News

Ellen Wheeler honored for two decades on Whisman school board

Local elected officials turned out to praise Wheeler's leadership

Mountain View Whisman school board member Ellen Wheeler holds a commendation from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors honoring her two decades of public service. Courtesy Laura Blakely.

More than a dozen local leaders turned out on Thursday night, Dec. 8, to honor long-time Mountain View Whisman school board member Ellen Wheeler for her two decades of public service.

To mark Wheeler's retirement this month, the board passed a resolution in her honor and featured speakers who praised her service.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who himself started as a trustee in the Palo Alto Unified School District, told the board that he believes being a school board member is the toughest elected position and that Wheeler carried out the job with wisdom and enthusiasm.

"If there's good work being done, if there's a cause that's worthy to be supported, Ellen has been there," Simitian said. "I marvel at your ability to truly be a part of the community in that way."

Simitian presented Wheeler with an official proclamation. Other local elected officials also sent proclamations, including U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Josh Becker, state Assemblymember Marc Berman and the Mountain View City Council.

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Wheeler has served for nearly the entirety of the school district's history. When Wheeler was first elected in 2002, the Mountain View and Whisman school districts had recently joined forces to create a combined district.

Ellen Wheeler has served on the Mountain View Whisman School District's board since 2002. Courtesy Laura Blakely.

She has served through periods of controversy, including the closure of Slater Elementary School and the censure of fellow trustee Steven Nelson. Wheeler also sat on the board when three new elementary schools were opened: Stevenson, Mistral and Vargas.

She was involved in hiring five superintendents: Jim Negri, Eleanor Yick, Maurice Ghysels, Craig Goldman and current Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph.

Many who spoke on Thursday praised her not only for her work on the board, but for the mentorship that she provided to other elected officials.

Mountain View Mayor Lucas Ramirez said that he started his civic participation a decade ago "in no small part" because of Wheeler, who he said got him involved in the League of Women Voters.

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"I have tremendous appreciation. I would not be where I am without you," Ramirez said.

Wheeler has been a member of the League of Women Voters for 20 years and was the founder of the Los Altos Mountain View League of Women Voters Education Committee, according to the proclamation that the district passed. She also served for eight years with the Santa Clara County School Boards Association.

Wheeler announced this summer that she did not plan to run for reelection this November. Fellow trustee Devon Conley's term was also up this year. With only Conley and former trustee Bill Lambert filing to run, the race was uncontested and no election was held.

Conley and Lambert are set to be sworn in during an organizational meeting on Saturday, Dec. 10.

On Thursday, Lambert (who previously served from 2012-16) said that Wheeler had originally helped him get involved in the district by encouraging him to observe board meetings for the League of Women Voters.

"The community really should be very grateful for you getting people involved in the politics and governance in Mountain View," Lambert said.

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Zoe Morgan
 
Zoe Morgan covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly / PaloAltoOnline.com, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience as an education reporter in both California and Oregon. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Ellen Wheeler honored for two decades on Whisman school board

Local elected officials turned out to praise Wheeler's leadership

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Sun, Dec 11, 2022, 8:56 am

More than a dozen local leaders turned out on Thursday night, Dec. 8, to honor long-time Mountain View Whisman school board member Ellen Wheeler for her two decades of public service.

To mark Wheeler's retirement this month, the board passed a resolution in her honor and featured speakers who praised her service.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who himself started as a trustee in the Palo Alto Unified School District, told the board that he believes being a school board member is the toughest elected position and that Wheeler carried out the job with wisdom and enthusiasm.

"If there's good work being done, if there's a cause that's worthy to be supported, Ellen has been there," Simitian said. "I marvel at your ability to truly be a part of the community in that way."

Simitian presented Wheeler with an official proclamation. Other local elected officials also sent proclamations, including U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Josh Becker, state Assemblymember Marc Berman and the Mountain View City Council.

Wheeler has served for nearly the entirety of the school district's history. When Wheeler was first elected in 2002, the Mountain View and Whisman school districts had recently joined forces to create a combined district.

She has served through periods of controversy, including the closure of Slater Elementary School and the censure of fellow trustee Steven Nelson. Wheeler also sat on the board when three new elementary schools were opened: Stevenson, Mistral and Vargas.

She was involved in hiring five superintendents: Jim Negri, Eleanor Yick, Maurice Ghysels, Craig Goldman and current Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph.

Many who spoke on Thursday praised her not only for her work on the board, but for the mentorship that she provided to other elected officials.

Mountain View Mayor Lucas Ramirez said that he started his civic participation a decade ago "in no small part" because of Wheeler, who he said got him involved in the League of Women Voters.

"I have tremendous appreciation. I would not be where I am without you," Ramirez said.

Wheeler has been a member of the League of Women Voters for 20 years and was the founder of the Los Altos Mountain View League of Women Voters Education Committee, according to the proclamation that the district passed. She also served for eight years with the Santa Clara County School Boards Association.

Wheeler announced this summer that she did not plan to run for reelection this November. Fellow trustee Devon Conley's term was also up this year. With only Conley and former trustee Bill Lambert filing to run, the race was uncontested and no election was held.

Conley and Lambert are set to be sworn in during an organizational meeting on Saturday, Dec. 10.

On Thursday, Lambert (who previously served from 2012-16) said that Wheeler had originally helped him get involved in the district by encouraging him to observe board meetings for the League of Women Voters.

"The community really should be very grateful for you getting people involved in the politics and governance in Mountain View," Lambert said.

Comments

Laura Blakely
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 11, 2022 at 3:15 pm
Laura Blakely, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 11, 2022 at 3:15 pm

It was an honor and a pleasure to serve alongside and learn from Ellen Wheeler on the MVWSD Board. Twenty years of service--wow!!! Her experience, wisdom, calm demeanor, graciousness and analytical skills will be sorely missed. And thanks to the many local officials, community leaders and former superintendents and education leaders who turned out Thursday evening to show appreciation for Ellen. Wishing you all the best, Ellen!


Ellen Wheeler
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Dec 11, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Ellen Wheeler, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Dec 11, 2022 at 4:16 pm

Thank you, MV Voice and Zoe Morgan for this recognition. And thank you, Trustee Blakely, for adding on! Let's also raise a glass to the retiring school board members in MVLA. Debbie Torok served with distinction for 12 years on the MVLA board and Fiona Walter mixed it up by serving 8 years on the MVWSD board and then 8 more years on the MVLA board! Great jobs by both of them!


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