NUSD Race: Endorsements & Objectivity

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

THE NATOMAS BUZZ invited the 10 candidates for Natomas Unified school board to participate in a series of articles wherein they answer questions submitted by readers.

Today’s question was sent to us by reader Scott Lipton.

THE NATOMAS BUZZ asked, “Given the plethora of endorsements to each candidate and diversity of backgrounds from each candidate; I would like to know how each candidate plans to be an independent and objective trustee should they be elected to the Natomas Unified School District board?” 

Here are the answers we submitted by the deadline, in the order they were received:


My supporters know that I’m naturally an independent, thoughtful, and very objective person; which is why they have endorsed me. I understand there is no such thing as a monopoly on good ideas and am very open to different perspectives and viewpoints. Our students will come first.

One of the core responsibilities of board members is to act as community leaders. As such, I am honored to have earned the endorsements of so many residents/parents that are also active leaders in Natomas themselves. Community leaders such as Robynne Rose-Haymer, Natomas Schools Foundation VP, Ron Dwyer-Voss, Past NUSD Board President, Howard Chan, Westlake Charter parent, Angelique Ashby, Vice Mayor, and many more chose to support me because of my parent involvement and they know my 10 years of experience supporting public education at the California School Boards Association will be a valuable resource for NUSD. Having this support means it will be that much easier to establish effective two-way communication systems between the board and the community and to develop strong collaborative partnerships. If elected, I promise to involve the entire community in meaningful ways and to always make informed and educated decisions that put kids first.


Endorsements are nice, but the endorsements that matters the most are that of the voters. The voters elect school board members to serve the kids. With independence and objectiveness, I have always put students first with my every decision. Objectiveness is a cornerstone of my approach to decision making. As a board member I am listening to the community, visiting classrooms (including my own children’s), critically analyzing and researching recommended board actions along with looking at state and federal laws, in order to be prepared prior to board meetings. It is hard work, it takes time, but is necessary and I will always do it, because our kids deserve nothing less.


I consider an endorsement of my candidacy as saying the organization or individual who’s given it shares an affinity with my values. In no way have I ever changed what I would normally say just to get an endorsement. Truth is the highest value of all. The easy seduction of partial truth-telling doesn’t count, because they are lies by omission. Even now, some candidates engage in it. A good Trustee must embrace a truth which acknowledges all the facts, no matter how inconvenient, when confronting a challenge that needs solving. Any ‘skin in the game,’ political leanings, or affiliations with interested parties must never influence a decision the way simple truth does. I will bring truth, transparency and inclusion in my approach to problem solving and goal-setting. I will win the confidence of parents, school staff and Natomas residents because they will always be in the ‘room’ with me.


I am proud of the endorsements I have received to date including: County Supervisor Phil Serna, former Mayor Heather Fargo, city Councilman Rob Fong, city Councilman Steve Cohn, former city Councilman Ray Tretheway, Plumbers & Pipefitters, Operating Engineers, four Sacramento County Democratic Clubs (Green, Latino, Feminist, and Veterans), former NUSD Trustees Ron DwyerVoss and Gary Davis, Inderkum IB Inc. President Anna Vue, and numerous active Natomas parents including Beth Mahony, Howard Chan, Patricia Adams, Phil Nanni, Lisa Rojas, Jason Vitaich, and Rob Wurgler. As a parent of a kindergartner and 4th grader, I need Natomas’ schools to be great for at least the next 13 years. I will fight to implement the programs and services that parents want and kids need to achieve educational and occupational success. The people and organizations listed endorsed me because they share my vision and know I follow through on my commitments.


My education advocacy track record shows that I am independent and objective when making decisions and taking action. One of my key strengths is to listen to multiple perspectives and welcome multiple ways of meeting or addressing the needs of our diverse district. We need to encourage educational solutions that engage students in their education that will allow them to have the desire to learn and graduate prepared for college or any path they choose. However, in the end, I believe I am most successful and impactful when I make decisions that benefit students or address student needs. For the past sixteen years, this has been my guiding principle when I advocate for students and parents or participate on advisories committees at schools or at the district level. It helps me remain focused on getting the best results for them and persisting through negative experiences or outcomes.


Unlike some of the other candidates that are on the ballot. I never actively sought out any endorsements. I have not paid for a single endorsement or paid to put my name in ANY voter suggested guides. I was invited by groups to come and speak to them on why I thought I would be a good candidate. The reason that the groups that have endorsed me chose me over other candidates, all came back to one simple word, INTEGRITY. I informed each group that I would ONLY do what was in the best interest of our children’s future and that my decision making would substantiate that . By stating this prior to receiving any endorsement, this guaranteed my independence and ability to be objective as a perspective trustee member. I was told by each group that chose me, this is why they respected and selected me over other candidates.

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