We asked all five candidates for the Castro Valley Unified School District Board of Directors to answer the same questions in their blog post: What do you view as the biggest challenge (or challenges) facing CVUSD now, and how will you work to address it (them) in the next four years?
I am the mother of a sophomore at Castro Valley High and have been actively involved in Castro Valley schools for over 10 years. I served as PTA President, Vice President, Secretary, and Parliamentarian of the Jensen Ranch Elementary School PTA. I served on the school site councils for both Jensen Ranch and Creekside Middle School, on the Superintendent’s Parent Leadership Group, and on the Superintendent’s Committee regarding overcrowding in the elementary schools in the eastern part of Castro Valley. I have spent countless hours volunteering in the classroom.
From such service, I realize that one of the challenges the school board has is balancing the classroom needs of teachers and the students within its budget restrictions. For example, one year, one of the teachers included printer ink on her wish list. To be honest, I do not know if this was on the list because the cost was more than the school budget would allow or if the teacher asked for ink simply because it could be obtained more quickly if it was requested from parents. I organized parents to purchase the ink cartridges for the teacher so that students would be able to print documents. Another example where I worked to provide supplies for a school was in the teacher workroom. While making copies, I noticed that there were no paper clips or post-it notes. I went to the business Costco and bought boxes of each and left them in the workroom for the staff.
As a Board member, it will not be possible for me to personally buy supplies for every school. However, what I can do is work with other Board members to develop budgets and work within them to provide teachers with the supplies they need to teach and students with the supplies they need to need to learn. I have been on the board of my neighborhood association for the past eight years. One of that board’s responsibilities is to develop and work within its budget so I am used to that process. I have developed the prioritization skills necessary to create a budget.
Castro Valley schools are excellent, and that is in large part due to our dedicated teachers. It is also my priority to work with the Board to ensure we are taking all steps necessary to retain our high quality staff. Years ago I worked as a consultant focusing in human resources, so I am familiar with some of the strategies necessary to retain staff. In addition, the focus of my business degree included classes in personnel management and collective bargaining. I believe these skills will aid me in addressing the personnel issues which the Board has to consider.