Granda and Poppenga Add Names to the List of Candidates

Poppenga-BobBob Poppenga seeks school board seat

Bob Poppenga, a parent of two, an active parent volunteer, a veterinarian, and professor of veterinary toxicology at UC Davis, announced Tuesday that he will seek a seat on the Davis school board.

Poppenga indicated that he will be a candidate for appointment to the vacant seat and will also seek one of the open board seats available in the November general election.

Poppenga said that there will be many exciting opportunities in the next several years, but a number of significant challenges face the school district as well.   He sees short-term challenges with implementation of both the new common core curriculum and the recently adopted five-year strategic plan for the district.  Prioritizing the allocation of new monies from the state will require careful consideration with community input.  Opportunities include the development of a long overdue professional development system for teachers and staff, enhancement of partnerships with public and private groups to leverage limited district resources, and introduction of new technology to the classroom.  To take advantage of opportunities and to meet the challenges will require leadership, collaboration, good communication, and transparency.

“The availability of a high quality public education for all of our children is one of the cornerstones of our society.   A community like Davis, with its abundance of human resources and its educational focus, should be at the forefront of educational innovation and providing a world-class education for all our students with their diverse needs.  At the same time, it is critical for the District to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars to assure continued community support.”

Poppenga attended public school in Springfield, Illinois and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois in Urbana.  Prior to coming to UC Davis in 2004, he served on the faculty of veterinary schools at Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania.  As a university educator for over 25 years, he has been involved in course and curricular development, development of teaching evaluation criteria, and veterinary and graduate school admissions.

“I know what its like to be in front of a classroom full of students and to grade 100 examinations.  So I’m incredibly appreciative of the dedication of DJUSD teachers.  We need to make sure that they receive the support and resources to continue to do their jobs well.”

He has held leadership positions in a number of national professional organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association and has served on an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration.

Poppenga participated in the school district’s strategic planning process on the Professional Development Action Team, which met weekly from late September through January.   He has also participated in Harper Junior High’s 8th grade career day for two years.

He and his wife, also a UC Davis faculty member, are the parents of two daughters in Davis schools – one entering 9th grade at Harper Junior High and the other entering 7th grade at Holmes Junior High in the fall.

“The decisions we make today about how best to educate our children will have an impact for years to come.  As a scientist and university educator, I believe that educational decisions should be based on the best available evidence and best practices whenever possible.  Good decisions also require a constant focus on children and open and honest input from the people who are most important in their lives:  parents and teachers.”

Poppenga’s campaign website is

Poppenga’s campaign Facebook page is:

Poppenga’s campaign Twitter page is:


Granda-Jose-2Granda Enters the Race For School Board

Jose Granda, an Engineering Professor at CSUS and a 36-year resident of Davis, filed this morning an application to become a candidate for appointment to the Davis School Board to fill the open vacancy.   He is following a promise he made in 2012 to the 6,181 Davis voters who supported his candidacy for school board and to the 9,253 Davis voters that voted with him in opposing Measure E.  He stated at the time “I will be back” and, true to his word, here he is.  “I have been in education my entire career.  I believe in excellence in education with fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers”  stated Jose in in press release.

“I have been an Engineering Professor for 32 years with vast experience on what it takes to teach a child to succeed.  I have a lot to contribute.  The School Board needs a change in diversity of opinions to make independent decisions in the public interest.  If they select one that thinks like them, backed by the same special interest groups, there is no hope, nothing will change.  This is critical at the time the public trust in the School Board is at an all-time low with conflicts of interest and a dismal record in management of the taxpayer’s resources.  New leadership is needed.  The School Board needs a fresh start. I hope to make a contribution towards changing the culture of deficits and endless local parcel tax measures,” said Jose Granda.

“My vision is influenced by the priorities I see.  Undivided commitment to the children’s excellency in education, undivided commitment to financial responsibility to the taxpayers, commitment to high-tech education.    Teaching with technology should be available for teachers and learning with technology should be available to all students,” said Granda.

Granda continued, “Priority to foreign languages.  In a global economy this is a must in the basic education of a child. I believe foreign languages such as German, Chinese, Spanish and French are a necessity in a child’s education.  Commitment to turning Davis School District into a model high tech educational district.

“Priority to prepare students in STEM careers.  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math opportunities should be offered to every child in this district. Flexibility to innovation and change.  Be receptive to new ideas and to change the status quo.”

Granda summarized his vision to these points:

  • I believe education is the key to life success.
  • I believe that Board members should be independent thinkers and independent researchers to be able to make fair and accurate decisions.  This may be questioning or not agreeing with staff.
  • A board member cannot do everything. One must concentrate on what one can contribute so here are my thoughts as it applies to me.  My contribution would be to high tech with science and engineering in mind.
  • I believe the spark of engineering and science career starts by the age of 10.  That is elementary school.  For that reason, I have conducted regularly motivational talks with children in elementary and high schools.  I have done this whether at schools or in the wilderness.   I was the first in California to implement the Robotics Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts. During Engineering Week at UC Davis, I participated as a speaker and counselor for the Engineering Merit Badge, an event in which 54 Davis boys scouts participated. The objective of his talks to children and young adults in high schools is to motivate them and encourage them to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers when they reach the University.
  • I believe that women deserve the same educational opportunities as men. Through my research grants, I have supported girls science groups, robotics clubs made of all high school girls.
  • While science and engineering provide youngsters with a bright future, not everyone will become an engineer or a scientist.   For this reason Vocational Education has to be an integral part of the Davis School system to better serve the community and provide a future to youngsters with other skills.

Finally, on the issue of conflict of interest, Jose is clear.  “When a conflict of interest occurs, the board member must inform the other board members of that and excuse himself/herself from voting or participating on an issue that has personal interest mixed with your position as an elected official.   We have more than one official in Yolo County that will benefit from this advice,” concluded Granda.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Tia Will

    While I am in agreement with all of Mr. Granda’s comments and areas of interest, what is lacking, just as it was during his last candidacy is any realistic statement of how he would fund his proposals without the use of “taxpayer” money which he seems to abhor.

      1. wdf1

        The Enterprise has a similar story announcing Granda’s candidacy, and he adds some interesting language at the end:

        “I am up front and will state exactly what I believe without fear of being politically incorrect. If elected or appointed, I will not speak what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.”

        To me that sounds like, “I have no filter, and my agenda is all about what I think.”

        1. Davis Progressive

          is the message the problem or is it the messenger? let’s say instead of jose granda, the eminator was jerry brown circa 1992, does that make the idea more appealing?

  2. Mr. Toad

    Sue the institution then run for the board.

    What could be a worse way to get name recognition than what we see with both Granda and Munn. First they file frivolous lawsuits that waste taxpayer money then run for seats on the bodies they filed against because they believe they will be better stewards of public money. Go figure. Now this strategy might work if the positions they have taken had popular support but as anyone who can count should see this has not been the case. But imagine if they won they would likely become lone voices of dissent on the losing side of 4-1 votes after 4-1 votes. Who would volunteer for such a Sisyphean endeavor. Only the most dedicated ideologues.

    1. Barack Palin

      “But imagine if they won they would likely become lone voices of dissent on the losing side of 4-1 votes after 4-1 votes. Who would volunteer for such a Sisyphean endeavor. Only the most dedicated ideologues.”

      Yes Toad, we would be much better served having 5 like minded trustees so all votes could end up 5-0.

      1. Mr. Toad

        You miss the point. They might even win on occasion but my point is its tough to serve in a situation where you are a lone voice in the wilderness losing on vote after vote. Its one thing to take a symbolic stand. Its another to do so while sitting through hours of meetings on a regular schedule and then of course its always easier to run than to govern.

        1. David Greenwald

          It seems like you are making presumptions that he’s going to be on the short end of 4-1 votes. It may be that he moves the board closer to his position or they move him closer to theirs. The only issue where he seems intractable on is the parcel tax which may not come up much in the future.

          1. wdf1

            D.G.: The only issue where he seems intractable on is the parcel tax which may not come up much in the future.

            …and in his understanding of school finances. You’ve documented this before (for example, here).

            In the short term we maybe entering better times for school funding. But I don’t believe that all the issues of difficult school financing are behind us. It seems that you can count on an economic downturn happening about every 8-10 years.

            This school board race may not involvel much discussion of school finances, but this will be the generation of trustees to deal with the next economic downturn. For instance, if you review the school board elections in 2005 and 2007, how to deal with difficult budgets was not as major an issue. But that yielded the generation of trustees that had to deal with the difficult budgets from 2008 to 2012. For this particular school board election, it’s even more important to be asking candidates how they would address tough budget issues, but I don’t think that will happen. I think the electorate is tired of thinking about school budgets.

          2. wdf1

            And the rest of my point is that Granda’s demonstrated lack of understanding of school financing, or of workable funding alternatives, should be just as important a liability to his candidacy in this race as it was in the middle of the Great Recession.

          3. Davis Progressive

            i don’t think david was defending granda, i made a similar comment to you about his fundamental lack of understanding of school finances.

          4. Mr. Toad

            Sticking up for Granda. Well you know where that puts you on the ideological spectrum? Right there with those Howard Jarvis anti-tax ultra conservatives. Go ahead David, make my day.

        2. Davis Progressive

          you’re arguing the wrong point. the problem is that granda is a knee jerk opponent of the only viable local funding mechanism for schools. moreover, he has shown time and time again, a lack of understanding for how government works. he may have some superficially good ideas about education, but he is totally unable to implement them given his other deficiencies.

    1. wdf1

      Here are some recent letters to the editor by Poppenga:

      Let’s not forget the teachers

      Made some comments in a board meeting about GATE/AIM: School board gets an earful at meeting

      Wrote in favor of self-contained GATE/AIM: GATE alternatives are not the answer

      Supported Alan Fernandes in the last school board election: Fernandes needs our votes

      Was connected to a controversial online petition about the GATE/AIM program: Signatures, testimonials forged on online pro-GATE petition

      And a couple of articles connected to his work at the university as a toxicologist.

  3. Creek Path Builder

    Glad you pointed out the obvious since being a GATE person is a good thing!

    Every GATE person I’ve met is both intelligent and concerned about providing great opportunities for all Davis children. On the other hand, some of the anti-GATE activists I’ve met don’t understand that quality education for all is not a zero sum game.

    More importantly, I doubt if Poppenga is just a single-issue candidate. No intelligent person (and he’s clearly that) is willing to put up with the hassle of this type of job to simplistically promote a single issue.

    There are plenty of issues to address, from excessive expenditure on lawyers, unfair treatment of teachers, deliberately opaque decision-making procedures, marginal administrative competence at a very high price, and an aging infrastructure. I applaud all the candidates for their willingness to put time into solving these problems, but I especially applaud the ones who are actually qualified, like Mr. Poppenga.

    1. wdf1

      CPB: Glad you pointed out the obvious since being a GATE person is a good thing!

      Every GATE person I’ve met is both intelligent and concerned about providing great opportunities for all Davis children. On the other hand, some of the anti-GATE activists I’ve met don’t understand that quality education for all is not a zero sum game.

      Wow. This kind of characterization is poisonous for civil discussion. Poppenga, based on links above, advocated for keeping a robust self-contained GATE program in the Davis schools. I think some of those you characterize as “anti-GATE” that were connected to last year’s debate are actually a number of parents of GATE-identified students who advocated for GATE instruction as part of differentiated instruction in a standard classroom so as to allow for additional criteria to be addressed in the educational experience.

  4. Mr. Toad

    It looks like we are going to have a good field to choose from. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Jose Granda will not be picked by the school board to fill the vacancy.

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