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 www.bob4schools.org
Poppenga’s campaign Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/bob4schools
Poppenga’s campaign Twitter page is: https://twitter.com/Bob4Schools
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.