Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I’m writing to express my thanks to the Manteca Unified School District Trustees for appointing me to replace (due to his resignation) Michael Seeyle of Area 3 until his term expires in November 2020. Mr. Seeyle has devoted many years of dedicated service to MUSD, championing fine arts and performing arts programs and often donating his monthly Trustee salary to support student and educational causes. All of us in Area 3, as well as MUSD as a whole, benefited from his commitment to this school district.
I also want to acknowledge my fellow candidates: Howard Holtsman, Eddie Torres, and Leo Bennett Cauchon. The selection process was a rigorous one, with candidates answering the Trustees’ challenging questions for over 2½ hours. I found it extremely nerve-racking, but was very impressed with the quality and thought that went into all the candidates’ responses. Area 3 is indeed fortunate that four individuals stepped up to offer their services to MUSD. Howard Holtsman spoke fondly of his work experience as a former MUSD administrator and volunteered to come out of retirement to give back to the district that was so good to him. Eddie Torres, an attorney and father of three students who attend Walter Woodward Elementary (and also has a 3 year old at home), despite an active law practice and involvement in his children’s many after-school activities, expressed a sincere eagerness to take on the responsibilities of a school board Trustee. Leo Bennett Cauchon, a special education teacher and community activist who has done extensive research on school issues in this and other communities he has lived in and is currently pursuing a law degree for future plans in Sacramento, is a passionate advocate for students and community involvement. Before their vote, the MUSD Trustees voiced how difficult their decision was going to be, noting the many positive attributes of all the candidates. Although I am fortunate to have ended up as the Trustees’ choice, I recognize, as they did publicly, the impressive qualifications of my fellow candidates. All have expressed a desire to run in the 2020 election, so Area 3 voters will have a wealth of options.
I would be completely remiss if I failed to thank my family (especially my husband, Randy) and friends for their encouragement and support. Their unwavering belief that I was up to the challenging task of being a school board Trustee helped steady my nerves and strengthen my resolve. I particularly owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mary Buchanan, Ed Fichtner, and Nancy Teicheira for the time and effort they put into their letters of recommendation for me. I found it awkward to ask people for a written endorsement, but they did not hesitate to respond in a warm and positive manner. I really appreciate that.
During my time on the board, I will try to serve Area 3 and the entire MUSD in a way that honors the commitment and achievements of my Area 3 predecessors. The next two years will be challenging ones for the school board, with 7 million needing to be cut from the budget. I will strive to act with honesty and respect for my fellow board members, administrators, teachers, classified staff, students, parents and community members during my tenure, continually keeping in mind that our focus should always be on what is in the best interest of the students of MUSD.