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Mom, daughter serving on two school boards
Amy Bavaro, her husband Lance, and their two children Emily who attends El Portal Middle School, and John who is a second grader at Van Allen School. - photo by Photo Contributed

Like mother, like daughter. It’s a trite statement that’s become so stale due to overuse. But it’s the perfect description for Janet Dyk of Manteca and her only daughter, Amy Bavaro, of Escalon.

After a hard campaign in November, Bavaro won over two other candidates for one of the two vacant seats on the Escalon Unified School District Board of Trustees. It was a historic election for the school district. It was the first time since 1986 that an election was held to fill a vacancy on the board. Previous vacancies did not go through an election process because each time, no one challenged the candidates. Bavaro was installed in December in ceremonies held just before the board’s December meeting.

She followed right in the footsteps of her mother who was installed in June 2012 as a member of the San Joaquin County Office of Education Board of Trustees. But unlike Bavaro, the road that led Dyk to the board room at the Arch Road county office did not happen by ballot. She did not have to do any campaigning for any election. She was automatically appointed for lack of other candidates vying for the post.

 Bavaro is neither shy nor reluctant to admit that her mother inspired her to get involved in the school district, and in the community of Escalon where she and husband Lance and their two young children live. Her husband’s family goes back several generations in the Escalon area. As for the neophyte school board official, her own roots run deep in rural south Manteca, specifically in the tight-knit dairy farming community. She attended Nile Garden Elementary and graduated from Manteca High in 1994.

“I always grew up with my mom very involved in our school (at Nile Garden). Then she got really involved in the school board in Manteca, so I always had that (interest),” Bavaro explained.

She also pointed out that these days, with her son in second grade at Van Allen School and her daughter in junior high – sixth grade – at El Portal School, she also now finds herself as a Community Club leader at Van Allen, while being in charge of the 4-H program, just as her own mother was during her own time.

“My mother did the same thing when I was a young girl,” said Bavaro, who majored in accounting at Modesto Junior College where she received her Associate in Arts degree. She is a bookkeeper for different area businesses while doing the books for the family business, Vito Bavaro Construction. Her husband is a general contractor.

Her husband fully supported her foray into the election process, Bavaro said. “He also went door-to-door during the campaign. He grew up in the area – he was the fourth generation in his family to attend Escalon schools – so he knew a lot of people in the area; Escalon is a small community. We also did a lot of knocking on doors.”

Unlike the Manteca school district where Board of Trustees represent specific district areas but are voted into office by the voters at large, only voters in a specific area can vote for the person who will represent them on the board. In the Van Allen area represented by Bavaro, there are “a little over 1,500; I won with 433 votes,” she said.

The close bond between mother and daughter is such that even now, they still help each other in their respective ventures, professional and otherwise.

“Right now, we’re talking AgVenture,” said Bavaro who is helping her mother at the latest AgVenture field trip for third graders at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.

Even when she was in the thick of campaigning in November, she still found time to lend her mother a hand at the AgVenture event hosted by the Manteca Unified’s School Farm.

The Bavaro is a busy household, with the children involved in sports including soccer, swimming, baseball and softball, and 4-H for the daughter.

“We’re very busy around here. We have 13 pets – chickens, ducks, a horse, dog, and fish. We live out in the country; they’re country kids and they do chores every day. My kids have a hard time finding time to watch TV,” Bavaro said with a laugh.

While Bavaro readily admits that her mother is her  inspiration, Dyk said that as far as her daughter’s quest to be on the Escalon school district board is concerned, “she did it all her own. This is all her kudos. I had nothing to do with it.”

But, said Dyk, “I encouraged her.”

Her daughter has been going to school board meetings for a while, and people have been encouraging her to run for the vacant post. With her kids being older, and with her knowledge of “how the school system works, especially the classroom and curriculum,” she decided to take on the challenge, Dyk said.

“She had the pulse of the district already, but she just wanted to be even more involved and make a difference,” added Dyk who, with husband Daryl, are also the parents of two sons – Daryl John, a Manteca dairy farmer who is married to Heather, a Linden High ag teacher and owner of Farmington Flowers; and Ryan who oversees three dairies including the John A. Machado Dairy in south Manteca, and is married to the former Zeta Meneses. All together, Dyk and husband Daryl have five grandchildren.

Their common experience of serving on a school board has had its rewards for both mother and daughter. In November, for example, after the elections, Bavaro said, “We went to the school board conference together in San Francisco for four days. So that was fun.”

But the similarity ends there. “Hers is a lot different,” Bavaro said of the issues that her mother deals with as a member of the county board of education. “Hers is mostly expulsion (issues),” Bavaro said.

“She does different things, but she helps me out, such as when I have questions on policies. She understands everything. She’s my mentor when it comes to school board and everything,” she said.