The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees appointed Barney Gordon to serve as its new new trustee Tuesday evening, replacing Trustee Grady Welch who resigned midway through his term in early July.
Gordon, who serves as the Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission in Turlock, as well as the President of the Turlock Education Foundation, said that his immense education experience would help him make decisions for TUSD. Gordon has worked with TUSD on the Budget Advisory Board, as an instructor at Modesto Junior College, as a member of the U.S. Navy, and today works at California State University, Stanislaus with technology and directing client services.
“I do have a passion for public education, it is a great equalizer in the world and can solve the root cause of many of the problems we may face in the future,” said Gordon. “With Common Core Standards being implemented, technology is a huge component, and one that the board has made a big priority…That’s what I do as a professional, so that’s what I think I can bring to the district as far as expertise and proper guidance as a trustee.”
Gordon was chosen from four candidates interviewed Tuesday evening – Llewellyn Boyle, Deborah Martin, Gordon and Marsha Memmott. The TUSD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Gordon, but only after a motion by Trustee Harinder Grewal to appoint Boyle failed.
All four candidates were more than qualified for the post, boardmembers said.
“I think everyone that is up here always has the best interest of our students in mind,” said Trustee Frank Lima. “I really appreciate and know that any one of you is qualified to serve, and would be a great addition to our board.”
The Board of Trustees began accepting applications in July, after Welch resigned midway through his term due to extenuating circumstances. His replacement, Gordon, will serve on the Board of Trustees until November 2015, when a regular election process will take place.
“I’m really prideful in our community to see that there are people willing to step up to do this,” said Trustee Tami Muniz.
The candidates, seated at a table before the Board of Trustees, were asked to respond to a series of four questions, alternating who responded first each time.
Candidates were first asked to briefly describe their professional and personal background, after which they were asked to explain why they were prompted to apply for the position.
“I sincerely believe in the mission of public education,” said Boyle, who currently serves on the Arts Commission in Turlock, and has been a Turlock resident for 41 years. Boyle has myriad experience in education, including teaching in Patterson for 12 years, working with special education students, and working at the Merced Office of Education. “Public education is one of the fundamental building blocks of our society. We’ll do well if public education does well.”
Martin, who has lived in Turlock for three years, said that she saw the position as an opportunity to get involved with the community even though she has only lived here for a few years.
“I was sizing up how I want to be involved,” said Martin, who worked with Pacific Gas & Electric for 12 years in Oregon. “I have always been involved in the communities that I live in, and I love this community.”
The Board of Trustees also asked the candidates to identify an accomplishment that has given them the most satisfaction, and how they believe they can personally help the district meet what they see as needs within TUSD.
“I’ve been very involved as a teacher, and served on many committees,” said Memmott, who taught at TUSD for 30 years before retiring. Memmott also helped start the GATE Program at Turlock Jr. High School, and served on various state textbook adoption committees for K-12. She was also very involved with the teachers union in Turlock, having served as President in prior years. “I helped do some things that involved the school board, and I got to see that process in action. I really feel like I know what the job is from my point of view, and now I’d like to be on the other side because you make a difference in this community.”