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Contested race for elementary school district

Original post made on Aug 19, 2014

Up until the last minute, it looked like an uncontested race for the Mountain View Whisman School District. But on Aug. 8 -- the last day to file for candidacy -- two more candidates jumped into the race.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 12:57 PM

Comments (29)

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Posted by Marcin Romaszewicz
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I know Greg personally, and I can't recommend him strongly enough for school board. He keeps abreast of local issues more than anyone else that I've ever met, and is very active in various local committees, so he knows how our local bureaucracies work and how to work within their rules. I will definitely vote for him, since I have a little boy who will one day go to Mountain View public schools, and I think they'll be a whole lot better if Greg gets work his magic.


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Posted by Jessica
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Our school board needs members who can bring renewed energy and ideas to the issues that are currently on the school districts priorities. I'm personally happy to see that someone from the Whisman area is a candidate as this part of town is rapidly growing and needs a voice on the board. However, I know that Greg is a pragmatic business man and will focus his energies towards a common goal for the whole district and push for the best solutions for all. I support Greg's running for the board and encourage voters to do the same. Let's keep the school board on task and driven and let's vote in new members who will think outside the box.


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Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Greg will be an excellent school board member and brings a tremendous commitment to education and a very creative approach to using finite resources more effectively. Highly recommend Greg - the district is lucky to have someone so capable willing to serve.


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Posted by Jaime
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I was thrilled to learn that Greg will be running for a spot on the school board. We met last year during his efforts to get an elementary school opened in our area and I was thoroughly impressed with him from day one. His passion is contagious, his ideas and suggestions are concise & well thought out. I really feel like he is a good representative of the parents in this neighborhood. I'm sure he will be able to make some much-needed changes which will benefit our community. I look forward to supporting him with my vote and telling my friends & neighbors to do the same.


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Posted by Tamara
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I am pleased to see Mr. Coladonato enter the race for the MVWSD school board. Greg is a talented candidate who can bring new ideas to the table, especially in the equitable and appropriate use of Measure G funds on facilities. The MVWSD will be encountering numerous challenges in the coming years, as housing developments crop up throughout the city, especially in the Whisman area where 2 schools are currently rented for profit and where the vast majority of approved new housing developments will be constructed. Improved infrastructure and reopening of schools is inevitable. We need to ensure our children get the best education possible, and if that means offering higher salaries for the most talented teachers, how can we say no? Greg is a talented, educated businessman and ardent supporter of progressive and emerging education approaches. I support Greg Coladonato and look forward to seeing how his vision for our schools plays out, if he's elected.


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Posted by Tamara
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I am pleased to see Mr. Coladonato enter the race for the MVWSD school board. Greg is a talented candidate who can bring new ideas to the table, especially in the equitable and appropriate use of Measure G funds on facilities. The MVWSD will be encountering numerous challenges in the coming years, as housing developments crop up throughout the city, especially in the Whisman area where 2 schools are currently rented for profit and where the vast majority of approved new housing developments will be constructed. Improved infrastructure and reopening of schools is inevitable. We need to ensure our children get the best education possible, and if that means offering higher salaries for the most talented teachers, how can we say no? Greg is a talented, educated businessman and ardent supporter of progressive and emerging education approaches. I support Greg Coladonato and look forward to seeing how his vision for our schools plays out, if he's elected.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Robert is a registered user.

I have known Greg for several years and I am delighted that he has chosen to run for School Board. At this moment in time, we could not ask for a more apt candidate. Adding to the previous comments, Greg has an MBA from Wharton with a specialty area of Analytical Methods for Management. He placed in the top 1% of his class.
This is the kind of analytical mind we need on our school board to fully understand and navigate the labyrinth of issues that come with the spending of our Measure G bond money.
With a board not known for collegiality, I have watched Greg work harmoniously with its members and the District Superintendent. Building trust and relationships is a hallmark of of Greg's working style.
Greg is an involved and active parent in our community, and will be a great asset to the district as a Trustee.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by More info please
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Dear Voice,

Again, please highlight all candidates running, not just the ones with the most name recognition. That's not really fair.

Also, I know Greg is popular with the Whisman crowd as that's his neighborhood and he has been fighting to get a school there, but I would be interested to hear what plans he has for all of Mountain View, not just the Whisman area. So far he seems very focused on helping his own but what are his plans for the rest of us and the other schools, especially those that need more help. I watched his presentation to the school board and in very subtle ways he came across as very biased towards his own neighborhood. I'll keep an open mind, but I need to hear more. School board needs to (unbiasedly) represent all in MV, not just their own neighborhood.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Robert is a registered user.

@ More info please

I fully agree that all candidates should get equal coverage in the Voice, but not all candidates will receive equal commentary. I too attended the board meeting you mentioned and clearly heard Greg advocate for an entire quarter of our district who have no neighborhood school. I am certain that when Greg is on the board, he will advocate for what is best for the district, and from my perspective, having a walkable neighborhood school in the north-east quadrant is a good beginning.


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Posted by Supporter
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Mr. Coladonato has exhibited sincere and remarkable comprehension of the issues that matter the most and affect each of our families, and seeks solutions in a nonpartisan, nonbiased way that fosters colloquial decision-making. However, I do think his skills and talents are better suited at the City Council where he can help both the school district and council address these pressing matters.

A Vote For Mr. Coladonato Is A Step In The Right Direction!


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Posted by Christina
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I first met Greg Coladonato when we worked together to present the case for a new elementary school to the current school board. In working with Greg, I was struck by his ability to work out minutiae while keeping the big picture in mind and to think about how to get what he wanted in a way that would also benefit others. Greg is a real problem-solver who will work hard to make all Mountain View public schools the best they can be.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Greg will be a great addition to the school board and he will fight for the good of *all* the school children in the MVW district. He is a positive and creative thinker willing to entertain new ideas for the improvement of education in the district. Greg is energetic and as chairman of the Measure G Oversight Committee has become very conversant with the issues facing the district.

I must address the accusation of Greg being "biased". I remember after Slater was closed and the members of the Slater community who pleaded for it to be kept open were accused of being selfish and not thinking about the entire school district. Yet none of them asked for another school to be closed but that they all be kept open. It was the school board that then suggested that Castro might be closed instead even though they must have known that was not going to happen. Given that the school district projections of falling enrollment that were used to justify closing a school have proven to be dramatically wrong it appears that the Slater community was right. And it is beyond ludicrous to suggest that no one else would have objected if *their* school had been chosen for closure. Greg did not engage in "special pleading" for reopening Slater or Whisman but marshaled an impressive, fact-based argument that this would be the best course of action for the district. In fact most of the board now seems to agree even though it includes individuals involved in closing Slater in the first place.


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Posted by More info please
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:51 am

Interesting feedback. It sounds like most of you only have experience working with Greg on this one issue - adding a school to the Whisman neighborhood (and most of you are coming from Whisman). I agree a school there does make sense, if funds are available to support.

However, we feed to what is probably the school facing the most challenges right now, and a couple other schools face similar challenges. I'm interested to hear Greg's ideas for changing that. I doubt any of you can answer that, but would love to hear what Greg and the other candidates have to say about making much needed improvements to some of our existing schools.

I understand the desire for some to have a walkable school in your neighborhood, but understand that some of us have walkable schools that we'd rather not use and instead would rather drive our kids to a different school in the district to get a better education (which is also not an option available to us.) In short, I and at least some of my neighbors would gladly trade places with you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fan of Coladonato
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 20, 2014 at 10:13 am


A Vote For Mr. Coladonato Is A Step In The Right Direction!

Greg is also on the HRC commission, fighting for human rights for everyone. He is clearly the most qualified candidate and will make a fine addition to the school board. He is also a registered Democrat.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Not a Fan
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

Mr. Coladonato has one thing he wants - a school in the Whisman area. The school district has already said they will open a school in that neighborhood in the next few years.

A school board member needs to care about the needs of all students in the district - not just one neighborhood.


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Posted by Maria
a resident of Slater
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I have known Greg Coladonato for years and witnessed him operate in many different capacities. I am continually impressed by his ability to distill out pressing priorities from the white noise and focus on them. He excels at finding common ground among stakeholders with differing agendas and facilitating progress forward. I believe Greg's ability to see others' perspectives will help the school board operate more smoothly and efficiently, enabling the progress and improvements that our kids deserve.

I have had the opportunity to have numerous discussions with Greg on how the educational experience and results can be improved for our students. Even in a well-performing district like MVWSD the status quo is clearly not cutting it at all of our schools. Greg is open to exploring how to better address the needs of all students, whether they are ESL or GATE/gifted.


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Posted by Peggy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I had the pleasure of meeting Greg last year. In addition to his involvement with the Measure G committee, Stevenson School and founder of the Slater Neighborhood Association, he and his wife also organize Repair Café at Hacker Dojo. Repair Café is great place to fix items instead of throwing them in the landfill.

My point in bringing this up is I don't know where "Not a Fan" and "More Info Please" get this idea that he will service only a small part of MV from an academic perspective. Please take the time to ask and listen to his platform and ideas. Greg is a thorough visionary with a background in business admin, physics and real estate. You focus on only one aspect of his community involvement, please do research and realize there is much more that he will offer to all students and parents.

I believe it is too nascent and unfair to make assumptions about candidates without giving them the opportunity to address their visions and objectives for the entire school district.

I also wonder why "Not a Fan" and "More Info Please" don't want to use their first name like most of us.


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Posted by More info please
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Hi Peggy,

You say, "Please take the time to ask and listen to his platform and ideas." I think that's exactly what I'm trying to do (hence the name, more info please!) You say I should do more research but, where? How? Does Greg have a web page up? Anywhere that people like me who have concerns can learn more about his ideas for the whole district? As I mentioned, I only know of him from the presentation, and I'm sorry, but I did not get a good feeling. It's absolutely fair for me to say that. I also said in my post that I would keep an open mind and hear his platform.

I assume Greg and supporters are reading this and you should actually be thankful I'm posting my concerns. I'm actually helping you to understand how those outside of Whisman neighborhood may feel. This is valuable feedback that Greg and team can use to address concerns the broader community may have going forward. Go ahead, help us understand how you plan to help all MV schools. I don't have that info yet and I will need it for all candidates before I vote.

Also, I think it's pretty clear why we don't want to use our first names. This is a small community and at least on this thread we're in the minority view on a popular candidate. I'm sorry but I don't trust everyone to respect my views and I fear retaliation in social circles for myself and for my kids. That is a legitimate concern. Many people post anonymously on these boards. I like that people are able to say what they really think without fear of retaliation. That's why the Voice allows for anonymous comments in the first place. I'm actually not sure why it bothers you, or what point you were trying to make by even mentioning it.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Also Not a Fan
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:26 pm

In June, Mr. Coladonto ran for state assembly and lost in the primary. Now two months later, he suddenly he wants to be a school board member instead? Make up your mind! Being a school board member takes commitment to what is best for the students of the district. They shouldn't be a consolation prize to someone who didn't make it through the primary for another position.


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Posted by Simon
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 22, 2014 at 12:18 am

Greg's website: Web Link

Not much info, but there it is.


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Posted by now I see a little
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:36 am

@Simon, thanks for the link - which seem more a "stub" and a placeholder for future information. Ellen Wheeler, also a MVWSD candidate, has her site up. With some information. She was the first interviewed by MV Voice and one of the first to pull election papers and file.
I cannot find any web sites at all (yet) for Phil Palmer and Hafsa Mirza, the other 2 candidates. I expect, in the next week or so, that these 3 candidates will have something more substantial. And that SmartVoter.com will start to have their information in the weeks after that.


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Posted by jason l
a resident of Slater
on Aug 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I've met Greg around the neighborhood and I really admire his energy and desire to create meaningful good for the neighborhood and the community at large. I've read some other comments, and I feel the accusation of him pursuing a seat on the school board as a "consolation prize" is undeserved. Greg is active in community outreach, particularly as it relates to educating our kids. Let's see Greg's choice to run for School Board as a qualified, driven member of our community wanting to contribute in a positive way


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Posted by Julie
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I am glad to see Greg enter the race for the school board! He cares deeply about the democratic process, transparency, and communication He worked to record district meetings so people could listen to the proceedings at another time. He has excellent listening skills and discernment to reach points of agreement. He would be an excellent addition on the MVWSD Board of Trustees!


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Posted by Think Again
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 19, 2014 at 7:30 am


I agree with "Not a Fan" and "More Info Please". Falling to win an office at the state level, just weeks prior to running for the school board if trustees does leave the impression that Mr. Coladonto is interested in holding ANY public office- instead of displaying a genuin interest in serving at the local school level.

I'd rather puy my trust into someone who is focused on serving the Mountain View families, instead of Mr. Calodomto, who seemingly chose to run as a school board member as a second choice with his last-minute submission.

Being a board member of the MVWSD should not be used as a stepping stone opportunity for another, higher, public position.

It's an opportunity to actually listen to Mountain View families and clean up the current disfuntionality, made apparent in the last two board meetings.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Sep 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

Robert is a registered user.

@ Think Again
Where have you been for the last year and a half? Mr. Coladonato has been practically leading the charge in this quadrant of MV as a neighborhood leader and education champion for our elementary students. It is possible to help schools on the state level, and on the local level, which he is attempting to do. Good people often lose elections, but that shouldn't ever deter them from being persistent to achieving their goal. The focus on education has not changed, only the venue.


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Posted by MVWSD mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 9:33 am

In any case, it's TIME FOR SOME NEW FACES on the board of trustees. Out with the old rubber-stampers and in with new trustees who will bring different perspectives and ideas.


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Posted by @ MVWSD mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Be careful what you wish for when you day you want new faces. That's what some people said in the last election and they voted for Steven Nelson. Now the board can't get anything done because he can't act like an adult during the meetings.


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Posted by MV Mama
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

I also know Greg, and have worked with him directly on school related things. That is the reason I will NOT vote for him. I find him to be extremely difficult to work with and I know I am not the only one.


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Posted by now I see a little
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Didn't Coladanato say or post somewhere that he was elected by parents to be a VP of one of their parent organizations (Stevenson School)? Can someone check that out? Was it true? Yo Mama - I guess you must have been one of the parents that did not vote for him there? I wonder if the other parent/candidate running, will get 100% support from the parents at Huff and Graham (which I think are her kids schools).


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