In its first contested election since 2008, the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees will see six candidates running for three open seats in the Nov. 4 election, including two of the three eligible incumbents. Incumbent Judy Hannemann declined to run again after serving 33 years on the board.
The Town Crier profiled new candidate Fiona Walter in the Aug. 6 issue.
The other five candidates provided brief descriptions of themselves below, with profiles to follow in weeks to come.
Joe Mitchner (incumbent)
Occupation: Financial management and oversight for commercial real estate properties.
Children in district: Twin sophomore daughters at Mountain View High.
Reason for running: “I’m really excited about the positive momentum in the district. We’re seeing rising academic achievement levels, a narrowing achievement gap, and in the past five years, we’ve introduced a significant number of new classes and programs, which meet the needs of students with a range of abilities and interests. I’d like to see the district strive for an even higher level.”
Debbie Torok (incumbent)
Occupation: Senior software engineer managing software integration and configuration control.
Children in district: None.
Reason for running: “My primary reason for running is that I want to see successful resolution of key issues that the board is facing, and I believe that I am now far enough up the learning curve to help make that happen after a first term. This is about developing an integrated strategy to deal with the complexities of the Local Control Accountability Plan while managing issues like Common Core transition, technology upgrades and the achievement gap.”
Occupation: Board member of a local company.
Children in district: A freshman at Mountain View High.
Reason for running: “My chief priority will be to help reduce the stress level of our local high school students. For example, we can eliminate forced zero periods so that more kids can get adequate sleep, create a real ‘dead period’ before finals so that students have time to study for them and focus more resources on lower-achieving kids who are not receiving sufficient support.”
Occupation: Director of Kids in Common, a child advocacy program.
Children in district: A senior at Los Altos High.
Reason for running: “The thing that prompted my candidacy is the closure of the Young Parents program. I felt very sad when this program ended. I feel that we need to grow programs that support our most vulnerable children. I am also interested in greater parent and student voice in decision-making in the district and I would like to see the district implement a 360-degree annual school climate evaluation that gathers input from staff, parents and students.”
Occupation: In-house counsel at Yahoo Inc.
Children in district: Two sons at Mountain View High.
Reason for running: “My desire to serve stems from having my sons in the district.”