For the first time since 2004, residents of the Mountain View Whisman school district will see a competitive race for three seats on the five-member board — a majority. With the retirement of Fiona Walter, Steve Olson and Ed Bailey, three seats will be held by newcomers. They will face significant challenges, such as making up for fading state support for education and deciding how to get the most out of the district's ambitious $198 million bond issue to upgrade campuses and buildings, which was approved by voters in June.
In this race, out of the five candidates, the Voice endorses Peter Darrah, Bill Lambert and Jim Pollart, all of whom will bring a wide range of new skills to the board.
Peter Darrah a longtime district volunteer
The Voice endorses Peter Darrah for one of the three open seats on the board. As a fluent Spanish-speaker, involved parent and computer engineer, Darrah has a lot to offer and in addition, his spouse is a kindergarten teacher at Landels, which will give him an "on the ground" perspective of how the district is operating.
Darrah's language skills will help him support the district's effort to involve more parents and the community at Castro School, which is a good step toward improving academic performance of all Hispanic students. We also like his commitment to help the district seek financial support from the local business community, similar to what Google is providing now.
We urge district residents to support Peter Darrah for Mountain View Whisman School Board.
Bill Lambert brings wide experience
With an impressive academic resume of his own (BA in biochemistry at Berkeley, Ph.D in chemical physics at Caltech and a JD at the University of New Hampshire) Bill Lambert has demonstrated his wide interest in education in general and the Mountain View Whisman School District in particular. As a representative of the League of Women Voters, Lambert has attended virtually every district board meeting for the last two years, which certainly gives him a feel for how the board operates and the issues they confront.
With his law degree, Lambert shifted his career from research scientist to become a patent attorney who helps Valley start-ups. As a resident of the Monte Loma neighborhood, he says he would work to get more Hispanic students interested in science, technology, engineering and math so they could find work in the technology industry. Since his daughter graduated college and moved to New York, Lambert has become more active in local schools. He has volunteered in the classroom and said he "has always wanted to be a teacher." He is involved in various community groups, including the League, Day Worker's Center and Leadership Mountain View.
Due to his varied experience and community spirit, the Voice endorses Bill Lambert for a seat on the Mountain View Whisman School Board.
Jim Pollart guided campaign for Shoreline funds
As a parent with one daughter at Bubb Elementary School and the other at Mountain View High, Jim Pollart has plenty of reason to have a high interest in education. He demonstrated that as the leader of a successful effort to convince the City Council to share part of the Shoreline Community tax revenue, which brought nearly $14 million to Mountain View Whisman and the Mountain View Los Altos High School districts three years ago. Pollart's intention is to renew or enhance the agreement when it lapses later this year.
Pollart said he will urge the district to step up its outreach to many other parts of the community, including the residents and the business community so that "we can harness these resources to benefit our kids." We believe Pollart will also be invaluable as the board works through the $198 million in Measure G funds to improve and upgrade the schools. As a civil engineer with a master's degree in business administration and extensive experience in the construction industry, Pollart will be a major asset on the board as plans are formulated to launch numerous building projects.
The Voice endorses Jim Pollart for a seat on the Mountain View Whisman School Board.