News

Editorial: Vote Maher, Mokashi, Wang for Pleasanton school board

The Pleasanton community is in the middle of an unprecedented time amid the COVID-19 crisis and associated shelter-in-place orders, and perhaps no public entity is more impacted in more ways than the Pleasanton Unified School District.

School campuses are closed to students, instruction is being done remotely and the future of the budget -- like all government funding -- is so far up in the air you almost can't see it through the clouds (or more aptly these days, the smoke).

More distinctly than ever, though, is the fact PUSD will have to prioritize key objectives to navigate this difficult period: health and safety for students and staff, fiscal sustainability, open communication and public transparency.

It will take a well-rounded Board of Trustees with unique and fresh perspectives to guide Pleasanton Unified through the pandemic and toward continued success in the years that will follow. Those representative voices are Steve Maher, Kelly Mokashi and Chong Wang.

Incumbent Maher has a long history with public education in Pleasanton. Known best as the former Hart Middle School principal, Maher had more than 40 years of experience as a teacher and administrator overall before being elected to the school board in 2016.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support PleasantonWeekly.com for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Four years ago we did not endorse Maher because of apprehension over objectivity and possible conflicts of interest with him having three daughters working for the district, and we're happy to have seen him assuage those concerns and proven us wrong during his first term. He is a popular, well-respected and responsive board member whose views and experience are holistic yet always center around what's best for the students. PUSD needs Maher's leadership these next four years.

Challenger Mokashi, a first-time candidate for PUSD and a fairly new transplant to Pleasanton, has impressed with her community involvement in the two-plus years she's lived in town, including serving on PUSD's School Reopening Steering Committee this summer, sitting as an adult member of the city's Youth Commission and recurring commentary at local public meetings.

Her perspective as a parent with kids in school will be important, but perhaps more so will be her input as a longtime educator with extensive experience in e-learning. Remote instruction will certainly be part of PUSD education for this year amid the pandemic, but quite possibly for semesters and years ahead as families prioritize student safety and learning in new ways. As an engaged parent informed on e-education development, Mokashi will prove invaluable to the board for the next term.

Challenger Wang, also a newcomer to PUSD elections, will bring another vital representative voice to the Board of Trustees as an immigrant parent with two children in the schools who has been working in the hi-tech industry for more than 20 years. Locally, he's gained critical experience volunteering on PUSD's Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee and the Superintendent's Budget Advisory Council.

His knowledge of technology, PUSD finances and diverse educational needs will be critical attributes as district leadership work to balance conflicting priorities during the pandemic and in the likely tough times to follow fiscally. Wang's commitment to data-driven decision-making while always keeping the big picture in view will go a long way toward maintaining PUSD's strong record of academic success.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Incumbent Jamie Yee is seeking a fourth straight term on the board, and although she has good experience and institutional knowledge, her underwhelming performance at our forum reminded us that fostering new perspectives is necessary for good governance -- and PUSD should strongly consider term limits capping service at 12 years.

We commend Yee for serving three terms, including helping the district navigate a truly difficult time of administrative instability before Superintendent David Haglund's hiring in June 2017, but we also remember she was part of a board whose decisions led to that precarious period. With stability finally re-secured in the superintendent's office, it's time for some turnover of ideas and leadership on the board in favor of other qualified, eager candidates.

The final candidate, challenger Mary Jo Carreon, offers informed views of student and classroom needs as a parent and recently retired teacher from Alisal Elementary School. She also has experience with committee work in PUSD on topics like textbook adoption, the district calendar and school reopening.

It is important to have an educator's perspective on the board, but we'd prefer to see one without recent membership in the district's main labor group -- though Carreon is not a current member of the Association of Pleasanton Teachers since her retirement last year. And more importantly, we had hoped to see Carreon lay out a more comprehensive platform with specific objectives and actions during her forum appearance and in her public campaigning.

Vote Steve Maher, Kelly Mokashi and Chong Wang for Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Editor's note: The Pleasanton Weekly editorial board reached its decisions based on the candidates' performances at the Weekly's online forum, email interviews on endorsements, and our review of past reporting and research.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Editorial: Vote Maher, Mokashi, Wang for Pleasanton school board

by /

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 1, 2020, 6:13 pm

The Pleasanton community is in the middle of an unprecedented time amid the COVID-19 crisis and associated shelter-in-place orders, and perhaps no public entity is more impacted in more ways than the Pleasanton Unified School District.

School campuses are closed to students, instruction is being done remotely and the future of the budget -- like all government funding -- is so far up in the air you almost can't see it through the clouds (or more aptly these days, the smoke).

More distinctly than ever, though, is the fact PUSD will have to prioritize key objectives to navigate this difficult period: health and safety for students and staff, fiscal sustainability, open communication and public transparency.

It will take a well-rounded Board of Trustees with unique and fresh perspectives to guide Pleasanton Unified through the pandemic and toward continued success in the years that will follow. Those representative voices are Steve Maher, Kelly Mokashi and Chong Wang.

Incumbent Maher has a long history with public education in Pleasanton. Known best as the former Hart Middle School principal, Maher had more than 40 years of experience as a teacher and administrator overall before being elected to the school board in 2016.

Four years ago we did not endorse Maher because of apprehension over objectivity and possible conflicts of interest with him having three daughters working for the district, and we're happy to have seen him assuage those concerns and proven us wrong during his first term. He is a popular, well-respected and responsive board member whose views and experience are holistic yet always center around what's best for the students. PUSD needs Maher's leadership these next four years.

Challenger Mokashi, a first-time candidate for PUSD and a fairly new transplant to Pleasanton, has impressed with her community involvement in the two-plus years she's lived in town, including serving on PUSD's School Reopening Steering Committee this summer, sitting as an adult member of the city's Youth Commission and recurring commentary at local public meetings.

Her perspective as a parent with kids in school will be important, but perhaps more so will be her input as a longtime educator with extensive experience in e-learning. Remote instruction will certainly be part of PUSD education for this year amid the pandemic, but quite possibly for semesters and years ahead as families prioritize student safety and learning in new ways. As an engaged parent informed on e-education development, Mokashi will prove invaluable to the board for the next term.

Challenger Wang, also a newcomer to PUSD elections, will bring another vital representative voice to the Board of Trustees as an immigrant parent with two children in the schools who has been working in the hi-tech industry for more than 20 years. Locally, he's gained critical experience volunteering on PUSD's Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee and the Superintendent's Budget Advisory Council.

His knowledge of technology, PUSD finances and diverse educational needs will be critical attributes as district leadership work to balance conflicting priorities during the pandemic and in the likely tough times to follow fiscally. Wang's commitment to data-driven decision-making while always keeping the big picture in view will go a long way toward maintaining PUSD's strong record of academic success.

Incumbent Jamie Yee is seeking a fourth straight term on the board, and although she has good experience and institutional knowledge, her underwhelming performance at our forum reminded us that fostering new perspectives is necessary for good governance -- and PUSD should strongly consider term limits capping service at 12 years.

We commend Yee for serving three terms, including helping the district navigate a truly difficult time of administrative instability before Superintendent David Haglund's hiring in June 2017, but we also remember she was part of a board whose decisions led to that precarious period. With stability finally re-secured in the superintendent's office, it's time for some turnover of ideas and leadership on the board in favor of other qualified, eager candidates.

The final candidate, challenger Mary Jo Carreon, offers informed views of student and classroom needs as a parent and recently retired teacher from Alisal Elementary School. She also has experience with committee work in PUSD on topics like textbook adoption, the district calendar and school reopening.

It is important to have an educator's perspective on the board, but we'd prefer to see one without recent membership in the district's main labor group -- though Carreon is not a current member of the Association of Pleasanton Teachers since her retirement last year. And more importantly, we had hoped to see Carreon lay out a more comprehensive platform with specific objectives and actions during her forum appearance and in her public campaigning.

Vote Steve Maher, Kelly Mokashi and Chong Wang for Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Editor's note: The Pleasanton Weekly editorial board reached its decisions based on the candidates' performances at the Weekly's online forum, email interviews on endorsements, and our review of past reporting and research.

Comments

Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 1, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2020 at 9:29 pm
22 people like this

I am in agreement that Jamie Yee needs to be termed out by the property tax paying Pleasanton residential voters.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 1, 2020 at 10:01 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2020 at 10:01 pm
11 people like this

As the debate about the Donlon extension comes up on October 8, will they give back/not bond that $35MM as promised?


Also a mom of 3
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:56 am
Also a mom of 3, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:56 am
19 people like this

Editors- you got it right. I read her webpage and Kelly Mokashi has 10 years of e-learning experience and the school district needs her in office. She has 2 masters degrees in education, fresh ideas and she is a young mom of 3 kids in our school district. From day one she stepped up and got involved with our schools and scouts. I am voting for ONE strong candidate - I am voting Kelly Mokashi for Pleasanton's school district.


PUSD Parent
Registered user
Mohr Park
on Oct 10, 2020 at 5:07 pm
PUSD Parent, Mohr Park
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2020 at 5:07 pm
5 people like this

We need fresh voice with solid experience that will lead PUSD navigating this challenging time. Appreciative of newcomers to Pleasanton, such as Ms Mokashi and Mr Wang, and your willingness and dedication to serve. Our schools and students deserve much improved technology platform and we need to do so in a cost-effective manner. Mr. Wang is the right candidate for this board. You have my vote!


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.