Elk Grove Unified School District long has been well managed. This is a feat, since, with more than 62,000 students, it is the fifth-largest public school system in the state.
During the last two years, however, turnover has divided the seven-member school board. Four board seats changed in 2012 after recession-induced cutbacks, and this year, two more veteran incumbents – Jeanette Amavisca and Priscilla Cox – are retiring.
With enrollment poised for another growth spurt and the new Common Core standard being rolled out, Elk Grove can’t afford to prolong board divisiveness or waste any more time on trustees who can’t hit the ground running.
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Three board seats will be filled in this election. Bobbie Singh-Allen, appointed to the board in 2012, is the sole candidate for the seat in which she is the incumbent. Beth Albiani, a former teacher, longtime district volunteer and daughter-in-law of a former board member, is running alone as Cox’s successor.
That leaves Amavisca’s seat, for which four candidates are vying. Given the need for a grownup who gets the district and can build bridges, we endorse Nick Webster, a district parent, teacher’s spouse and Elk Grove volunteer.
Involved in Elk Grove’s Regional Scholarship Foundation and the district’s junior football program, Webster works as a proposal manager for Molina Healthcare. Managing as part of a team is his job.
He’s not aligned with any board faction, and his promise to serve a full four-year term marks him as a leader who will be in for the long haul, not an aspiring politician in search of a launchpad.
Crystal Martinez-Alire, our second choice, graduated from the district. She has a doctorate in educational leadership, and as an education coordinator for the Miwok tribe’s welfare arm, she brings diversity. She is backed by the teachers union and members of both board factions. But at 34, she could use some seasoning, as could James Letoa, a 27-year-old district volunteer who is making his second run at a board seat.
Similarly, Tim Gorsulowsky, a business security consultant, shows ambition and promise. But his run for school board comes on the heels of a losing bid for Assembly, and he has lived in Elk Grove for only two years. We recommend Webster because of his knowledge of the issues and his commitment.