On Tuesday November 3, Carrie DuBois, Georgia S. Jack, and Allen Weiner won election to the Sequoia Union High School District School Board. Weiner and DuBois were incumbents, while Jack was a challenger. The three new board members were elected by about 77,000 voters, representing a near 22% voter turnout. They will each serve a four-year term on one of the five seats of the board, which discusses issues pertaining to four major high schools— Carlmont, Menlo-Atherton, Sequoia, and Woodside— and two smaller high schools— Redwood and East Palo Alto Academy. The board member-elects were contended by appointed incumbent Laura Martinez and challenger Noria Zasslow.
DuBois, who received more than 27% of the vote, is excited about her reelection to the board and shared her goals for the next term. “I will continue to be a voice for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised students in the district.” DuBois seeks to improve the literacy levels in areas within the district with less funding in an attempt to reach eventual parity of education between East and West Menlo Park. “I will work to create Board priorities and goals that are inspired by our teachers. We need to be sure we are delivering programs and staff support that energize and motivate the people delivering instruction.” She stresses the importance of fostering relationships between administrators and teachers in order to most effectively run schools. Lastly, DuBois will focus her efforts on student mental health, absences and truancy. This initiative comes as a part of her effort to strengthen education systems in East Menlo Park.
Jack, a challenger to the incumbents, won 23% of the vote in her campaign and emphasizes easy communication for her four-year term: “I intend on developing easy ways for the community to let me know about issues, concerns, and successes. My focus is to bring to the Board the voice of the students, parents, staff, and faculty whom we are elected to serve.” Jack believes that in order to effectively run the school district, community input needs to be aptly integrated into the school board policies. She advocates strong bonds between administrators and community members, so that teachers and students feel comfortable expressing new ideas on how to improve the district. In order to achieve this goal, she encourages any ideas from local citizens, “particularly from the student perspective.” She hopes to inspire students to become more involved in local politics and in shaping their schools.
Weiner, the former president of the Board, received 23% of the vote in his reelection. His primary goal for this term is “focusing on the curricular and physical design of our new small school in East Menlo Park.” The Board plans to fund and institute a new smaller school in East Menlo Park that will center its curriculum on technology and media application. In addition to firmly establishing this new institution, Weiner also states his goal to ease “the transition in the structure of Redwood High School.” He demonstrates an interest in cultivating the district’s newer schools to provide students in areas without large high schools with an equal opportunity to succeed. Weiner will continue his work from the last term to reduce the achievement gap as well as implement common core. Finally, he mentions his concern for the current homework system contributing to student stress. While supporting the rigor of classes, he disapproves of homework practices that emphasize quantity over quality.
All three candidates are enthusiastic about the changes they hope to effect in the district, and appreciate the community support. DuBois, Jack, and Weiner understand civil responsibility in the community, and encourage citizens to participate in community events and engage in local politics. They hope to spread awareness about the disparity within our own Sequoia Union High School District in order to inspire people to take action and become involved in supporting our less fortunate community members.