say ‘everything’s o.k., we are doing really well overall’.  I do think there have been some positive changes in the last few years, esp at the board level, but if we are not being open about our challenges, and how we are meeting or failing to solve those problems, we will not be successful for all of our children

Greg: Trust would be best built if there were more opportunities for board members to interact with teachers, parents, community members outside the stodgy board meetings. Before I was elected, I would go up to the podium, it was scary, not that welcoming, and I applaud every member of the community that comes up to say something. Our superintendent has ‘cafecitos’, we bring a Spanish translator, he has other times he meets with parents, our supervisor sends things in the mail. You can go talk to Joe Simitian at the Farmer’s Market.  I think if the board had a program where the board was available in an informal setting to share ideas it would build trust.  I’d like to do that.

Tamara:  You build trust everyday by everyday actions.  I spoke to a mom who received an email about vaccinations, it was bold and red and said you need to do it by this date.  What if we went one step further and said ‘here’s a clinic, here’s some hours, here’s a number you can use to help solve this challenge that you have.  That’s partnering together and being proactive. It’s an everyday kind of thing that you will build that trust with the community.

Ellen: I meet with every community member, every parent, teacher, staff member who asks me.  I’ve met with 100’s with people over the last couple of years.  Every school board member is willing to do that. The way you reach us is trustees@mvwsd.org.  I know that we are all happy to hear from people.  Also we started videoing our meetings a couple a years ago.  People can watch our meetings at home with popcorn.  In addition, we publish all our information, and in Spanish.

Question 12: (1:01:30)

What is your position on charter schools?  What is your view of Bullis Charter School coming in to this school district?

Tamara: I’m interested in any model that closes the achievement gap.  If charters are able to close the gap, that would be a big improvement for our community.  I commit to being open-minded, transparent, and fiscally responsible with our public dollars. If Bullis comes to MV, I’d hold their feet to the fire about serving our low income and English Language learning community.  Exactly how are they going to attract and retain those families?

Devon: I tend to get wonky on questions like this; I like policy.  Bullis is going to come to the district to get their charter approved.  If the district says No, they will go to the county, and they will probably be successful at the county level because they have been successful there before, and there are alot of people in Mountain View who have signed the petition to have that happen.  The question is not ‘Will Bullis have a school in Mountain View or not?’ the question is ‘What is the district’s role going to be when there is a charter school in Mountain View?’  If we take it on, we will be the ones Bullis is responsible to.  If they go to the county level, we have no say over what happens.

Ellen: At our last school board meeting, we had a 90 min agenda item where we had an attorney who is an expert on charter school law, give a tutorial to school board members about charter school law and our options. I recommend if you are interested in this issue, go to mvwsd.org, go to school board members, and find that board meeting, it starts around 7:30 or so, and you’ll learn a lot.  One of them is charter schools are legal and the best thing we can do is find out how we can interact with them.

Greg: I care about results.  If a school gets results, I don’t care what kind of program it runs, I want the students to be succeeding.  If a different program is what’s required to have those students succeeding, then I want to have that program.  The way the board meeting presentation went is that the school is going to be opening August 2019 in the district, and if we’d like to have any influence over it, we would have to be the approver of the charter, not the rejector.  I hope it goes well, since it doesn’t look like we have much choice over whether it will be here or not.

Question 13: (1:05:35)

Tell us about the process you use to research issues facing the board.  Include something you learned while studying an issue that affected your thinking.

Ellen: I read about education every day.  I have past experience as a teacher.  I read the background materials we receive on issues that come before us and I have a lot of background knowledge on the issues.  I own up to my wonkiness.  I study hard.  I have an open mind on everything, including agenda items.

Tamara: I bring a fresh perspective.  Allows me to think openly about what policies are at hand.  I start with what basics do I know, what laws are there, and who is affected.  The process involves not just understanding the foundation but also questioning it at the same time.

Greg: This calls for a ‘for instance’.  One that comes to mind is for many years the super and board did not believe a school should be opened in NE MV.  Demographers would come to board meetings and show how many students generated from each development built.  There was a 59 townhome unit that was computed to generate 4 students.  After work, I went to the development and knocked on doors, introduced myself as a board member, and asked if they had any students.  By the time I got to the 7th house, I found 7 kids.  Sometimes info is gathered by a spreadsheet or internet search somewhere, it’s helpful to get ground level information sometimes.

Devon: my background as an educator and education policy researcher is helpful. I’ve served as the school board observer for the League of Women Voters for the last year.  I’ve attended or streamed every single meeting, and I’ve written bi-monthly reports.  So I’ve been doing this.  I’ve been looking for research sources online, data at the state level how is that affecting board policies.  I love to pair high-level data analysis with research and my experience working directly with children and families.  I’m the Vice President of our neighborhood association.  I’m on the Executive Board at our PTA.  I think these dual aspects make me very good at analyzing board decisions.

Question 14: (1:10:13)

What is your main goal to improve the district?

Greg: When someone looks up our schools on greatschools.org, and some of them are red or yellow, the reason that is the case, is there are a lot of students in those schools that don’t speak English very well, and as a result don’t do well in school.  When I proposed is there anything more we can do with English Language education, I heard ‘well the contract doesn’t allow any teacher after school hours, it’s limited to 181 days, we can’t do Saturday.  There’s so many ‘no’s’  The big goal is to find out how we can get ‘yes’s’ that we could do, that we aren’t doing, that other school districts in California have figured out how to do.  I’d like to see much more ambitious English education done in our district.

Ellen: The first time I ran for school board, I said I was interested in academic excellence for every child in the district. I’ve looked at my materials every time I’ve run, and that is my #1 goal.  You can look at it on my flyer.  That means hiring the best teachers we can, paying the best salaries that we can, having lots of support staff.  The schooling community engagement facilitators make a big difference. We have intervention specialists, mental health counselors, CHAC, Project Cornerstone at our schools. We have MVEF providing enriching activities outside the academic day.  Educate for the whole child, but academic excellence.

Devon: Focus on research and teaching. We have Stagnant test results for English language learners for the last couple of years. We made some good improvements about 4 years ago, but that coincided with a change in our population where we had fewer English learners. I want to focus on paying attention to all our students, and English language learners in particular in the classroom.  Supporting teachers so they can differentiate so each individual child is getting what they need.  So it’s not just reading from a scripted curriculum

Tamara: My main goal is to have our kids love learning and learn to work hard.  Specifically, it is K-3 reading.  This is where our supplemental dollars and focus should be because it enables so much more.  Identify and support successful programs in our district.  There was a very successful summer program this year that looked at an integrated approach to science.  The kids were wearing lab coats and working on science projects, but also their writing and reading.  Make it interesting for our kids to be excited at school.

Question 15: (1:14:40)

Last question before closing statement.  This is your chance to brag. What makes you a great candidate for the Mountain View Whisman School District board?

Ellen: When I first ran for the board, I said as a retired teacher, mediator, attorney, active volunteer, and mom, I believe I’m uniquely qualified to serve.  All of those qualifications are still true today, and now I have 16 years of experience.  I’m someone who believes deeply in good experience working with people who are succeeding as employees in our school district, so I think I’m the most qualified candidate up here.  I hope I have your vote.

Tamara: I bring a fresh perspective that will accept nothing less than academic excellence for all.  As a parent with 3 young kids, our family will be directly involved in public schools for the next 18 years.  As the ‘brown’ kid in almost all of my elementary, middle, and high school classes, and a female in the sciences, I bring an awareness and a perspective of being a minority, and a woman, and having to speak up.  Professionally, I’m responsible for listening and understanding the needs of my community, and delivering results that solve their true needs. I’m not an education expert, but I’m looking at these hard problems from the lens of someone who stays focused on priorities, and makes decisions based on where I see results. A fresh voice is a good thing.  The best outcomes come from a diverse team.

Greg: I think being a current parent brings something to the table.  When I ran for the board, there were no board members who had students in the district, that’s not the case anymore, but I think it’s a good thing that I have students in the district.  The first few years on the board, you are trying to influence the superintendent, influence policy, the union contract, other things, and you find out that it’s not very easy to be 1 person who has to persuade 2 others to act within these meetings that happen every 2 weeks.  There’s something to getting good at this job, and I think I’ve gotten better at it over the last 4 years.  I hope that other answers show that I not only think of things that are outside the box, but have the ability over the years to get some of them implemented.

Devon: I have dedicated my career to strengthen our schools and community.  I am vice chair of the MV Parks and Rec committee, vice president of our neighborhood association, I have experience teaching full time in the classroom, I have experience in education policy research, but I also still teach in the classroom.  I taught science yesterday in the Ravenswood school district, and all day today in Redwood City, so I know what it is like on the ground, and I have a kinder in MVWSD.  We will be in the district for 9 more years, so I have skin in the game. I don’t care just about my child, I care about all the children in our community, and I want to take this opportunity to better support them.

Closing Statements (2 minutes each): (1:19:14)

Greg: Thankful to League of Women Voters.  I always enjoy their events, regardless which side of the table I’m on. I’m glad so many people are in the audience, and care.  I’m glad so many candidates are in this election.  For 2006, 2008, 2010, MV had uncontested elections, where if you wanted to be on the board, you put your name in and you got to be on the board.  A district where people care about their schools alot will have contested elections and I’m glad we have one here.  I’m glad the candidates are such high quality.  The candidates are impressive, they are well educated and well qualified, so I’m glad whichever 2 of the 4 of us get elected, you are going to have 2 great board members.  Speaking on my own behalf, I got to communicate some of the things I’m interested in: students, staff, and schools. Students: improve our English language education, improving our STEM programs to be as good as Los Altos programs.  I’d like to be on the board that pushes that through and has high expectations for staff to follow through.  Staff: Would like to do what we can to have our starting teachers be the best paid in the county.  The most important thing we can do for our students is to have the best possible teacher in front of them. we can hire the best possible teachers when there is an opening, and if we can open up a school in the NE part of town in August.

Ellen:  Thanks to League of Women Voters, MV Public Library, and AAUW for putting on this forum.  I’d like to thank all of us for participating in it, and I’d like to thank all of you for coming out tonight.  Since I’ve been given a few more minutes, I’d like to publicly thank my endorsers, who have put their names out in public to recommend me.  I’ll list some of them now: Juan Aronda, Lynn Alvarado, Bruce Barsi, Laura Cassis, Pearl Chang, Jim Cochran, MaryLou Delgado, Kirin Gonzalves, Gay Krauss, Grace Ma, John McAllister, Olga Mello, Joe Mitchner, Lucas Ramirez, Nan Recker, Mark Rousson, Fiona Walter, and Eleanor Yich.  To see a more complete list, go to my webpage ellenforschoolboard.com.  I’ll close by saying this: I’ve described the progress of our school district while I’ve been on the board.  Of course, we still have more work to do.  With my experience, skills, and passion, I believe I’m the one you want for this job, and I ask you for your vote.

Devon: I also want to thank the community orgs that have put together this event.  It matters that we are put to the test and have to respond to questions from the community.  It’s a tiny little window into what the rest of the job is going to be like on the board.  It starts now.  We are accountable, we are the voices of the families and constituents of our district and community.  I have dedicated my career to this work.  I believe I will bring added depth to our school board.  It’s great to have a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives.  I think someone who is currently teaching, has taught, has researched, and has experience will only benefit our team as a whole.  I will fight for every child in our district.  I don’t see children as data points. I see children as these small, willful, joyful, stubborn, silly, exasperating,and magical creatures, who walk into a classroom every day and spend 8 hours or more with 1 individual teacher who has a huge impact on their lives.  Thank you for coming out tonight, and please please vote on November 6 regardless of who you vote for.  

Tamara:  I also want to thank everyone for coming and your civic engagement.  I commit to being a fresh voice for our community and will accept nothing less than academic excellence.  Speaking up is what I do day in and day out as a product manager and customer advocate.  I differentiate because I’m a fresh voice in education.  I have over a decade and a half experience in delivering value, measuring results, and iterating to keep improving. I think people are people, and I think that these skills transfer well.  I understand sometimes things can be slow, but my experience in healthcare and utilities, means we can still get things done.  As a board member we do need to steer and not row, and empower professional educators to do the hard work they are doing.  I believe in diversity, excellence, and community, and I want our children to love learning. And learn to work hard.  I would be honored for your vote.

For your specific county/city ballot information, go to www.votersedge.org

Please vote nov 6 or before if voting by mail.  Please help make our democracy work!