ALAMEDA ELECTIONS '12: Board of Education candidate statements

ALAMEDA ELECTIONS '12: Board of Education candidate statements

Michele Ellson

Below are candidate statements for all nine candidates for three open school board seats. Statements from City Council candidates are here, and the ballot statements from Health Care District Board candidates are in the preceding post.

Occupation: Parent, Attorney, Community Volunteer and Children's Advocate, currently serving as Alameda Unified School District Board Member

My education and qualifications are: B.A., U.C. Berkeley (Sociology); J.D., Western State University. Attorney. California School Board Association's Masters in Governance. Co-chair Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families, serving 35+ organizations. Former PTA Council President, overseeing all AUSD PTAs, and Substitute Teacher at virtually every AUSD school. My focus is creating an environment where every child has the opportunity to succeed. This requires smaller classes, rich curriculum, diverse electives, and advanced placement, career-technical, and vocational courses. I support fiscally responsible, joint use recreational facilities: sports fields, pools and parks. I strongly support the education of anti-bullying for all (differently-abled/special needs, ethnicities, gender, LGBTQ, race, religion) to ensure a safe learning environment. Fiscal responsibility is paramount to ensure each dollar is wisely spent benefiting students first. Therefore, I voted against a significant raise for the Superintendent, leasing of new administrative offices, and contracting unneeded consultants. I have the experience to manage during tough economic times and, unlike the other Board members, I support public disclosure of AUSD expenditures. I am a dedicated, compassionate, detail-oriented leader. Together, we can tackle the quality-of-education, equity, and fiscal challenges, while representing diverse interests. I would be honored by your vote.

Occupation: Retired social worker

After nearly 50 years of being active in Alameda PTA and the Children's Defense Fund, I decided to run for Alameda School Board. I have been involved with and watched this district since the 1970s. My daughter taught in Alameda for 20 years. It is disheartening to see the focus change from the needs of children to the wants of adults. I am running because I believe a voice must be raised in support of children. We voted for a parcel tax because we believed that our children and teachers needed us to. I served on the Measure A oversight committee. The board raised the superintendent's salary and refused teachers a raise. The board is moving the district office and has leased a building for a half million dollars annually. There are alternatives, just not as convenient to the adults. We must invest our limited resources in classrooms where they belong. I will work in collaboration with teachers, parents, administrators and other school employees to promote investing in better learning environments and working conditions I will use my voice to refocus our administration on what is truly important - our children and teaching and learning. I ask for your vote.

Occupation: Parent, Businessman

My education and qualifications are: Alameda deserves to be benchmarked against the best Bay Area School Districts - Palo Alto, Cupertino, Piedmont - and that's why I'm running for School Board. My priorities will be focused on 1) quality of education, 2) equity of education for all students across our City, 3) active support for our teachers, 4) District fiscal responsibility, 5) encouragement of parent participation in their child's education. I intend to address the major challenges the District will face over the next four years which include: rebuilding our schools, some close to 100 years old, lowering our operational costs, increasing our revenue and bringing our teachers pay up to the average teachers' pay across Alameda County. I'll help advocate for securing reliable school funding from the State, adoption of Governor Brown's weighted student funding, District readiness for the State's new SMARTER Balanced Assessment Testing Consortium, and children's health and safety. My 30 years of management, sales, and system engineering in the high tech industry, combined with extensive knowledge of State and Local funding, State FPPC compliance, plus my extensive volunteer work in Alameda uniquely qualifies me to help make a difference for Alameda Schools.

Instructor, Ed.D., Alameda Resident

Please vote for me on November 6, 2012. I am excited about students achieving their highest potential in a district where parents, teachers and staff can work collaboratively for this end. My vision for Alameda School District is to improve: a) team building, b) staff development, c) technology awareness and resources, and d) accountability/transparency of administration at all levels. These are the foci of the 21st century in education of our youth in the public school system. I come to you as a nonpartisan leader with the objective to promote pedagogy in our schools which embraces lifelong learning for our future. I will facilitate decisive action for improvements, particularly where needed in these four areas. My knowledge and experience as a Senator on the Academic Senate Committee, as a Program Director in a CA State School, and as a Co-Chair of their Budget Committee has prepared me for this next step, to serve as your school board representative.

Occupation: Parent/Attorney

My education and qualifications are: PhD, Genetics - UC Berkeley; JD - UCLA School of Law

I ask for your vote for AUSD School Board to help keep Alameda schools great. I am an East Bay native, the product of California public schools, and the parent of an AUSD student. My father was an East Bay public school teacher. A quality education for Alameda students depends on attracting and keeping quality teachers. I want the Board's budgetary decisions to reflect this priority. Beyond merely having open meetings, I want to proactively solicit the opinions of parents and teachers in making Board decisions, and to make the Board more responsive to community needs. While future school funding remains uncertain, I will do the utmost to maintain a quality education for all students, high achieving and special needs, alike. While I would endeavor to improve test scores and graduation rates, I do not want enrichment programs to fall by the wayside. I believe the Board's job is to foster an educational environment where students thrive, not merely produce adequate test scores. Please join me in making Alameda schools the best part of Alameda.

Occupation: Businessman
Age: 58

If you are tired of seeing School District administrators getting hefty raises and expensive new facilities for their offices while students and teachers do without basic necessities, then I am your candidate for Alameda Unified School District Board Member. I have been a successful local businessman for over 35 years and know how to get the most out of a tight budget. I also serve on the Alameda Point Restoration Advisory Board and the Alameda Open Government Commission. My two sons attended Alameda schools for their K-12 educations before going on to graduate with degrees from UCLA and San Francisco State. It saddens me to see all the policy changes that have taken place in the school district since they attended. I believe in fair and open negotiations of all school district contracts. There is nothing more important to our society than to prepare our youth for a challenging future with a strong education. As residents of this great city, you have a right to know where your hard earned tax dollars are going. With all the recent reductions in State Funding for schools, our youth need every bang for every buck. To accomplish this, I kindly ask for your support and vote.

Occupation: Parent, Education Advocate, PTA Leader, Businessman, Incumbent

As a parent of two children attending public school in Alameda (elementary and high) and a third in college, I am passionate about public education. Alameda Unified School District must provide the best for our children, support our dedicated teachers and staff and create graduates ready for college or careers. Despite our budget constraints, we must push our schools even more to provide better choices to parents, reach for higher standards, and improve our sites. As President, I worked with my colleagues to create a Master Plan that does just that, and to ensure Measure A and all monies are spent wisely and appropriately. I will continually strive for excellence, ask the tough questions and demand thorough and transparent answers. I have a proven track record and experience supporting education. I earned the National Lifetime Achievement Award during over 12 years with PTAs, and I have worked with non-profits such as AEF. Furthermore, my AUSD and business experience give me a unique perspective on providing leadership, as well as redesigning our schools to be accountable, effective and efficient in the years and decades ahead. For dedicated, passionate and experienced community leadership I ask you to vote for me, Ron Mooney,

Occupation: Incumbent

My education and qualifications are: As an Alameda Unified School District teacher and principal (39 years), parent/grandparent, and current School Board member, I have been deeply involved with educational excellence within AUSD for 43 years. My long-term experience and historical perspective within AUSD provide me with the knowledge, training and commitment necessary to lead our district during this critical period. I bring elementary and middle school administrative and teaching experience to complex decision-making. I will continue to respect, value and encourage the involvement and contribution of Alameda's parents, students and community. Giving back to my community, I was a board member of the Alameda Food Bank, Girls, Inc and Alameda Point Collaborative. I serve on the boards of Alameda Family Services, Alameda Community Fund, and the Alameda Multicultural Center. I am also on the Advisory Board of the Boys and Girls Club, the Commission on Disabilities, and was Co-Chair for the Alameda Youth Collaborative. I received the Alameda Red Cross Award for Community Service and the San Francisco Koshland Civic Unity Award. In my roles of service, I built partnerships with AUSD, the City, businesses and the community. I pledge my continued dedication to you, and ask for your support.

Occupation:Retired Business Manager
Age: 62

My education and qualifications are: I have lived in Alameda for 25 years. Our oldest daughter is a Hornet alum and her sister is a Jet via Nea Charter. I have taken community leadership roles in the recent past including: Civil Service Chairperson; President of the Community of Harbor Bay Isle; Campaign Chair of Measure A; and as the dad of the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state for failing to properly fund public schools. During a 33-year career spanning several local public agencies, my responsibilities included financial and budget administration, executive recruitment, and labor relations. If elected, I will work hard, focus on pro-active change, and exercise leadership to foster consensus between teachers, administrators, parents, students, and the community at large. The Superintendent's contract and rapidly aging neighborhood schools will be significant tasks the new Board will confront. If you believe as I do that a healthy amount of skepticism and proven leadership skills at the community level is needed, please vote for me. Thank you.