Former Dublin mayor and current Dublin High School athletic director Tim Sbranti will be returning to public office after being selected last week to fill the vacant Tri-Valley seat on the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Board of Trustees.
Sbranti, who was picked ahead of five other interviewed candidates including former Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio, is set to take the oath of office next week and serve on the board at least through November 2020 representing the Trustee Area 5 that includes his hometown, plus Pleasanton and Sunol.
"I am very excited for the opportunity to serve on the board of such a great community college district that is such an asset to our region providing so many opportunities for students of all ages, interests and needs," Sbranti told the Weekly.
Sbranti said his top priorities on the board include ensuring equity and access for all who want to attend Las Positas or Chabot colleges, increasing the focus on hands-on career pathways and vocational education, and seeing that the district continues its capital improvement program to modernize its facilities.
A local educator with almost two decades of experience in various capacities with the Dublin Unified School District, including time as a teacher and sports coach, Sbranti is no stranger to public service as well.
Sbranti served nearly 11 years on the Dublin City Council, including six years as its directly elected mayor before being termed out in 2014. That year, he ran as a Democrat for the open State Assembly District 16 seat but lost in a tight general election that November to Republican Catharine Baker (51.6% to 48.4%) .
He would later return to public light as deputy chief of staff and district director for U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell -- who was once seen as Sbranti's protege in Dublin city politics before making the jump from City Council to Congress at 32 years old in 2013.
Sbranti pointed to his nearly three years working in Swalwell's district, which spans most of the Tri-Valley and west toward Hayward, where Chabot College is located, as expanding his "connection and insight" to the Chabot-Las Positas district as a whole.
In his application letter to the college district, Sbranti also cited his experience with the Las Positas College Foundation, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, the Tri-Valley Regional Occupation Program (ROP) and the Sacramento State Alumni Association among his other beneficial experience.
He is currently employed as athletic director at his alma mater, Dublin High, after stepping down from Swalwell's office last summer in favor of the position with less travel and closer to home while helping raise his young daughter. He also does some consulting work for the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group.
Sbranti was a unanimous choice for the open board seat by the six other Chabot-Las Positas trustees after candidate interviews in the district's Dublin boardroom on April 2, according to Guisselle Nuñez, the district's public relations director.
"We are pleased with the selection of Mr. Sbranti," Board President Edralin "Ed" Maduli said in a statement last week. "As a lifelong public servant, he has extensive experience in education, government at the local, state and federal level, knowledge of our community, and he will be a great addition to our board and the district."
"We had six excellent candidates who are devoted to their community and we thank them for their interest in serving the district," Maduli added.
The board had been working to fill the unexpired term left vacant when former trustee Carlo Vecchiarelli resigned midterm on Jan. 15, citing medical reasons, after nearly 14 years on the board and more than 50 years with the district overall -- the trustees opted for a direct appointment rather than call a special election.
The district received 12 applications for Vecchiarelli's seat, but half of those candidates either bowed out or were disqualified for actually living outside Trustee Area 5's boundaries, according to Nuñez.
The list of applicants interviewed by the board on April 2 featured some names familiar in the Tri-Valley, including Cook-Kallio, a two-term Pleasanton City Council member (2006-14) and retired Fremont teacher. Cook-Kallio followed Sbranti as the Democratic Party's Assembly District 16 candidate in 2016, ultimately losing her bid to unseat Baker.
The other final applicants were local author and educator Margaret Qin Zhao, community leader and former sheriff's air squadron commander Robert Tucknott, engineering manager Yazhou "Joel" Liu and local resident Joanne Rossi Becker, who is a math professor at San Jose State University.
After receiving unanimous support from the board, Sbranti is scheduled to take his seat following a swearing-in ceremony at the board's meeting April 16 at Las Positas College. His appointment will run through the November 2020 regular board election, though he will be eligible to run to keep his seat.
Sbranti is coming on board at a critical time for the seven-member Board of Trustees, which oversees the district that serves more than 29,000 East Bay students across Las Positas and Chabot colleges.
The district is being led by Interim Chancellor Ronald P. Gerhard, who is the district's third temporary leader in the wake of former chancellor Jannett Jackson's resignation last August. The board expects to launch a second nationwide search for a permanent chancellor soon.
Las Positas College also has an interim leader, with former vice president Roanna Bennie serving as interim president since last April.