Ashley Drain, the wife and mother who ended school board trustee Manuel Medeiros’s 16 years of elected service in the November elections, has plenty of plans as the representative of Area 2.
“People voted for me for a reason. I won’t disappoint,” said the mother of three young children and graduate of East Union High School in a post-election interview.
The self-employed Drain said her “primary focus” as a school board member will be “emotional development for our students.”
She explains why. “The depression rates among teens are ridiculous and the primary cause of many issues ranging from obesity and addiction to suicide, sex and behavioral issues. I want to not only lighten up the ropes on these situations but use my resources to create universal solutions to all of our students. I am excited to get to it, too!”
It’s not surprising why her focus is fixed on the youth. She has worked with youth since her days as a Lancer student. But, as she explained during an interview before the elections, her “passion for teen-agers kicked in” when she was in college.
In the post-election interview, Drain also expanded on what she thought about the $159 million Measure G school bond which was approved by voters in the Manteca Unified School District area in the November elections, the district’s $30 million Going Digital project, and what she wants to bring to the board.
“As far as Measure G goes, I am still learning how this whole thing works. But what I want to do for myself is visit every single campus and find out what they actually need,” she said.
“Recently reading that millions were spent on tablets and schools needing new fire alarms blows my mind. I also hear that some of our classroom rugs are being held down with duct tape. That type of stuff is counter-productive to my primary focus. I can’t ask these parents, teachers, and students to trust me with my programs – if I can’t bring the physical solutions fast. So I will do whatever I can to form a solid relationship with my fellow board members to make this process move as positive, as fast, and as fair as possible. No pushing necessary.”
She also promises to do “something unheard of and unseen” in the dynamics between students, teachers, their families, and the school board. What she is planning to do will show that the “old way” does not work anymore, she said confidently.
“I want to get more of the community involved with the board and even local politics. I want to develop a real community bond. Something unheard of and unseen between the students, their families, the board, and the teachers. There is such a hostility present that needs to be guided out immediately,” she explained.
“There is too much resistance and much opportunity for massive amounts of educational growth in our district. As our schools beautifully transform and our students evolve into emotionally equipped young people, this ‘bond’ I speak of will be formed. The old way doesn’t work. This will work. By the way, this only sounds crazy to those who believe in limits – therefore supporting negativity.”
Now that the school bond has been approved by the voters, “let’s make the most creative, absolutely amazing, downright awesome, forward-thinking, leading-edge use of the money, shall we? No limits. Just inspired action,” said Drain who confessed that she won without putting up a single campaign sign, without campaigning door-to-door – “I don’t have money for that stuff,” she said.
She firmly believes that she won the election because the people who “know my name know what I stand for and the diversity I will bring.”
As for those who did not know her and still voted for her, she simply said that they “just wanted change.”