Four candidates seek seat on school district board | June 22, 2011 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - June 22, 2011

Four candidates seek seat on school district board

by Renee Batti

Four applicants for a vacant seat on the Menlo Park City School District board will be interviewed by board members on Tuesday, June 21, at a special meeting that begins at 6 p.m. The board will deliberate and appoint one of the candidates at the end of the meeting.

Ana Uribe Ruiz, who unsuccessfully ran for the board last November, has applied for the seat, as has former board member Jeffrey Child. The other applicants are Pam Larkin and Ivan Montoya.

The appointment will be for the remainder of Mark Box's term, which expires in December 2012; Mr. Box has resigned from the board, effective June 30, to move to Spain.

Residents of the district, which serves parts of Menlo Park and Atherton, had until 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, to apply for the position. Each candidate was required to submit a written statement with the application. The following information is from the statements.

Jeffrey Child

Mr. Child was elected to the board in 2006, and didn't seek re-election when his four-year term ended last year. He was a board member and the treasurer of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation, which supports the K-8 district, from 2004 to 2008.

He has been a board member of the Menlo-Atherton High School Foundation for the Future since last year, and is a member of the city of Menlo Park's Finance and Audit Committee. He currently sits on the board of the Amerigroup corporation.

Pam Larkin

Ms. Larkin has three children who attend or formerly attended district schools. She's a nine-year member of the district's Strategic Planning Committee, and has chaired and co-chaired the Encinal Site Council for the last two years. She also has volunteered in classroom math, reading, library, and science programs.

Among her previous experience, Ms. Larkin lists having designed and implemented science curriculum and instruction based on state standards and research on how children learn best. She also has provided professional development for teachers.

Ivan Montoya

Mr. Montoya has four children who attend or have attended district schools. He served on the Oak Knoll Site Council from 2003 to 2009, chairing the group during his final two years.

He has a master's degree in education, as well as an MBA, from Stanford, and during graduate school worked at an educational software startup. He recently began work at Teachscape, a company that develops tools and provides services to help teachers improve their skills. He leads the company's work with the Gates Foundation on the Measures of Effective Teaching project.

Ana Uribe Ruiz

Ms. Uribe Ruiz has a child with special needs at a district school, and has had to "emerge myself in understanding how the school system works and how that relates to the education that my son gets." As she did during her November 2010 run for a seat on the school board, she stresses the need for a "balanced representation for all students."

A banker for more than 25 years, Ms. Uribe Ruiz is a member of HISPA, a group of Latino professionals who serve as role models within their educational communities, with the goal of increasing the number of Hispanic students who graduate from high school.

The June 21 board meeting will be held at the district office at 181 Encinal Ave. in Atherton.