Schools - September 15, 2010

Mendelsohn resigns from Portola Valley school board

by Renee Batti

Judith Mendelsohn, who has been battling cancer for some time, has resigned her seat on the Portola Valley School District board, effective immediately.

The school board will vote on accepting her resignation at its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 15, when board members will also discuss how to fill the now-vacant seat.

Ms. Mendelsohn, who was serving as the board's president, submitted her resignation in an Aug. 30 letter to her fellow trustees, citing her "ongoing illness."

A math teacher by profession, she was elected to the board in 2007.

"It was my honor and pleasure to serve on the (school board) ... . My goal was always to make our schools the best possible places for our students to learn and grow," Ms. Mendelsohn said in an e-mail to The Almanac.

"I enjoyed working with the other school board members. We listened to each other and worked collaboratively to reach our decisions," she wrote. "Our different viewpoints and backgrounds brought an enormous amount of knowledge to our decision making."

Filling the seat

Superintendent Tim Hanretty said the board has two options to fill the vacant seat: Either appoint someone to fill out Ms. Mendelsohn's term, which expires in December 2011; or call for a special election.

The appointment of a new member or the decision to call a special election must be made by Oct. 31, Mr. Hanretty said. If the board chooses to appoint a member, it is likely to follow a process it has used in the past: solicit applications from interested community members, conduct public interviews of applicants, and then make a provisional appointment.

The decision to appoint a member can be challenged by members of the public, who have 30 days to file a petition calling for a special election. If a provisional appointment is not challenged within 30 days, it becomes official.


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