Question to Hayward trustee hopefuls: Why are you running?

Our Hayward schools trustee election coverage came out Sunday (two-year seat) and Monday (four-year seat). It’s a very large field, and due to space constraints we couldn’t get too in-depth with the candidates. But we are happy to share the results of our questionnaires, at least for those candidates who returned one — those who are not represented here were contacted and interviewed via phone for the stories because they didn’t get the questionnaire back to the Review. Please note: Loretta R. Robertson has dropped out due to an unexpected health problem. That narrows the field to just, oh, 15 candidates for four seats.

We’ll have more questions and answers posted in coming days, but for starters, let’s find out: Why are you running for school board?

Four-year candidates, three seats available


Rick Bartholomew:

I am running to continue the progress HUSD and the city of Hayward have embarked upon with the recent passage of Measure I.  I will foster partnerships needed to improve the district and the city that attracts new families and businesses while keeping those that are here now. 


As a parent with children in Hayward public schools I want the opportunity to be the eyes, the ears, and the voice for all. As a 50-year resident of Hayward I want to be a part of the change that will make our city a place of pride.  


Jeff Cook:

For the same reason as the first time.  In neither case did I have any personal desire to be a board member.  I was quite content to continue with school-level volunteerism.  However, there was a fiscal and governance crisis 6 years ago, and community leaders pressed me into service .  We accomplished most of the major goals I had, but now after acheivng fiscal solvency, the state has pulled the rug out from under us and imposed an even worse budget crisis to the tune of $17 million.  I know what it took to make those tough decisions and what it will take again.  It took a year or two to really understand school finances, even with my business background, and we must make these cost-cutting decisions in the next 2-3 months, beginning well before any new board members are elected.  They must be able to hit the ground running.  It is not the time to have four new, inexperienced board members, without maintaining some experience and expertise along with the new.


Sarah Gonzales:

I am running for board to continue to improve the district.  When I was first elected, the district was $18 million in the red.  The district had been assigned fiscal advisors under AB 1200 by the Alameda County superintendent of schools.  The district now has the required reserves and was able to weather this year’s legislative budget impasse.  The districts test scores continue to improve. We now have 6 schools that are at the brink of reaching 800 on the state’s Academic Performance Index.  In 2003, we had no schools even close to that API score. The Hayward community overwhelmingly passed Measure I, a construction bond to rebuild or refurbish 5 schools in the district.  I want to continue to lead in the quest to improve the Hayward Unified School District.


Maribel Heredia:

Because I will do whatever it takes to get our students/schools back on track.  More than 50% of our students are below basic and far below basic in Math and Language Arts; over 60% of our students graduating from HUSD high schools are ineligible to attend a CAL/CSU university; Our district for the past three years has not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), hence HUSD is in Program Improvement district year 3; I not only want to make a difference, but I know that I can make a difference.  I am prepared to take steps to improve student achievement, such as stop the wasteful spending on high-priced consultants with no proven results, and invest in servicing our students with things that are proven to improve student achievement, such as: hiring more teachers; hire credentialed reading specialist; reduce class sizes; and provide a quality afterschool tutoring programs for students that need extra support, and enrichment for students who are doing well. I will not rubber stamp anything without doing my homework first! I will not allow us, (students, parents, teachers, support staff and community), to be the rubber stamp victims of this administration!



Dianne McDermott:

It sounds cliché just to say “because I care,” but the fact of the matter is that is simply the truth. I am a lifelong supporter and advocate for public education. I am a product of the Hayward Unified School District, where I graduated from Tennyson High School. The education that I received was a strong foundation for my success in business.

I am also a grandparent who is raising a grandchild who attends elementary school in Hayward and I have kept involved to ensure that my grandson receives the best education possible. Clearly, our children’s success depends on our ability to prepare them for new challenges of globalization and rapidly changing technologies, but we must work “together” with a strong commitment to our children that they are the community’s first and highest priority.

With California in a budget shortfall, we need to have an independent and innovative leader who can bring a fresh and unbiased perspective to the Board of Trustees. Although I have served in many leadership capacities, I have never entered the political arena. I have no hidden agenda, or preconceived opinions about the current Board of Trustees, and if elected I would represent all the children of our diverse community.

I currently serve as chair of the Hayward Citizen’s Advisory Committee, of which I have been a member for seven years. Past president of Chamber of Commerce and rotary.


Luis Reynoso:

I am running for the board because I care about my Hayward community. Our schools are not being managed competently and professionally by the district, and the current school board is responsible. It is embarrassing to know that our district continues to be in program improvement status with the state of California and to constantly hear from parents the complaints of violence in schools. It just does not get worse than that. It is the directive of the board to provide direction to the administration on what needs to be prioritized and executed to provide a great learning environment, safer schools, fiscally responsible management, and make sure politics never enter in the employment process. Our Hayward schools need a change at the board if we are to have excellent schools. Enough is enough.


Two-year candidates, one seat available


James Farley:

I am running for school board because I see a lot of the same problems still exist from when I went to school, like the communication issue and bullying. I want to meet the needs of all students; remedial, gifted, bilingual and disabled. Academically, I want to close the achievement gap and keep the district financially stable and in positive certification.


Lawrence Fitzpatrick:

Because the parents have no voice in our district, if the district listened to the parents, the protests against school closures would not be ignored. The district should be going to great lengths to make sure the parents were listened to instead of the absolute indifference the school district and the school board has shown.


Conrad Hake:

I have worked with the superintendent, associate superintendent, M&O Head, head of personnel and head of food services on a number of successful projects.  At the same time, the teachers are the people who asked me to run.  And, I have led a very powerful and active parents group.  So, I am in a unique position to work with people on many sides of issues to create solutions.


Kelly Rocchio:

The main motivation for my candidacy is the children. As a parent, I want what is best for our children and if I can improve any of the educational opportunities in their lives, it is my responsibility and privilege. It seems that in recent years we have lost our connection with the administration and board, resulting in a lack of trust and faith in the Hayward school system. I believe I have the passion to provide the commitment to rebuild strong connections. It is my goal to provide all students in Hayward with an opportunity to receive the best education possible and to reach out to all learning styles and achievement levels.


Sheila Sims:

I was asked by several people to run for the board. I have a passion for kids and education and I want to be the catalyst for the changes I hope to see. Education is the pathway to success.


Eric Kurhi