Two candidates have submitted applications for a vacant seat on the Lagunitas School District Governing Board.
For Woodacre resident Jasper S. Thelin, a teacher at Sir Francis Drake High School for the past 12 years, the position seemed an ideal match. “It’s something that feels like a really natural fit for me because of my background and perspective in the community,” Thelin said. “I have grown up my whole life in the Valley and have children in two of the schools.”
If appointed to the board, Thelin, a Drake High School and University of California, Santa Cruz graduate boasting an extensive history of school and community involvement—having served as camp director, baseball coach, and freshmen orientation coordinator, among other positions—said he hopes to impart an emphasis on cooperation and teamwork.
“My strength,” he said, “is really the stuff that happens in the classroom and focusing on what’s good for kids.”
Meegan Lee Ochs-Potter, also of Woodacre, hopes to draw on her own background of local involvement and activism. A special events director of the ACLU of Southern California since 1992 and a LEAP board member the past three years, she has been fundraising for social justice causes for 25 years. She has also been diligently raising money for the Lagunitas School District the past several years, part of a deep commitment to the district that she says will continue regardless of whether or not she’s appointed to the board.
The mother of a second grader, Ochs-Potter has a clear sense of what she could contribute as a board appointee: “What I’d really like to do is encourage unity, equity and gratitude,” she said.
Amid a climate of budget cuts and difficult economic decisions, Ochs-Potter believes the district is best served by finding common ground that ultimately benefits all of its students. “I really want to build bridges,” she said. “I want to do work that will help people connect with each other and the community.”
Both candidates expressed gratitude at the positive tone the campaign has taken thus far, and they expect it to continue through the duration of the appointment process. “We both really love this community and feel an important part of it,” Ochs-Potter said. “I really love this district, and I know that [Thelin] does as well. It’s a pretty special place.”
“That’s the exciting aspect of campaigning,” Thelin added. “It’s a high road kind of thing.”
A non-binding public vote, intended to help inform the appointment decision of the board members, will be held Thursday, January 19 from 8:30 to 6 p.m. and Friday, January 20 from 7 to 4 p.m. at the Lagunitas School District lower campus office.