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Turlock Unified School District Candidate Profiles

POSTED October 19, 2009 3:05 p.m.
Felica Renshaw
I am one of the incumbents, and I have served for twelve years. Six of those years were spent on the Turlock Joint Elementary School Board and the last six have been on the Turlock Unified School Board. I believe that I have valuable experience, training, and perspective into the needs and challenges of each of our schools that make me uniquely qualified in this race. I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to represent my fellow citizens, and it has been an honor to do so.   

The power of any board is in the whole and not in its individual members. I am prepared to continue to be part of the Turlock Unified School Board, whatever its make-up, to bring our District through these trying times in public education in California. I know that we can weather this storm and come out vital and strong. I am particularly excited about the strategic plan that was adopted this year and know that there are great times ahead for our students as we work together to fully implement this plan over the next few years.  Hopefully, if things improve in the next four years, we can move ahead on the modernization projects throughout the District and also look at some other projects that I believe we need to address in the area of facilities. Most of all, I want to continue to serve and represent all of the stakeholders here to the best of my abilities.

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Lori Crivelli
I would make a good school board member because as an active parent in my own children’s education for the last 16 years and a business owner, I believe I have a lot of knowledge and experience to bring to the school board.  Running my own business has given me the skills to budget, hire effectively, and train staff to meet the demanding needs of today’s society. These business skills I have acquired can be carried over to assist in helping the school district run effectively and efficiently in this budget strapped economy.    
 
I believe for the district to be successful we must work diligently to keep teachers in the classrooms. Laying off teachers and moving students to larger classroom sizes is a losing situation for everyone especially in the younger grades. Many students decide early on that they will not go to college. I would like to see more vocational programs available for those students to keep them engaged in their studies and in school. If we can keep students coming to school, it will not only prepare them to be successful citizens it will also provide added revenue to the district.
I am a proponent of college and do believe that we must also make sure we have adequate class offerings for those who will go on to continue their studies. I would also like to see programs that support higher education for minority students being offered throughout the district. As a board member I will work hard to make sure the programs the district is offering are made available to all students.

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Tami Muniz
Having served on the TUSD Board for the last four and a half years, I feel that my experience is a very important part of what makes me a great candidate for re-election. We have and will continue to face the worst budget cuts in the history of our District and I feel that it is important to keep consistency in our Board during these times.  
I am a second generation Turlock native, was raised and attended school on the south/west side of Turlock and I currently still reside in that area of Turlock, which brings the diversity to the School Board that I feel we need as a community. I love children and helping families, I believe I can represent the feelings of many of our parents, teachers, and other community members who feel they do not have a voice. I have been and will be their voice, I listen I watch and I and I understand what the issues are that parents and students and our teachers are dealing with in this ever changing world we live in.  

There are many things I would like to see achieved if I can continue into the next four years in office, but here are just a few. I want all of our schools to reach 800 and above on their California State Standards Testing,
I can’t wait to watch as the newly implemented Strategic Plan begins to take place and I am anxious to see where it takes us in five years. I want to continue to work with our staff and bargaining units to work through the very difficult budget issues that face our district. I would love to see Joe Debely stadium renovated and a stadium built at Pitman High School. Both high schools deserve that. I want to see our schools continue to build relationships with parents and parents to feel welcome to come on to our campuses and to ask questions and to get involved with their child’s education. I want the achievement gap closed and I will do whatever I can to help make that happen.

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Bob Weaver
I would make a good school board member because over the last 10 years I have shown my leadership skills through various volunteer organizations. I have been a scout leader for nine years and coached youth sports. I have shown a dedication to education issues during the past six years (five as chair) on the Julien School Site Council and being vice-chair of the Measure Y Citizens Oversight Committee. I am also serving as PTA president for Julien School. I have been a long-time member of the state board of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA.)
It is with these experiences that I will bring to the board a new vision and energy that is greatly needed during the tough times that we are facing.  
I have deep-seeded roots in the Turlock education system. I am a life-long resident of Turlock. My grandmother taught at Turlock High in 1912, my father graduated from Turlock High in 1944, and I graduated from THS in 1981. I am also vested in the district by having a son attend elementary school, another attending middle school, and my oldest in high school. My graduation from Cal Poly, SLO with a degree in Agricultural Business gives me the business background to help the district succeed.     

My main goal if elected to office would be to make sure that the students of our district see minimal effects from the budget crisis that our district will be facing in future years. It is vital that every student in our district receive the quality education that they deserve and we should be able to provide. This can only happen if staff and administration work together to find areas where reductions can be made without sacrificing a quality, safe learning environment. It is important that we create an atmosphere that is open to all ideas. Although cuts were made last year, the cuts for the 2010-2011 school year will be even more severe.
I will work to preserve not only our core educational requirements, but also language, visual arts, sports, agricultural and vocational education classes.      

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Timm LaVelle
During the past eight years as a board member I have focused on providing the best education possible for the children in our District. I have continued the tradition of keeping our District fiscally sound and I have protected the Arts, Music, Sports and Agricultural programs by making them a priority for funding at a time when other districts were eliminating these programs. I understand the importance of a sound budget but I will not lose sight of the needs of our children and staff. I will continue to work to give every child that comes to one our schools the tools they need to learn and succeed.
For the past 14 years, I have been heavily involved in volunteering in our schools. I started by volunteering in the classroom. I have also been a member of a school site council, an executive board member of Julien Elementary PTA for six years, serving as president for two years, Dad’s club president for two years and Turlock Council PTA member for four years, serving as president for two years.    

When re-elected to office, my top priorities will be to continue to keep our district fiscally sound, protect the jobs of staff and to continue to provide the extracurricular programs that benefit the children in our district. I will also continue to focus on the collaboration with our local business leaders, the city of Turlock and Modesto Junior College to build a satellite campus and vocational/alternative education center that will benefit not only the students who want to learn a skilled profession rather than attend a university, but will add to the educational opportunities of the adults in our community as well.  

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Josh Bernard
I am running for school board because I want to ensure that today’s students get the same excellent education I received as a student. I am a dairyman and a former soldier in the U.S. Army. I graduated from California State University, Stanislaus where I earned a degree in Social Studies and a California Teaching Credential.
The Army taught me to be a leader and a team player and working in the dairy industry has taught me how to build a consensus by bringing people together with different points of view and finding solutions we can all support.  These are the skills I hope to take with me to the Board. As a Trustee, I will work hard to provide students with a strong foundation for their futures. I believe that our students should be prepared for the jobs of the future whether they are headed to college, trade school or military service.  

In this era of budget cuts, my main goals if elected to office would be to fight to keep dollars in the classroom to ensure that every student is proficient in reading, writing and math. I also understand the importance of the arts and sports as these programs provide opportunities for children to excel outside the classroom. I will work with the community and build partnerships to protect these programs when times are tough.
My wife and I have three children that will be attending Turlock schools for years to come and I look forward to taking an active role in problem solving and improving the quality of education for all our children. I would be honored to have your vote.

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