There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.
However, there’s always room for improvement. The current board of trustees, some observers claim, is passive and unanimously approves whatever Superintendent Barry Groves puts in front of them. Board critics say trustees rarely introduce their own items for consideration, rarely engage in lengthy discussion about items and ask few questions.
Perhaps that’s why there are seven candidates running for three open seats on the five-seat district board in the Nov. 4 election – this after years of no challengers and only one contested election since 1994. We have an excellent crop of candidates, including two incumbents. They are all passionate about the district’s responsibility to provide the best education possible for all students.
We think incumbent Debbie Torok and newcomers Fiona Walter and Sanjay Dave are the best candidates for the job.
Although she served on the board the past four years, we see Torok as part of the solution, not part of the problem. We liked her idea about reaching out to other districts and sharing information. She’s open to board evaluations from the community. A high-tech executive, Torok is qualified to offer input as the district integrates more technology in the classroom.
Walter won’t need a learning curve – she previously served eight years on the Mountain View-Whisman School District board. An aeronautics engineer and musician, she promotes the arts as a vital part of the educational experience. Make that STEAM rather than STEM. She supports AP class additions, but not at the expense of classes benefiting students in the middle tier. Her intelligence, drive and well-rounded perspective would improve the board.
Dave, also an engineer, has worked directly with students, starting a school chess club and teaching advanced math. He’s an astute observer who will stop to ask questions. He notes that with all the talk of narrowing the achievement gap, the numbers have leveled off in the district over the past three years and the board hasn’t inquired about it. We need caring, observant, student-minded trustees like Dave asking the important questions.
Torok, Walter and Dave offer the best opportunity to give the board of trustees a needed makeover come November.