Retired utility director Deborah Martin is one of two candidates for the Turlock Unified School District's Area 2 Trustee seat. She will face incumbent Tami Harrill-Muniz in the Nov. 5 election.
The following information was submitted to TurlockCityNews.com by Martin.
How long have you lived in Turlock, and what is your age and occupation?
My husband and I moved to Turlock in the spring of 2010 when he was offered the CEO position at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. So, I have lived here a little over three years. I am 55 and recently retired as Director of Utility Operations for Avista Utilities. Previously I worked as an engineering supervisor for PG&E.
Do you have children in the TUSD, or have you in the past?
Yes, I currently have two children in third grade at Walnut Elementary School. They attended Julien Elementary from kindergarten through second grade. Both Julien and Walnut have been excellent experiences. My older daughter is graduating from college and did not attend TUSD schools.
Why are you running for the TUSD Board of Trustees?
I am running because I care about our children having a quality education that prepares them to reach their full potential. My business and leadership background has given me the experience to contribute to TUSD issues such as: managing large capital and operating budgets, strategic planning, contract negotiating, communicating and working collaboratively to achieve common goals. I want to use my experience and passion to expand on the successes and improve our Turlock schools.
What grade would you give TUSD for providing an overall quality education?
A solid B.
If not an A+, what do you feel can be done to help TUSD be the best that it can be?
Every organization has room for improvement. Fortunately, I think TUSD is doing very well, but we will always be able to improve on facilities, safety, curriculum choices, graduation rates, teacher training and professional development, test scores (or other measures of student achievement), technology applications and infrastructure, enrichment programs like music, arts, foreign language, cultural studies and more. A+ could be a goal, but it's the journey to get there that matters.
In your opinion, what are the biggest issue(s) facing TUSD?
Common Core State Standards for teaching is currently in a multi-year implementation plan. This new, collaboratively developed curriculum and evaluation system will dramatically change how and what our children will learn. This new teaching system will require a smooth and committed implementation to include focus on teacher professional development, technology investments, parent involvement and, of course, student engagement. Also, prudent financial management will always be a priority, especially as the budget allocation system is changing to a "Local Control Funding Formula." Although not yet finalized, TUSD should have more control on how funds are allocated to benefit students and schools with greater needs.