Former Hart Middle School principal Steve Maher launched his campaign Sunday for election to the Pleasanton school board on Nov. 8.
He joins three other candidates with a long history in the Pleasanton school system in vying for election to one of three open seats on the school board. The other candidates are incumbents Jamie Hintzke and Valerie Arkin, who are seeking re-election to four-year terms of office, and former Pleasanton school board member Kathleen Ruegsegger, at one time an executive assistant to superintendents in both the Pleasanton and Palo Alto school districts.
Maher's supporters were at the home of Bronco and Kathleen Hart-Hinek at a campaign rally to hear Maher discuss his vision for the school district.
"Let’s get back to what’s best for the kids," Maher said. "We also have to stop the revolving door of principals. Let’s get a procedure in place to direct the superintendent to get quality people, and then retain them so they’ll have the same feeling I have about Pleasanton. I love being here."
Maher said he also plans to focus on what he terms the "underserved" population of special education students in the district. A mere 26% of those students are passing or exceeding minimum standards, a rate he insisted must be improved.
He said current school board members Joan Laursen and Chris Grant and the late school board member Juanita Haugen as shining examples of board members who care, noting that they regularly visit or visited all schools in the district. It’s a practice Maher plans to emulate.
Kathleen Hart-Hinek, who hosted the event, is the daughter of Thomas S. Hart, a Pleasanton teacher, principal and assistant superintendent who is the namesake for Hart Middle School.
Maher was principal of Hart from its opening in August 2000 until his retirement in 2010.
“When I started my career, Tom Hart hired me,” Maher said. “And now when I start my career in
politics, I have another Hart who’s getting me going.”
Maher said he admired the late Tom Hart’s integrity, skill of listening without judgment and ability to bring people together.
“If we could get back to that, we’d be in a lot better shape,” Maher said. “I hope to bring some cohesion to the board and hope to get us all back focused on children.”
Maher has more than 40 years of experience as a teacher and school administrator. He taught at Fairlands, Valley View and Vintage Hills elementary schools. He was principal of Alisal, Donlon and Vintage Hills elementary schools and Pleasanton and Hart middle schools.
Since retiring, he has been interim school administrator at Fairlands, Lydiksen, Hearst, Valley View, Vintage Hills and Walnut Grove elementary schools, Harvest Park Middle School and Amador Valley High School.
Maher and his wife, Tina, have three adult daughters, two who teach in Pleasanton and one who is a principal here. Seven of their nine grandchildren currently attend Pleasanton schools.
For more information about Maher, sign on to his campaign website at www.votemaher4schoolboard.com/ or follow his campaign on his Facebook site at SteveMaher4PleasantonSchoolBoard/