With two at-large seats on the ballot for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, Nov. 3 offers the opportunity for voters to welcome an influx of inspired new ideas and bring a necessary change in elected leadership to the school board.
Attributes embodied best by newcomers Yanira Guzmán and Asa Strout.
Motivated to run to address education inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and remote learning, Guzmán will provide important perspective on the LVJUSD board as a former Spanish language teacher whose two children are in the dual immersion program at Junction. When combined with her time on the Measure M Citizens' Oversight Committee, that experience will contribute to her achieving campaign goals of communication, access, collaboration and representation.
Strout has impressed with a campaign focusing on safety, equity, technology and transparency to help students and schools thrive not only amid at-home learning but upon the return to campus as well. He also has a track record of collaborative advocacy through his efforts with Unify Livermore and co-chairing the winning Yes on P campaign in favor of the city's downtown hotel development plan.
Challenger Kristie Wang is also a solid candidate, offering great experience with public policy, volunteering to support local schools and community impact with helping lead the anti-vaping push in Livermore. Though Wang too has cogent campaign priorities, we give the edge to opponents Guzmán and Strout based on their explicit education and technology backgrounds, respectively, to guide the district during and after the pandemic.
Incumbent Chuck Rogge has underwhelmed this fall, including his performance at the PCIC forum and stagnant messaging this campaign season. We wanted to see more verve from the incumbent in a deep field. We recognize and appreciate Rogge's three terms of service, but other candidates this year are offering more fresh, actionable ideas to help the district and students advance into the future -- and as we've written elsewhere this election season, we encourage LVJUSD to look at the possibility of term limits capping at 12 years.
We commend challenger Kandiss Hewing for acting on her desire to become more involved in the school district that educated her and is now serving her children, but we hoped to see a more developed campaign laying out a depth of priorities and action plans. We'd like to see her join a district-level committee to share her perspective and gain good experience.
Vote Yanira Guzmán and Asa Strout for LVJUSD Board of Education.
Editor's note: The Pleasanton Weekly editorial board reached its decisions based on the performances at the PCIC candidate forum, email interviews on endorsements, and our review of past reporting and research.