Alameda in brief: School board picks 10 finalists for seat

Alameda in brief: School board picks 10 finalists for seat

Michele Ellson

Alameda's school board has selected 10 finalists vying to fill Mayor Trish Spencer's unexpired school board term. Nearly two dozen people applied for the job.

The finalists include a pair of middle school PTA presidents, Jane Grimaldi and Helen "Suzy" Forrester; a former PTA Council president and school board candidate, Tom Lynch; and Blanche Kim, who serves as the Will C. Wood Middle School PTA's parliamentarian. Anne DeBardeleben, the immediate past president of the Alameda Association of Realtors who helped lead efforts to pass a school parcel tax and served on the oversight committee, and Sean Cahill, who led efforts to implement curriculum that is more inclusive of gay youths and parents, were also selected as finalists.

The board also selected Philip Hu, who served on a school board for another California district; Steve Good, who runs a charter school chain started by the San Francisco Sheriff's Department; Sherice Youngblood, who serves on The Academy of Alameda Middle School's governing board; and David Peterson, a property manager who has volunteered in different capacities at Henry Haight Elementary School.

Three of the candidates - Nicole Blake, Diane Gardner Lang, and Jannett Jackson - withdrew their applicants, and a fourth - Mehdi Ravan - didn't attend the school board's meeting Thursday to discuss the candidates and choose finalists. Another nine candidates - including Mike McMahon, who voters recently voted out of office after 12 years - didn't make the cut.

The board is set to pick a winner at 6 p.m. February 3 at Island High School, 500 Pacific Avenue. The board will discuss the format for that meeting at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

"I was impressed by the personal statements and demeanor of each candidate last night," Board President Barbara Kahn was quoted as saying in a district-issued press release. "Choosing the best fit from among the 10 we selected last night won't be easy, but I am confident that we will bring on someone who is committed, experienced, and able to work collaboratively with the rest of us."

More information on the candidates and the selection process is available on the district's website.