Why I run

I am excited about finding ways for the school and broader community to have more educational and creative interaction. The LIFE program and activities around local food have helped nurture a connection in that regard. Kwaiht’s involvement in the science program is another, and work by volunteers in working towards a 3-D printer that reused plastic bottles from the dump as feedstock. The Community Shakespeare program brings together the school and community to put on amazing plays. Remarkably for such a small school, annual international trips to Québec, France, Nicaragua, Japan and Greece trip led by Lopez school teachers provide our island’s students with immersion language and crucial exposure to world cultures. I’d like to find other ways that the school can tap into the deep expertise of the Lopez community, and that the broader community of adults can learn side by side with students. Greg Ewert’s work leading outdoors programs is a lasting inspiration in that regard that I’d like to find ways to resurrect and support.

My primary strength running for school board is the ability to listen well. I’m starting to understand that there are some tough challenges now between the teachers union and the administration, and there are members of the Lopez community that are upset. A lot of this probably won’t be a lot of fun, but I’m enthusiastic to step up to the plate to listen and try to help.

I care a lot about academic performance. We’re doing reasonably well by state standards, but we could do better. I realize this is really tough in a small public school. Over the past few years a small contribution I’ve made is to volunteer when I can at the high school helping students in calculus, pre-calculus, geometry, Math Olympiad, and in science activities in some elementary classes. Our teachers do a great job, but teaching a classroom full of kids at a variety of levels and abilities is really difficult. Sometimes a bit of individual help with understanding concepts goes a long way.

I’m very interested in ways that the school’s energy and resource issues. My Ph.D. is from UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, and my professional focus is clean energy and rural electrification. A few years ago I brought UC Berkeley students to Lopez to do analyses on the feasibility of community rooftop solar. Now there are solar panels in place, and could be the basis for some hands-on educational activities on electricity. I look forward to pursuing other ways that Lopez school can embody principles of sustainability especially in water, electricity, and food.

My own kids are in high school and middle school. Being on the school board for these next few years means I can help improve the institution that will be launching my kids into their lives as adults.

Raising kids these days in the age of laptops and smartphones feels like uncharted territory. At the school the community generously stepped forward to approve a tech levy last year, and these funds are being used to upgrade digital technology and provide instruction for teachers and students in its responsible use. This is essential… and tricky. The challenge is to learn to use appropriate technology appropriately, and to do so in ways that enhance and do not undermine critical thinking skills, civility, and connection to nature. I get it that mistakes will be made… We’re all learning. My hope is that as a school board member I can help Lopez school move forward with compassion and eyes open.