Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 8, 2021

Pick your fighter

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

On Wednesday evening the list went up on the School District’s website of who will be vying for the Mia Bonta’s vacated School Board seat. The names:

1.     Stephanie Chenard

2.     Ardella Dailey

3.     Katie de Vries

4.     Marisa Johnson

5.     Ryan LaLonde

6.     Diane Lang

7.     Jen Nguyen

As a reminder, the selected individual will need to run for election in 2022 as they will be serving out the remainder of Mia Bonta’s term.

Unlike in past appointments there will be no pick three to move on or even any sort of ranked choice voting it will rely on someone on the Board to make a motion, secure a second and a straight yes or no vote. From the staff report:

  • Candidates will give a three-minute opening statement (names will be drawn randomly to determine the order).
  • Each of the four seated Board of Education members and three student Board Members will have an opportunity to interview each candidate for three minutes.
  • At the close of the final round of questions, the Board President will entertain motions from the Board to appoint a candidate.
  • Once that motion is seconded, the Board will discuss and then vote on the candidate.
  • If there is no second, that candidate will not be considered.
  • In the event that a majority of the Board does not approve any candidate, Board members will be able to move to reconsider a previous motion for a candidate.

There are, as usual when these seats become available, a strong group of candidates vying for this role. I mean, I guess there are a ton of masochists in Alameda who love sitting through long meetings and, fortunately, Alameda gets the benefit of these exceptional (and exceptionally weird) folks.

The candidates include folks who have students at Ruby Bridges, Paden, Lincoln, Encinal, and Alameda and includes someone who had both run the school district and sat on the same Board previously. Six of the seven candidates are women, there’s only one male candidate. We also have an applicant, if selected would be the first, open, LGBTQ representative on the Board of Education. We also have an applicant who was a former teacher at AUSD.

But, what sticks out to me and the more I think about it the more I think would be the best route for this Board would be to select Ardella Dailey. She has indicated on her application that she would only be a placeholder until the 2022 but, as she wrote in her application, understands this school district intimately from her time on the Board and her time as the Superintendent. The pandemic has stretched the district pretty thin and having someone who is ready to go without much of a need to get up to speed would be a huge benefit. As she has walked away from the lure of running for re-election previously, it wouldn’t be a stretch to take her at her word that she will not run again with a boost of name recognition from taking this seat.

Now, arguably, we’ve seen in the past that the School Board doesn’t function a lot like the City Council does, name recognition sometimes is meaningless and being on the School Board doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be re-elected. But voting for someone who doesn’t want to run a campaign in 2022 would be a good way to not tip the scales for all of these other qualified candidates who should run in 2022.

There’s a lot of benefit to getting a fresh face in that seat with good energy and new ideas, but the thought of having someone experienced to provide stability when we’re cresting that pandemic hill with lots of issues to attack is also really appealing. I do not envy these appointments even though I’ll be watching with a fresh bowl of popcorn.


  1. I’m not sure who will be nominated, but let me just say this is a great pool of candidates. Ryan LaLonde is an AUSD parent and he’s incredibly knowledgeable about AUSD matters, and he represents the hugely underrepresented LGBTQ community. In most years, he’d clinch the job easily. Perhaps the only person in Alameda that could’ve spoiled his chances managed to throw her hat in the ring – many believe Ardella Dailey has the inside track, and her nomination would heal the trauma many experienced if she were to come back to the board and also serve as president before the term is up. Now that would be poetic. I do not know the other candidates as well, but I respect the hell out of anyone who wants to help the district during a pandemic.

    Comment by Reality — October 8, 2021 @ 3:20 pm

  2. I would recommend all of the candidates stay involved in AUSD activity regardless of who is selected. The election for the position is less than 13 months away so anyone serious about serving on the Board should commit to learning what goes on at Board meeting at a minimum. Before my first attempt to get elected in 1994, I had served on numerous District committees and attended dozen of Board meetings.

    To get an idea what the role of a Board member is, I would recommend the following:

    Comment by Mike McMahon — October 8, 2021 @ 4:40 pm

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