News

Retired teacher Mary Jo Carreon enters Pleasanton school board race

'I have a teacher's voice but I also have a parent's voice,' says the long-time instructor

Newly retired local school teacher Mary Jo Carreon recently filed to run as the fifth and final contender for Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees in November.

Mary Jo Carreon is running for PUSD Trustee in November. (Courtesy image)

After 26 years in the district, including 20 years teaching second grade at Alisal Elementary School, Carreon retired from the classroom in June but told the Weekly that she isn't done working on behalf of Pleasanton students.

"I was really sad when I had to retire and felt so bad about not being with my community," Carreon said. "I really wanted to continue giving back to the community in a different way. I wanted to continue in my role as an educator and fighter for kids."

Carreon added, "I thought, 'I can't just leave education. I want to keep giving back.' I feel like I can be a bridge to what is in the classroom and moving forward because I have all this experience."

Besides teaching in local schools for several decades, Carreon's experience also includes an insider's familiarity at many levels with the district. Over the years, Carreon has spoken at school board meetings, advocating for smaller class sizes and addressing staff morale and giving input on district issues.

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Right now, Carreon said, "Our priority has to be to keep students and staff safe, and what does that mean? Do we add filtration systems to classrooms? Do we add handwashing stations?"

"We're nowhere near being able to go back to the classroom, but we need to be forward thinkers," she added, and suggested looking at how schools in-person instruction has been handled in other countries like New Zealand, where COVID-19 has been effectively wiped out in recent months.

Recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers is also tied directly to how in-person learning is managed when schools eventually reopen. Carreon said attracting qualified new talent is "very difficult in this day and age because teachers are scared" of the pandemic.

"I think teachers need a lot of training (for remote learning). Right now they've been thrown into something like this and are doing a great job but need more support," Carreon said. "They also need a little bit of grace. They're doing the best job you can expect under these trying circumstances. Don't put any unrealistic expectations on them."

At the same time, Carreon said, "families need to feel like their voices and needs are being heard," which is why she wants to conduct a community listening campaign and post a publicly available phone number for people to call her directly with their thoughts or concerns.

There are also infrastructure repairs, renovations and expansions needed at a number of the 15 PUSD sites that Carreon said present "a really difficult issue, especially with the budget, the way it is right now" and the failure of the Measure M bond in March.

"I'm concerned that we need to focus on the needs that have happened with COVID-related issues like PPE and air filtration before we do any more renovations," she said. "We have to take care of our immediate needs right now, but it would be great to get a parcel tax passed (eventually). I know we have (Pleasanton Partnerships in Education), who helps fund, but it's a difficult time to ask people for money since they're struggling to get food on the table."

A Bay Area native, Carreon grew up in Cupertino and graduated from California High School in San Ramon. Carreon knew she wanted to be a teacher after she had an "excellent teacher" in the third grade and later attended UC Davis, where she earned her bachelor's in communication and teaching credentials.

Carreon moved to Pleasanton in 1992, where she joined the ranks at PUSD and raised two children --a son and a daughter-- with her husband, Jim. During her tenure at Alisal, Carreon also racked up a number of honors including a PUSD Excellence in Education Award, a Distinguished Teacher Award from the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and she earned a spot in a Who's Who of American Teachers.

"I feel like I have a teacher's voice but I also have a parent's voice," she said. "Twenty-seven years is a long time to be rooted; I feel like my roots are pretty deep. I really value relationships, which is another reason why I wanted to run. I just feel like I have a lot to give back to them."

Carreon concluded, "I've dedicated my career to students and I want to continue to serve my community. I want to continue to work hard for the town that I love."

To learn more about Carreon, visit her website at www.maryjoforkids.org.

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Retired teacher Mary Jo Carreon enters Pleasanton school board race

'I have a teacher's voice but I also have a parent's voice,' says the long-time instructor

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated: Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 4:57 pm

Newly retired local school teacher Mary Jo Carreon recently filed to run as the fifth and final contender for Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees in November.

After 26 years in the district, including 20 years teaching second grade at Alisal Elementary School, Carreon retired from the classroom in June but told the Weekly that she isn't done working on behalf of Pleasanton students.

"I was really sad when I had to retire and felt so bad about not being with my community," Carreon said. "I really wanted to continue giving back to the community in a different way. I wanted to continue in my role as an educator and fighter for kids."

Carreon added, "I thought, 'I can't just leave education. I want to keep giving back.' I feel like I can be a bridge to what is in the classroom and moving forward because I have all this experience."

Besides teaching in local schools for several decades, Carreon's experience also includes an insider's familiarity at many levels with the district. Over the years, Carreon has spoken at school board meetings, advocating for smaller class sizes and addressing staff morale and giving input on district issues.

Right now, Carreon said, "Our priority has to be to keep students and staff safe, and what does that mean? Do we add filtration systems to classrooms? Do we add handwashing stations?"

"We're nowhere near being able to go back to the classroom, but we need to be forward thinkers," she added, and suggested looking at how schools in-person instruction has been handled in other countries like New Zealand, where COVID-19 has been effectively wiped out in recent months.

Recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers is also tied directly to how in-person learning is managed when schools eventually reopen. Carreon said attracting qualified new talent is "very difficult in this day and age because teachers are scared" of the pandemic.

"I think teachers need a lot of training (for remote learning). Right now they've been thrown into something like this and are doing a great job but need more support," Carreon said. "They also need a little bit of grace. They're doing the best job you can expect under these trying circumstances. Don't put any unrealistic expectations on them."

At the same time, Carreon said, "families need to feel like their voices and needs are being heard," which is why she wants to conduct a community listening campaign and post a publicly available phone number for people to call her directly with their thoughts or concerns.

There are also infrastructure repairs, renovations and expansions needed at a number of the 15 PUSD sites that Carreon said present "a really difficult issue, especially with the budget, the way it is right now" and the failure of the Measure M bond in March.

"I'm concerned that we need to focus on the needs that have happened with COVID-related issues like PPE and air filtration before we do any more renovations," she said. "We have to take care of our immediate needs right now, but it would be great to get a parcel tax passed (eventually). I know we have (Pleasanton Partnerships in Education), who helps fund, but it's a difficult time to ask people for money since they're struggling to get food on the table."

A Bay Area native, Carreon grew up in Cupertino and graduated from California High School in San Ramon. Carreon knew she wanted to be a teacher after she had an "excellent teacher" in the third grade and later attended UC Davis, where she earned her bachelor's in communication and teaching credentials.

Carreon moved to Pleasanton in 1992, where she joined the ranks at PUSD and raised two children --a son and a daughter-- with her husband, Jim. During her tenure at Alisal, Carreon also racked up a number of honors including a PUSD Excellence in Education Award, a Distinguished Teacher Award from the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and she earned a spot in a Who's Who of American Teachers.

"I feel like I have a teacher's voice but I also have a parent's voice," she said. "Twenty-seven years is a long time to be rooted; I feel like my roots are pretty deep. I really value relationships, which is another reason why I wanted to run. I just feel like I have a lot to give back to them."

Carreon concluded, "I've dedicated my career to students and I want to continue to serve my community. I want to continue to work hard for the town that I love."

To learn more about Carreon, visit her website at www.maryjoforkids.org.

Comments

Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm
Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm
6 people like this

I searched all over her web site, could not find an email contact direct to the candidate.
Is this late filing candidate for PUSD board not wanting to interact with the voter?


James Carreon
Registered user
Lydiksen Elementary School
on Aug 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm
James Carreon, Lydiksen Elementary School
Registered user
on Aug 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm
6 people like this

Mary Jo Carreon email is [email protected]


Anti racist
Registered user
Ruby Hill
on Aug 14, 2020 at 10:23 am
Anti racist, Ruby Hill
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 10:23 am
2 people like this

Michael Austin at the bottom of the website or from the menu you can click “contact” to send a message to the candidate.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 14, 2020 at 1:33 pm
Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 1:33 pm
Like this comment

James Carreon provided her email address. I have since exchanged emails with Mary Jo. The email address was not available 08/12/20. When I clicked on contact, it took me to donation site.


Bay Area Native
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 15, 2020 at 1:48 pm
Bay Area Native, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Aug 15, 2020 at 1:48 pm
9 people like this

Mary Jo Carreon is an unwavering supporter of APT (teachers' union). Electing her would essentially give the union a seat on the Governing Board. We need Trustees who will put students first.


Fact Checker
Registered user
Downtown
on Aug 22, 2020 at 12:08 am
Fact Checker, Downtown
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 12:08 am
5 people like this

Give me a break Bay Area Native, Mary Jo has served Pleasanton students and families for over two decades. And she had two kids go through Pleasanton schools so she is also a parent. Everyone that knows her knows that she puts students at the forefront of everything she does.


Bay Area Native
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 22, 2020 at 7:24 am
Bay Area Native, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 7:24 am
Like this comment

“Everyone” that knows Mary Jo does not share your point of view. Being a parent is not synonymous with being a Trustee who will put students first. I’m unaware of any current or former Trustee who was not a parent yet we’ve had Trustees with obvious conflicts and/or who put APT’s interests first.
Examples. A former trustee who received a large donation from APT while his PUSD teacher wife was the Union’s treasurer. He never recused himself from votes on teacher contacts, pay, promotions, etc. A former trustee whose son withdrew from the district to attend private school (while dad was a trustee) after not being selected as the starting QB at Foothill. How do you advocate for PUSD kids when you don’t send your own kids there? A current Trustee whose daughter is an employee yet he doesn’t recuse himself from voting on contacts and promotions.
I’ve personally interacted with Mary Jo. She is in fact very pro-union. Not everyone disagrees with that but I do. It’s not mutually exclusive to advocate for both students and employees but inevitably there are conflicts. I don’t support candidates who put the unions’ interests first.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:11 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:11 pm
2 people like this

@BayAreaNative, the board member you speak of did in fact recuse himself on EVERY union contract vote, despite district legal advising him it was unneccesary. I witnessed this in person and virtually.

And doesn't everyone have a conflict of interest? I've had four kids in the system. I know some teachers. On my street is a classified employee. Next door is a former board member. Do these prevent me from running for school board? Everyone's got a conflict or two...or three...


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