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Onward and upward: Alice Pollard tackles county education
Alice Pollard
After 23 years at the Turlock Unified School District, Alice Pollard was sworn in to the Stanislaus County Board of Education on Dec. 10. - photo by Photo Contributed

Thousands of students have attended school in the Turlock Unified School District, many of whom have interacted with Alice Pollard in one way or another. As a teacher, advisor, dean, assistant principal and principal, Pollard has left her mark on TUSD at all levels and will continue to influence education at the county level in her newly elected position on the Stanislaus County Board of Education. 

Dec. 10 served as the official kickoff to Pollard’s next step in education as she was sworn into office at her first Stanislaus County Office of Education board meeting for her first position in education outside of TUSD. Most recently serving as principal of Adult and Career Technical Education and Regional Occupation Programs in TUSD for the past five years, Pollard has worn several hats in the district including 23 years at Turlock High School at the teaching and administrative level. Pollard credits her students for her enduring passion for the education system, many of whom conquered self-doubt and became first generation college graduates with her encouragement, not a far reach from her own experience. 

“The teacher with the most impact on my career was Maxine Kane Atherton, who motivated me to attend college and helped me realize that I could succeed. I wanted to do the same for my future students—help them reach their potential,” said Pollard.

Pollard’s initial hesitance towards education is now a distant memory as she has gone on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Stanislaus, as well as her Professional Clear Credential in Social Studies and Government and her Professional Clear Administrative Services Credential. These degrees, coupled with her diverse experience, have equipped Pollard to tackle the ever changing education system.

“Education cannot become stagnant—the world is evolving and education must strive to provide a cutting edge education in an ever changing global economy. It is important to work with business and industry to see what skills and knowledge they will expect their future employees to master,” said Pollard who sees the recent implementation of Common Core as a step towards bridging the gap between the classroom and the workplace.

Another hallmark of the education system is a tight budget ,which Pollard has faced as principal of Adult and Career Technical Education and Regional Occupation Programs. When confronted with a 20 percent reduction in state funding Pollard worked collaboratively with district administration, teachers and staff and was able to maintain and even expand programs despite the cuts.

“TUSD career technical education programs and adult high school diploma programs are a great example of successfully weathering budget cuts,” said Pollard.

Pollard plans to take this same initiative and spirit of collaboration with her as she begins the next step in her career at SCOE.

“I am very thankful that I was elected to the County Board of Education and will do my best to help advance education and provide programs that will meet the needs of student in Stanislaus County.”