School Board Narrows the Selection Down to Six to Replace Cindy Pickett

Cindy Pickett

The school board did not lack for quality replacements for Cindy Pickett on Thursday.  They were able to quickly narrow the field of 15 down to 6.  On a night when her colleagues honored her, and when she presided over but did not vote on the process to replace her, the board will have several options next week to select the person who will hold the seat ironically longer than the person who was duly elected.

Pickett will leave office on Tuesday officially.  She took a position of Associate Provost for Diversity at DePaul University when the position of Associate Vice-Provost for Faculty Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis became temporary.

“My biggest regret is that I cannot complete my full term. My job situation changed after I took office. I had fully intended to serve a full term, if not more (subject to the will of the voters),” she told the Vanguard this week.

Meanwhile, the field is down to six from 15.

Each of the four board members had five votes.

The remaining candidates are:

Vigdis Asmundson, the daughter of two former mayors, Vigfus Asmundson who served on the council from 1968 to 1972 and as mayor 1970 to 1972, and Ruth Asmundson who more recently served from 2002 to 2010 and was twice mayor from 2004-2006 and 2008 to 2010.

Rachael Fulp-Cooke was most recently a Fellowship Coordinator at UC Davis Health Systems in Sacramento and the parent of children at Pioneer Elementary School.

Hiram Jackson has long been active in the schools and recently saw his younger graduate from Davis High.  He and his wife head up the Mariachi group, Mariachi Puente.

Joy Klineberg won the appointment in 2018 to replace Madhavi Sunder for the last three months of her term.

Christine Taylor, a seasoned financial executive with 30 years of public accounting experience, and Swapna Panigrahi round out the six.

Asmundson and Jackson garnered votes from all four board members.  Fulp-Cooke and Klineberg scored three votes and Taylor and Panigrahi two each.

That could put Asmundson and Jackson as odds-on favorites.  The board, rather than spending the time to read all 65 public comments, simply announced them—with Fulp-Cooke leading the way, followed closely by Asmundson.

The board will send the six candidates an additional questionnaire with six to seven questions as they hope to make a decision next Thursday, July 2.

Here are their questionnaires:

Asmundson, Vigdis Trustee Application 2020

Fulp-Cooke, Rachael Trustee Application 2020

Jackson, Hiram Trustee Application 2020

Klineberg, Joy Trustee Application 2020

Panigrahi, Swapna Trustee Application 2020

Taylor, Christine Trustee Application 2020

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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. Ron Glick

    “Hiram Jackson has long been active in the schools and recently saw his younger graduate from Davis High.” 

    Does that make him Hiram the elder? Like Pliny the elder and Pliny the younger. Will selecting Jackson create a world class brew at the school board?


  2. David Greenwald

    All four voted for Asmundson and Jackson
    Fernandes didn’t vote for Fulp-Cooke
    Poppenga didn’t vote for Klineberg
    DiNunzio and Poppenga for Panigrahi
    Adams and Fernandes for Taylor
    Poppenga a single vote for Darrah
    Fernandes a single vote for Mauro

    1. Bill Marshall

      Can “we” try to spell folks’ names right?  Usually considered common courtesy… in this post, you get a “d” in spelling… or, more precisely, lack of a “d”… spelling, grammar used to be a sign of good ‘reporting’…

      I cringe often reading Bee, Emptyprise, and the author of certain blogs…

      [Moderator: corrected.]

      1. David Greenwald

        They debated whether to do one more round and decided not. In a way they did the easy cut by eliminating those who get 0 or 1 votes. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way. Just means more work for next week.

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