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TUSD narrows down candidates for vacant school board seats

After what can only be described as a nail-biting candidate filing process for Turlock Unified School District's Trustee Area 7, Board members will consider candidate Anthony Silva to fulfill the four-year term during a special Board meeting next week.

Silva was one of just two candidates who filed for Trustee Area 7 just days before the Board had planned to consider extending the application deadline in September. During the special board meeting on Tuesday, Silva will be asked to present a brief personal statement and answer any additional questions before the Board makes its final decision.

 “I had a number of people ask me to apply and my first reaction was, ‘I’m retired, I don’t need an extra obligation,’” said Silva in September. “However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that maybe I need to do my part.

“Being a former educator, I think I have something to offer,” continued Silva.

Silva’s past experience as a high school educator was the driving force that influenced the Board’s decision, since Board member and retired educator Eileen Hamilton’s at-large term expires in December. Once Hamilton’s term is up, President Frank Lima said that the Board will no longer benefit from having an educator's viewpoint.

“It does help to have a retired educator in our district who gives us some perspective as to how things have or haven’t been and how things are run,” said Lima. “Losing Mrs. Hamilton will be a loss to this Board and part of that loss will be covered by someone who has also had a long career in the district.”

In order to carry out the rest of Deborah Martin’s term through 2017, following her resignation in September, the Board also reached the final stages of selecting a provisional appointee on Tuesday for Trustee Area 2.

Applicants Kevin Blount and Lori Carlson were both selected to return next week to the special board meeting, at which time they will also be asked to present a brief personal statement and answer questions if necessary before the Board makes it official appointment.

If appointed, this will be the first time that Blount has served on the TUSD Board, however, he has served on the Chatom Unified School Board of Trustees for 20 years.

“I have a deep understanding of the knowledge, roles and responsibilities that are required of an effective board member,” said Blount in September.

Blount said that if he is appointed he hopes to promote and implement the use of technology to support students as 21st century learners, as well as promote a safe learning and work environment at all campuses for students and staff.

Carlson said that she decided to apply for the position to honor her mom and dad’s legacies as a high school Spanish teacher and school board member for more than 20 years, respectively. 

“I just have a heart for students and I would love to serve the community in this way,” said Carlson in September. “I love Turlock and I feel really great with the direction things are headed in the school district right now. I want to support and encourage the way things are headed right now.”

If appointed, Carlson said that she hopes to help the district advance more students toward grade-level performance and increase the percentage of students who are adequately prepared after graduation. She said that she also would bring a unique perspective to the Board that comes from having four children in elementary school, junior high school, high school and college.

“I have had the privilege of volunteering in classrooms and chaperoning field trips for 27 elementary classroom teachers, 16 of which have been in Turlock schools,” said Carlson in September.

For Trustee Area 7, the appointee will serve a full four-year term from 2015 to 2019. The appointment to fill the Board of Trustee vacancy in Area 2 will be effective Oct. 13 until the remainder of the term through 2017.