Emeryville School Board

The following endorsement and article was agreed to after the press deadline for our Voter Guide.

Brynnda Collins, Susan Donaldson, and Sarah Nguyen

There are five candidates for the Emeryville (Emery) Unified School District School Board of Trustees. Ken Bukowski and Katy Brown did not return our questionnaires. Brynnda Collins, Susan Donaldson, and Sarah Nguyen responded in thoughtful detail, each indicating a different strength, as each has had a very different past. Brynnda Collins is presently President of the board. Her daughter is an alumni of Emeryville High. Brynnda was an employee of the school district, served as president of the PTO, and has strong roots in the community. She is thoroughly familiar with the budget, use of additional sites owned by the district, and has made connections with the business community and non- profits to raise funds, all areas in which the other two candidates are poorly informed. Brynnda’s continuation on the board will assure that the areas of Brynnda’s expertise strengthen the board’s functioning, that the community that sends their children to the school has a representative they have known for many years, and institutional memory on the board is preserved. Brynnda has not, however, been a teacher.

Sarah Nguyen will bring a teacher’s perspective to the board. For example, Sarah stated unequivocally that “teacher evaluation should not be tied to test scores,” and presented several criterion which should be used in teacher evaluation, whereas Brynnda did not address this issue. Sarah writes of wanting to develop deeper relationships with teachers, whereas in answering the same question, Brynnda stresses “when it comes to certain issues, communications go through the superintendent.’ Brynnda’s knowledge of the politics is clear. Sarah approaches the question as a teacher.

Susan Donaldson provides yet another perspective. Her daughter has been in the Emeryville schools since pre-k through the fourth grade, Susan has been Vice President and secretary of the PTO, and she has volunteered in the school, thus having a close-up parental view of how the classrooms are functioning. In addition, she has an MBA in Sustainable Business. Her education in business will contribute to her readily mastering her areas of weakness with regard to budget, fund raising and relationships with the business community.

All three of these candidates expressed optimism with regard to the new superintendent and new principals this year, spoke of the great change they have already seen in the district, and how they also can contribute to these changes. We believe that these three will complement one another on the school board. All have been endorsed by three or all members of the present City Council, and all deserve our endorsement.