The last couple of elections have proven to be a benefit to the makeup of the county’s largest school district’s board of trustees.
Three elections ago, we mentioned it would be nice if more high-quality candidates who are well-versed in the district’s challenges and opportunities would participate. That call has been answered.
In the last election, voters had solid choices and brought three newcomers to the board, Noelia Corzo, Rebecca Hitchcock and Shara Watkins, who have proven to be solid leaders and quick learners. About 18 months ago, along came Ken Chin, who was named to fill a seat vacated by the sudden resignation of Nancy Kohn Hsieh. Since then, the board has operated smoothly and made some real progress.
With four relative newcomers on the board, longtime Trustee Audrey Ng could provide some historical background. Ng is stepping away from elective office and there are now three candidates for two open seats.
And any of the three candidates — Chin, Alison Proctor and Annie Tsai — would do a remarkable job and each bring their own perspective and experience to the table.
Tsai brings a full platter to the table. She not only grasps the district’s myriad issues, but she can drill down on them in an understandable way with ideas on how to make improvements from top to bottom. One of her main goals is to maintain and increase support for new teachers as they get up to speed to not only increase their skills but to keep them happy and interested in staying with the district. She also has a keen grasp on the Local Control Funding Formula and its implications on student learning and how best to make allocations to maximize benefits. She is immersed in Local Control and Accountability Plan data as a way to bridge the achievement gap and achieve equity in our diverse schools — in both the macro level through programming and at the micro level in ideas such as computer loans for families who need it. She is a strong proponent in cross-school collaboration to improve relationships in the district, promote success throughout and increase communication and transparency. Tsai will hit the ground sprinting and get others to run along with her.
Chin has proven to be a responsible and responsive leader who has used his experience in city government to be the “facilities guy” on the board who can help the district navigate its bond plans. He has been a quick learner on budget issues and the key of supporting teachers in a variety of ways. And with a board with members who will all have fewer than two years experience each, it is good to keep some continuity with his 18 months as a district leader.
Proctor is a fine candidate with good experience as a PTA president in Foster City. We like her ideas on social and emotional learning and believe her accounting experience would be a benefit on the board. We trust she will stay involved and contribute in other ways.
Voters in San Mateo and Foster City face a difficult choice in this election in that there is truly no wrong way to go. However, there are only two seats available, and we believe they should go to Chin and Tsai.