Urvi Shah, a longtime Pleasanton resident and mother of two, is competing for the open Area 2 seat on the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees this November.
Shah said in her website that raising her kids within the district and having actively volunteered in various community projects, workshops and events throughout that time has given her a deeper understanding of concerns and challenges presented by parents and students.
"As a school board member, I hope to bring diversity to the school board. I want to help bridge the gap between Pleasanton's diverse cultural groups and represent their various ideas as decisions are made," Shah said in a news release.
"Families in PUSD come from very different social upbringings and different education systems," she added. "Since I know these unique sets of challenges, I can offer to be the liaison between the school board and parents, being that bridge that will provide an understanding of the concerns and interests of parents and the school district to each other."
Shah is poised to be up against two other newcomers on the Nov. 8 ballot for Area 2: Laurie Walker, who is listed on the county election website as an office manager and parent, and Christine Lutz, who is listed as a human resources recruiter -- however, Lutz, who qualified for the ballot, told the Weekly this week that she plans to withdraw from the race.
The Area 2 seat will represent the areas surrounding Hart Middle School and Fairlands Elementary -- two out of the three Pleasanton schools where Shah's two kids attended. This will be the first election for PUSD in a district-based format that the board approved in March
Shah said she has also learned a lot about mental health at some of the community workshops she volunteered with locally, which she said could help to implement school district plans that improve students' quality of life and well-being.
"I plan to enhance PUSD for the future generation," Shah said. "My goals are to increase accountability and transparency in fiscal decisions, retain quality educators, and reduce student overflow in our elementary schools."
She added that her experience as a local business owner also gives her the ability to understand the complexities of the district's finances, which she will use to decrease the budget deficit. Shah used to run a licensed daycare for five years but is now transitioning to real estate.
"As the Area 2 trustee, I promise every dollar spent will be towards our children's education," Shah said. "I see the great impact my kids' teachers had on their lives. If we can retain our staff, by understanding the needs of our teachers and staff members, we can promote and help in preserving and improving the quality of the school system, ensuring we provide the right tools for our students to build their lives."
Some of her other focuses will be increasing the amount of STEM and art classes that are being offered, reducing class sizes and sending kids to their neighborhood schools.
"I believe in balancing all areas of human life," Shah said. "A true leader works towards unity, growth, and betterment of the whole society, which I can promise will be my focus as a school board member."
For more information on Shah's candidacy, visit her campaign website at shah4schoolboard.com.