With plans to build two new high schools in the works, the continuing roll-out of the Common Core curriculum, and the pressing need for solutions to the district's achievement gap, particularly evident at Menlo-Atherton High School, members of the Sequoia Union High School District board have important work ahead during the next four years.
There are four strong candidates for the three positions -- three incumbents and one challenger, Georgia Jack. The Almanac is endorsing incumbents Laura Martinez, Carrie Du Bois and Allen Weiner, who each adds something distinctive to the board and deserves another term.
Laura Martinez is the newest person on the five-member board, having been appointed in March to serve out Olivia Martinez's term. A former East Palo Alto council member who grew up in that city, she works for the charter school organization Aspire Public Schools and has worked as a tutor and mentor of middle school girls. The first in her family to go to college, Ms. Martinez is committed to supporting children of underprivileged backgrounds, including continuing the district's push toward working with the low-income Ravenswood Elementary School District to better prepare children in its schools for high school.
Ms. Martinez is also on the committee designing the new magnet high school in Menlo Park, expected to open in 2018. She should be allowed to continue her work collaborating on this and other important projects during the next four years as a board member.
Carrie Du Bois has an enthusiasm for exploring innovative ideas, and a passion for finding ways to provide social and emotional support for at-risk kids. After 10 years of board service, she is not only knowledgeable about district programs and the possibilities for improving those that need it, she also has looked outside the district to learn about other successful approaches to educate and support local students.
Ms. Du Bois, a real estate agent and San Carlos resident, has also been active in regional and state school board associations, and is hoping to continue that valuable work as she serves another term on the Sequoia board. She deserves that opportunity, and the chance to continue her leadership role locally.
Allen Weiner, a senior lecturer at Stanford law school and a Menlo Park resident, has been a dynamic force during his four years on the board. He is serving his second consecutive term as board chairman, and wants to continue working toward closing the achievement gap and moving the district leadership toward evaluating existing and future programs through strategic, data-driven assessment to achieve the best possible results.
The child of immigrants and product of a working-class family, Mr. Weiner says that "the opportunity for success that I had was directly linked to public schools." That appreciation led him to volunteer as an English teacher for immigrant kids at M-A, and motivates him to contribute to the schools as a board member. We believe he deserves another term.