Following the resignation of a longtime Board of Trustees member, the Turlock Unified School District is on the hunt for his replacement and is calling on qualified community members to apply.
After nearly six years of service, Barney Gordon resigned from his Board duties at the April 16 meeting to “pursue other professional opportunities,” he stated. He commutes to the Bay Area several times a week for work, and explained the situation was never intended to be permanent. As his daughter prepares to graduate at the end of this school year, he and his wife decided this would be the best way to proceed in life.
“I’ve been a faithful volunteer for TUSD for the past dozen plus years and it is obvious this is where my heart and passion lie…It’s been an honor to represent TUSD as a Board member and I have faith in [Board President] Ms. Carlson and [Superintendent] Ms. Trevethan’s ability to continue to provide great leadership to the Board and the District,” Gordon told the Board at his last meeting. “Thank you all for giving me this opportunity to serve our community of staff, teachers, administrators and, most importantly, students.”
Board President Lori Carlson thanked Gordon for his leadership as both a Board member and as a former Board President, noting that his leadership balance, presence and wisdom will be missed, along with his peacemaking spirit for the entire District.
Gordon was originally appointed to the Board of Trustees in August 2013, following the resignation of Board member Grady Welch. Gordon was one of four candidates in consideration for the job, and now, history will repeat itself.
The Board on Tuesday voted to determine the new vacancy left by Gordon will be filled by Board appointment, rather than by a special election paid for by TUSD. The decision is one meant to save the District some cash; filling the vacancy by appointment will cost around $500, while a special election would cost anywhere from $44,000 to $67,000.
Individuals that reside in Trustee Area 1 and are interested in serving on the Board of Trustees are encouraged to apply to replace Gordon. Trustee Area 1 stretches from just west of Walnut Elementary School up into east Keyes, including neighborhoods east of Pitman High School. The chosen candidate will fill Gordon’s remaining term, which will be up for reelection in 2020.
Gordon said he hopes the community member who fills his seat on the Board is objective, and puts the best interest of the 14,000 plus students within TUSD first.
“I think a lot of folks, especially today, run for office based on a platform of a few personal issues or beliefs, but to be effective in this position you really need to be focused on making the hard decisions that most benefit the youth in our community,” Gordon told the Journal. “You have to be equally as committed to the students at Wakefield as you are to the students at Walnut, the employees in TTA [Turlock Teachers Association] as well as the employees in CSEA [California School Employees Association], the performing arts as well as athletics. You have to be committed to the students.”
The last appointment to the Board of Trustees was in June 2017, when Mark Walker was the sole applicant to replace Board member Jennifer Carter.
Interested candidates for Trustee Area 1 have until May 20 to submit a Candidate’s Information Form, available at the TUSD Office, Office of the Superintendent, Room 210, 1574 E. Canal Drive. Candidates can also submit supporting information, like a resume, letters of recommendation or support and any other documentation they deem appropriate.
If there are more than three applicants for the position, a screening committee of up to three Board members will review each candidate’s information and recommend up to three candidates for consideration for appointment to the Board. A special meeting is set to be held at 6:30 p.m. June 10 at the District Office Room 102, where public interviews and an appointment will take place. The new Board member’s first meeting will be on June 18.
A map of Trustee Areas can be found at http://turlockusd-ca.schoolloop.com/trusteearea.