This election offers Dublin Unified School District voters -- at least those in Trustee Areas 1 and 4, anyway -- the chance to return true leadership stability and a unifying spirit to the Board of Trustees.
Those candidates are Kristin Pelham in Area 1 and Michael Utsumi in Area 4.
The next board term, especially the upcoming year, must see the five trustees work together to navigate the pandemic, select the district's next permanent superintendent and bridge Dublin's east-west divide, among other important priorities.
Pelham's experience with the district and in the classroom are unmatched in the Area 1 campaign. She works as a special education teacher in the San Ramon Valley, and as a parent with two daughters in Dublin schools, she has served DUSD directly on the LCAP, Boundary and High School Naming committees. We see Pelham as a stabilizing force with vital experience needed to effectively support students and the entire district from the Area 1 seat.
The other newcomer on the Area 1 ballot, Dr. Dawn Nwamuo, prioritizes relevant goals in her campaign, including diversity and equity, health and safety, and leveraging technology. A parent and physician, Nwamuo has served in leadership roles within her medical organization but lacks the type of district-level experience we prefer from school board candidates. We'd like to see her add her perspective to a key DUSD committee to cultivate more institutional expertise.
Vote Kristin Pelham for DUSD Trustee Area 1.
With years of school volunteering experience on campuses and district-wide, including as a leader within the Dublin Partners in Education Foundation, challenger Utsumi has been prioritizing unity among his goals, especially in the wake of the discord that led to Dave Marken's abrupt resignation as superintendent. Not only do we see Utsumi as "a champion for all students" (as his campaign slogan states), but as a true advocate for the betterment of the whole district from the Area 4 seat as well.
Incumbent Gabi Blackman is again voicing pertinent campaign priorities centered around equitable access to education for all students, but we continue to be concerned about the detrimental division that has been compounded in recent months. When Blackman was seated after dominating a low-turnout special election in 2019, we hoped it would usher in a return to normalcy and continuity for DUSD. Instead, the instability inflamed in late spring culminating almost unimaginably in a surprising superintendent departure for the second year in a row.
Vote Michael Utsumi for DUSD Trustee Area 4.
And we hope Area 4 residents understand the importance of participating in this election, no matter which candidate they support. An embarrassingly meek 15.74% of voters made the time to cast a ballot in the special election that seated Blackman in June 2019 -- hardly a representative sample of the full electorate. We like to think Area 4 voters will engage in their responsibility and actually turn out this fall.
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.