News


IT manager, Pleasanton parent seeks election to school board

Two incumbents, two challengers in school board race

Pleasanton school parent and information technology manager Mark Miller is seeking his first year on the Pleasanton Unified school board in the Nov.4 general election.

According to Miller, the recent change of the school calendar opened his eyes to the challenges with the current board, saying that parental input was "almost entirely ignored."

In addition, he is concerned about issues regarding loss of administration and the poor relationship between the district and the community.

"My pledge is to seek a balance of parent, student, and staff needs, to be as transparent as possible, and to work collaboratively with the community and neighboring districts to improve our schools," Miller said.

Although Miller states he is not a politician or an educator, he says he believes he has much to offer the Pleasanton school district, such as his business and analytics backgrounds and experience as a manager and leader.

He added that as a parent of two Foothill High School graduates and a Pleasanton Middle School student, he knows it "takes more than a high GPA and test scores to get into the best colleges." As for the younger grades, reasonable class sizes are a must, he said -- adding that active community support of schools is even more critical.

"If you are happy with status quo, vote for the incumbents," Miller said. "For a fresh perspective and independent thinking, consider giving me your vote."

Miller will be running against incumbents Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen, and Pleasanton substitute teacher and volunteer Paige Wright in the November election.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 6, 2014 at 8:34 am

Sure is nice hat we are going to have a PUSD board election.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Congrats
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 6, 2014 at 8:37 am

Sounds like we have a winner. A smart person from the private sector to provide some real world perspective to a board that is isolated and out of touch with reality. The current board is for the most part is negligent in their duties. I can't say I envy them having to listen to the teachers union rep blab on for 10 minutes at the beginning of every meeting, but that's part of the job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by William Tell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 9:39 am

Private sector man who is not a stooge of Ahmadi? Got my vote!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 6, 2014 at 11:53 am

Board Member is often a thankless position. Many thanks to Mr. Miller for putting his hat in the ring. Turnover is often good for board. He has my vote.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ted Lindstrom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm

From the above commenter's repetitive comments, it appears one Pleasantonian (with many names) intends to vote on a very low standard. No experience? No problem! No past involvement? Hey, step right up! No clear mandate aside from "I'm a manager at work?" Sure thing, Buddy, you've got my vote!

Fortunately, many of us in the school district have a higher standard than that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I have known Mark for over 14 years both professionally and personally.

He has been a person that I have always looked up to and I can speak from personal experience that he is a man of great vision and high integrity.

He would be a great addition to the school board.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Mark Miller and Paige Wright have my votes! They will be great additions to the board.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Thank you Mark for stepping up. You have my vote!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm

After seeing two of his kids graduate from Pleasanton high schools, and having another in middle school, Mr. Miller suddenly wakes up one morning from a prolonged coma and says "Hey, I think I'll run for the Board!" Doesn't know why, exactly. Hasn't been involved or participated in education in the past. But, golly, he thinks he'll just give it a try. How come? I dunno. Just something he was thinking about one morning, that's all.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MrsBob
a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Sounds great, but who's going to shout out for the students that are good kids, try their very best but don't get those high GPA scores to get into college? They are just missing out, because they are on B's & C's &/or an odd D. That's what I'm looking for.
Also for the schools to back down a little on some subject entrance criteria. For instance our child was told by her teacher that to be in computer science you have to have done pre-calc.. or doing. My child is gifted in the computer sense & yet because she is only going into Math 3 she can not take the computer science subject! Same with sports, I understand trying to make the student do their best in every subject, but some kids are really talented at a sport but not academic, but are unable to be on teams if they are not producing A's & B's..or is it if the student is producing D's or F's? I know from experience an F does NOT always mean that child is not trying. These schools do not consider every child's needs. For these students, high school is a very overwhelming experience to endure day after day. Who's their voice? Certainly not mine as the parent....we don't seem to be heard! So we need someone high up to be their voice!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm

@MrsBob:
Google UC Santa Cruz Extension University Silicon Valley.
They have computer science courses for children and young adults.

If it is not available for your child in the local school because of
rule or regulation. Your child is free to get what he wants on his
own. If your child has time for it and can manage it, go for it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pathos
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Ted, it sounds like having a choice on the ballot makes you mad.

or maybe the electoral system makes you mad.

or maybe just life makes you mad.

you sound mad.

you mad?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I am open minded… The case for the incumbents is???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tina
a resident of Mission Park
on Aug 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Ted: Mr. Miller and his wife are very involved with the school. Maybe instead of your "wake up" scenario, Mr. Miller feels the school board is taking us in a direction that he is not happy with - as many parents are feeling right now. Just a guess, but good for him for trying to do something about it instead of trying to tear other people down.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fresh Start Needed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 11:29 pm

I'm thankful a professional has stepped up to the plate. Hopefully Mr. Miller's inclusion in the school board election will prove to be a breath of fresh air, as opposed to the biased teacher's unions funded candidates that are constantly being promoted and funded by; the teachers unions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2014 at 8:17 am

Why is it that I get the feeling 2/3 of these posts are by the same person saying repetitive things with the dead giveaway being a consistent inability to write grammatically with the English language. And we should care what this poser thinks about education? He can hardly spell his own name. I hope this clown isn't typical of others who might support Mr. Miller.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2014 at 9:53 am

I am very much looking forward to two educated, independent thinkers like Mr. Miller and Ms. Wright to be elected to the Board because obviously this board is not overseeing the superintendent's over the top, out of control shenanigans in any way, shape or form (banishing principal to district office for unsubstantiated, uncorroborated rumor-mongering by two staff members, calendar changes to lose the summer without community buy-in, giving a half a million dollars to two staff members, etc.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Comments...Parent -you are absolutely correct in your assessment but I'll take it further. The biggest issue the community faces relating to PUSD, and why it is so critical that individuals step up, has been the abdication, by the majority of the board, of their oversight responsibilities. Disinterested? No backbone? Or just lazy? I'm not sure how an individual can run for office, continually express interest in issues, the ability to think independently, and profess to having solutions and then just sit while the Administration runs rough-shod over them to the point that they look grossly ineffective, clearly out of their league, and unfit to hold public office of any kind (because they are none of the things they said they were.) Unfortunately, this is where we currently sit on the school board issue. As a result Ted, a significant number of people in this community are more than willing to give the two individuals the time to come up to speed on the issues and their positions relating to the challenges the district faces and welcome and applaud their willingness to put in the time and effort it will require to become a viable candidate and an effective school board member. Time will tell if our belief will be repaid but I think it will be. Instead of the usual PW blog cynicism, possibly some positive comment and contribution could be considered? I can't think of a more critical local election than this race in order to bring back some level of sanity, professional management, and ethics back into the running of our schools instead of the slow train wreck we are currently watching. Thank you to both Mark and Paige for stepping up.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Aug 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Mark I would like to start by saying thanks for running, I agree we need changes on the school board.

But I'm concerned that you seem focused on one issue:

According to Miller, the recent change of the school calendar opened his eyes to the challenges with the current board, saying that parental input was "almost entirely ignored."

So for the record I attend one of the open houses about the calendar change. I attended the one at Foothill. And the current school board did hear the parental input. It appeared from the data most people supported the change.People could of been involved and attend most like you did not and are now unhappy and may not know all the facts.

We are facing so many issues. I would like to know where you stand.
1. Why is the husband of a union rep allowed to vote on union issues
2. Should Parvin Ahmadi be replaced
3. How do we stop losing talent
4. CSR and how to fund it
5. How do you clean up the John Vranish mess

Please feel free to add to the list





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Miller
a resident of Mission Park
on Aug 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

To all those expressing support for my candidacy, thank you very much for the kind words!

@Ted - while I understand your skepticism, please know my decision to run was not a light one. The time, money, and effort it takes to wage a campaign are enormous. I take this very seriously.

To others - while it's true the calendar issue really stirred me (much more the process than the outcome) it would not have been enough to cause me to embark on this challenge by itself. Quite honestly, the most recent principal defection was what put me over the top. Pleasanton should be the greenest of pastures - even in a drought year.

@MrsBob - I take your concern very seriously. Maybe I didn't say it well in my statement to the paper, but I think there is too much focus on GPAs and test scores in our schools. Sure, they're important, but I know way too many successful people who weren't "school smart" to ignore the many other ways our children can excel. In the case of the computer class, there should be other ways, e.g. teacher recommendation, to get into such a program.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Ahmadi is destroying the school district with her incompetence.

Track record for Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen is also not good for bringing some kind of common sense into the school district.

Does Mr Miller have my vote? yes. I can't think of a single good thing to say about how Jeff Bowser or Joan Laursen have done their jobs...... have they done their jobs?

So, go for it Mark.... power to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

As an Open minded person I like to think first before opening my mouth:

@TED: you wrote" After seeing two of his kids graduate from Pleasanton high schools, and having another in middle school, Mr. Miller suddenly wakes up one morning from a prolonged coma and says "Hey, I think I'll run for the Board!" Doesn't know why, exactly. Hasn't been involved or participated in education in the past. But, golly, he thinks he'll just give it a try. How come? I dunno. Just something he was thinking about one morning, that's all."

How do ou know that? Are you Mark Millers Neighbor? brother? wife? co-worker? priest? beer buddy?

Or, .... maybe your name really is Ahmadi ? and now you are getting scared you'll get kicked out of your $250k/year job?

Before I was ok with Mr. Miller..... now, I'm DEFINITELY ok with him when I see comments like yours trying confuse the readers..... bravo


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 10, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Mark, thank you for stepping up. I sure do hope you intend to shakeup the top. It takes courage to jump into the toxic stew, best of luck.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill Storm
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm

As a career educator working at the district level for a very long time (not in Pleasanton), and one who has worked with Mark Miller in his volunteer life, I can attest that he is an individual of highest integrity, generosity, and commitment to kids, both his own and others'. You could have no finer candidate to run.

To Ted: It is the rare school district trustee/board member who has much experience at all in education. It is, by design, a position designed as a political interface between education professionals such as myself and the community whose children are at our mercy. The primary role of a board member is to take in the big picture and make the system work for everyone with the resources at hand. Too often boards become distracted and then dominated by one narrow interest or another, and new blood is required. Mark is exactly what Pleasanton schools need now because he has a rare talent for processing a complex whole for the greater good. Pleasanton would be well-served by him, irrespective of the issue he tackles, calendar or otherwise.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Aug 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

Well said Bill.

I would like to add, a school trustee needs to have the professional or personal fortitude to make personnel and administrative changes, which are needed. I do not think Bowser or Laursen possess the confidence to fire and replace poor performers at the top. Many people run for office to enjoy the perks of being an elected official, but don't have the tools to be effective leaders.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cletus Clevinger
a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

Because of Ahmadi's incompetence, and the schools boards patting her on the back, I have had to take my 9 kids out of school, and give them home schooling instead. If we can replace all these incompetence, who fire people only because the union says so, then we can begin to make Pleasanton a good educational system, and not the cesspool that it has become under Ahmadi's union sock puppet leadership. I'm definately voting for the candidates who want to rid this town of the union influence that corrupts the students, and most of the teachers who don't even want to be in it.


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