Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 21, 2015


Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Tonight is yet another City Council meeting, I have not watched yesterday’s City Council meeting so look for those reflections in a few days from now because these next two days will be dedicated to the appointment of the School Board member to fill Trish Spencer’s vacated school board seat.   Tonight’s City Council meeting will be about how to run meetings moving forward or something like that.  And Trish Spencer wanting to plan a weekend meeting or something.   Because people get so excited about meetings in general, they want to go to weekend meetings for City stuff.

Last week the School District released a list of 23 candidates, which then was reduced to 21 after two applicants removed their applications from consideration: Nicole Blake and Jannett Jackson.  The applications were all dumped into two big PDF files, so for ease of viewing I have cropped them down and linked them to the individual names.

Tomorrow I’ll try to do a more in depth assessment of some of the more interesting candidates.

The candidates:

  1. Sean Cahill
  2. Jeff Cambra
  3. Anne DeBardeleben
  4. Helen (Suzy) Forrester
  5. Diane Gardner Lang
  6. Jane Garrison Grimaldi
  7. Steve Good
  8. Philip Hu
  9. Jannett Jackson (withdrawn)
  10. Blanche Kim
  11. Tom Lynch
  12. Gina Mariani
  13. Ron Matthews
  14. Mike McMahon
  15. Patricia H. Petersen
  16. David Peterson
  17. Barbara Rasmussen
  18. Mehdi Ravan
  19. Marie Roberts De La Parra
  20. Stephen Slauson
  21. Michael John Torrey
  22. Sherice Youngblood


  1. Crazy list…but I think only De La Parra mentions what the District needs are great teachers…and many mention “infrastructure” – the great deferred issue by the last Board and Superintendent, and plenty of language about addressing discord, the other legacy of the previous administration. Lots of PTSA volunteers, as you would expect.

    Don’t candidates realize that spelling, handwriting and grammar are scrutinized in their applications? Several struggle in that regard. And how does the Board go about “interviewing” so many candidates in public?

    I tend to believe a few already have the inside track. What is the Board looking for- a volunteer, a technocrat, another attorney, an experienced educator, a former school board member? Tell me you didn’t consider running Lauren…

    Comment by Breathless — January 21, 2015 @ 7:00 am

  2. Tell me you didn’t consider running Lauren…

    Never even crossed my mind.

    Don’t candidates realize that spelling, handwriting and grammar are scrutinized in their applications?

    I’ll be honest, while I wasn’t being so nitpicky about those things, I had a REALLY hard time taking the handwritten applications seriously. Adobe Acrobat is your friend. I did enjoy the one application where the candidate had clearly dragged out an honest to goodness typewriter to fill out the application.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 21, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  3. Adam:

    It’s best to make sure one’s own grammar, spelling, & diction are in order before exhorting others to improve theirs.

    Comment by Guillotine — January 21, 2015 @ 7:32 am

  4. Adobe may be your friend, but is not mine. I dare say not very many with simple tech and built-in software can/know how to load a pre-printed form, fill it out and print it. More importantly, being able to afford the tech stuff isn’t a requirement for serving on the board. Personally, I give the typewriter high marks. It’s the most efficient for unique forms. Otherwise, the sample I took showed they were clean and presentable. If, as said, some had glaring grammar errors, that would bring their grade down for me too.

    Comment by Li_ — January 21, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  5. #1 “And how does the Board go about “interviewing” so many candidates in public?”

    There will be two special Board of Education meetings devoted to selecting and appointing the new boardmember. At the first meeting (Jan 22, 6:00 pm, Island High, 500 Pacific Ave), candidates will give their statements and community members can give public comment. Then the boardmembers will choose their top picks for the position. At the second meeting (Feb 3, 6 pm, location TBD), boardmembers will interview that smaller group of candidates (and community members can again give public comment).

    Comment by Susan Davis (Sr. Manager, Community Affairs, AUSD) — January 21, 2015 @ 8:36 am

  6. To me, Question II d)’s answer is the only question/answer that really means anything.

    1 Sean Cahill) bargaining unit contract renewals
    2 Jeff Cambra) quickly secure a permanent superintendent
    3 Anne DeBardeleben) funding
    4 Helen (Suzy) Forrester) historic AHS
    5 Diane Gardner Lang) community of support common core implementation
    6 Jane Garrison Grimaldi) spending and measure I bond money
    7 Steve Good) labor negotiations
    8 Philip Hu) rebuilding trust and restoring goodwill
    10 Blanche Kim) how bond measure I will be utilized to implement the FMC
    11 Tom Lynch) ?
    12 Gina Mariani) fiscal responsibility, transparency and children first and formost
    13 Ron Matthews) upgrading and rebuilding infrastructure and facilities
    14 Mike McMahon) funding
    15 Patricia H. Petersen) securing and managing funding
    16 David Peterson) finding future superintendent
    17 Barbara Rasmussen) upgrading physical facilities
    18 Mehdi Ravan) allocation of the 180 million bond measure
    19 Marie Roberts De La Parra) innovation for academia competitiveness at a global level
    20 Stephen Slauson) securing capital funds
    21 Michael John Torrey) cutbacks on full-time & hourly Instructors, classroom size
    23 Sherice Youngblood) selection of a qualified leader

    Comment by jack — January 21, 2015 @ 10:43 am

  7. Jack, I don’t disagree with your emphasis, but your condensation ( condescension) doesn’t wash.

    After three hour meeting and low blood sugar I thought I would take a peek, but didn’t expect to scroll the entire list. I became fascinated by the general qualifications of applicants and kept scrolling, all the way to the end. I’m now very curious to see and hear these folks. First impressions from applications may change 180 degrees, but that is what is so fascinating. I get our obsession with democratic process and community in put, but also think of public comment as potentially cringe worthy. More so than usual. The board will decide and I doubt lobbying by the public will influence them (very much). If it were Mike McMahon and two other applicants that might be a different story.

    Thanks a lot Lauren for doing the work to post these links. You saved a lot of us a lot of time.

    Comment by MI — January 21, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

  8. for me this link is apropos of Trish Herrera-Spencer and A.C.T. more than the list of applicants to replace her, but it struck a chord.

    Comment by MI — January 21, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

  9. I certainly was not being condescending. I copied verbatim (slightly edited for clarity) what each applicant wrote as their first choice as most critical issue facing the district.

    Comment by jack — January 21, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

  10. 8
    Either one of them could probably castrate a pig before you could strike a cord.

    Comment by jack — January 21, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

  11. 10. And why is being able to castrate a pig an essential skill for a school board member, Jack? I see no practical use for that skill in most deliberations over serious issues–on a school board or in the US Senate. Those jobs require critical thinking, not quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 22, 2015 @ 8:16 am

  12. 10. And the phrase is “strike a chord,’ Jack–as in music. Cotton fabric and firewood come in cords…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 22, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  13. Thanks, Jon for pointing out why I should be volunteering for School Board duty.

    Comment by jack — January 22, 2015 @ 10:13 am

  14. Since you’ve probably never struck a pig cord, Jon….Pull out the testicle toward the tail at a right angle to the length of the body and cut the cord close to the incision. Do not pull straight up on the testicle.

    Comment by jack — January 22, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

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