The Sacramento Bee and Davis Enterprise apparently agree on which three candidates should lead the DJUSD School District. Yesterday we learned that the Bee had endorsed Tom Adams, Barbara Archer, and Madhavi Sunder for the school board, and today we learn that the Enterprise has endorsed the same three.
“The Nov. 4 election for the Davis Board of Education presents voters with an unusual opportunity: the chance to elect a new board majority to lead our schools through the latter part of this decade,” the Enterprise writes. “Among a field of seven talented, dedicated candidates, we recommend that you cast your votes for Barbara Archer, Tom Adams and Madhavi Sunder.”
According to the Enterprise: “Each brings a commitment to hold what’s best for our students as their guiding principle, of course, but each comes equipped with different strengths, skill sets and priorities. We believe they will provide an excellent complement to continuing trustees Susan Lovenburg and Alan Fernandes.”
On Barbara Archer: “Archer has distinguished herself as an active parent volunteer over the past decade, serving as a PTA and School Site Council leader at Willett Elementary and Da Vinci Charter Academy. As co-chair of the successful 2012 campaign for the Measure C parcel tax, she became an expert on the school district’s budget and is ready to hit the ground running when she’s elected.
“Archer is a communications professional, and she delivers a clear, consistent message about what’s important to her in our schools. She wants to look at the big picture of where the school district is going before making decisions about how to get there. High on her priority list are reducing class sizes further, adding much-needed counseling services and training teachers to use technology in the classroom in an enriching, efficient way. Archer also will push for a sustainability plan for whatever technology our schools embrace.
“She is smart, energetic, a straight-talker and a creative thinker, with a down-to-earth approach to the issues facing our school district. We won’t go wrong with Archer on our board.”
On Tom Adams: “Adams has been a quiet leader in the trenches, chairing the School Site Council at Chávez Elementary and Emerson Junior High schools for many years while building a career as the curriculum and instructional resources director at the California Department of Education.
“With such a rich background at both local and statewide education levels, Adams is uniquely poised to make a difference right now on our school board. His knowledge of curriculum and instruction issues will be particularly useful as Davis moves forward on implementing the Common Core standards.
“Adams is both a dreamer and a pragmatist: eager to look down the road at developing issues but ready to tackle the nitty-gritty details that need a leader’s focus right now. He wants the best for all of our students, and says Davis is a very good school district that hasn’t yet reached its potential. Higher test scores aren’t the only answer, Adams counsels: We need a district that invests in a better school climate and better relationships across campuses.”
On Madhavi Sunder: “Sunder is a teacher at heart, a professor of law at UC Davis who knows how a great classroom functions. She has made it a point during this campaign to visit all 20 school sites in the Davis district to talk with teachers, administrators, staff members and students about what’s working and what’s not on our campuses.
“That kind of energy epitomizes Sunder’s approach; she’s also built a campaign team dominated by young, enthusiastic parents who are relatively new to politics and school leadership but who are contributing fresh ideas as our district charts its course for the future.
“Sunder is incensed that California has fallen to last among the 50 states for educational investment, spending only $8,500, on average, per student. However, Davis doesn’t fare well in the state’s new funding formula, and receives only $7,700 per student, she says; that level rises to $8,700 with the inclusion of the parcel tax funding that voters approved in 2012.
“She’s passionate about meeting each child’s need, through further class size reductions, smaller learning communities, support for teachers through creative collaborative programs and a focus on STEAM — the traditional STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) plus the arts. Sunder wants a school district that prepares each student for success in college and the working world.”
The Enterprise notes that all three “talk about the critical importance of restoring community trust in the school board, which was wracked this spring by controversy between a board member and a high school coach. That trust is important not only for the smooth functioning of the school district, but it is necessary if — really, when — the district asks voters to support another parcel tax to supplement state funding.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting