Kathy Howe — citing the need to step up communication between the school district and the community it serves — kicked off her election campaign for Manteca Unified District 2 seat on Sunday.
“The first step toward making our schools better is to improve communication throughout the district,” Howe said. “I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students, and the community. The board must seek input from all groups and weigh all the facts before making a decision. A board member must be accessible and willing to collaborate with all members of the community.”
In attendance were San Joaquin County Supervisor Moses Zapien, fellow board member Stephen Schuler and Manteca Planning Commission member and council candidate Gary Singh. All spoke on her behalf and lent Howe their endorsement.
Howe was appointed in October to the vacancy created by the resignation of Ashley Drain. Whoever wins the election Nov. 8 will serve in the District 2 seat for two more years until November 2018 when Drain’s four-year term would have needed.
This marks the first Manteca Unified board election where voting is by trustee districts and not the school district as a whole.
District 2 encompasses the City of Manteca north of Lathrop Road as well as Lathrop north of Lathrop Road and west of Interstate 5 north of the developed areas in Modssale Crossing all the way to the river. It takes in part of Weston Ranch west of Weston Ranch High, French Camp and rural North Manteca with the area east of Highway 99 starting with Northland Road and its southern boundary and Austin Road on the east.
Howe retired as a Manteca Unified teacher three years ago after teaching 35 years at Neil Hafley and New Haven schools. Her two daughters attended Neil Hafley and Eats Union High. Husband Steve is a retired school counselor. Both Howe and her husband attended local schools and graduated from Manteca High. Her mother Lora Nolan Copeland lived in Lathrop and attended Manteca high in the 1940s.
“Education takes place in the classroom,” Howe told the gathering of supporters Sunday. “ The school board’s efforts must focus on enhancing and enriching what goes on there. I believe that we have outstanding teachers and staff working with our children. However, the entire state of California is facing a teacher shortage. Every district is competing for the same teachers. As the shortage of qualified teachers grows, we must have a plan that attracts and retains the best teachers to MUSD.
Howe has visited all 27 schools in the district since her appointment. She has met with principals as well as toured campuses. Howe has also talked with staff, parents and students.
“Communication is key to representing all of the communities in the district,” she noted in May.
“As a board member, I want to know what you think and what your concerns are,” Howe said. “This is why I reach out to the community. I visit the schools, attend community events, meet with concerned parents or teachers, and I encourage contact both through emails and telephone calls.
“My efforts as a board member center on serving all the children in our school district: one child is no more important than another. I represent all of the communities in our district: Manteca, Lathrop, French Camp, and Weston Ranch. Every child, at every school, deserves the best education.”
You can learn more about Howe’s campaign by accessing “Vote Kathy Howe” on Facebook.