Internal appointments lead to new members on local school boards

10/28/2020

Although no school board seats are up for grabs this election, districts are reshuffling their boards as trustees’ terms expire at the end of the year. Some seats are being automatically filled by candidates who filed uncontested for the November election, while the rest of the seats are being filled by applicants who were interviewed and selected by existing boards. At the Shoreline Unified School District, trustees Ethan Minor, Avito Miranda and Vonda Ferndandes are leaving the seven-member board. Joining are three parents: Kylee Lang, an office manager; Thomas Tyson, a lawyer; and George Flores, a Spanish-speaker and a retired physician. At the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District, trustees Bob Demmerle and Steve Marcotte are leaving, replaced on the five-member board by Nicolette Niman, a parent and a rancher, and Arianne Dar, a trustee from 2003 to 2016 and the executive director of the Bolinas Community Land Trust. At the Nicasio School District, board president Michelle Rutledge is being replaced on the three-person board by parent Daniel Ager. The five-person board is staying the same at the Lagunitas School District. Four-year terms begin in December, except for Ms. Dar, who took her oath this week and will serve for two years because she is replacing Mr. Marcotte mid-term. Ms. Dar was selected against the wishes of trustee Jenny Pfeiffer, who advocated for a different applicant, Stinson Beach resident Pamela Lichtenwalner. It’s been years since a Stinson Beach resident has served on the board, and residents there don’t always feel embraced by the district, resulting in some families enrolling elsewhere, Ms. Pfeiffer said. The rest of the board voted for Ms. Dar because she can hit the ground running and because of her knowledge about local housing opportunities—a fitting background for a district that aims to purchase housing for staff. “She has the perfect crossover of experience and expertise, which is exactly what this board is looking for right now,” board president Nate Siedman said. Ms. Pfeiffer has requested that the board pursue expanding to seven members, with one spot reserved for a Stinson Beach resident.