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Calendar >  Dynamic School Board Installation

Dynamic School Board Installation

By   /  December 19, 2016  /  No Comments


Pat Murphy

After covering the recent election for the three seats on the Board of Trustees for the Vista Unified District, I wanted to attend the meeting where the newly elected officials would be installed. As we drove the short distance to the Vista Civic Center I was mentally recalling the interviews I had conducted with all of the candidates. They were all good people and they were all expressing a strong interest in providing for Vista’s future generations. I wasn’t able to vote for any of the candidates because the sub-district we live in wasn’t experiencing a vacancy this election year. Still, because I had met and personally talked with all of the candidates, I was interested in seeing the official ceremony reflecting the outcome. I wasn’t alone in my desire because there was a large turnout that included Council member Elect Joe Green.

We arrived early and saw that the chairs on one side of the room where the officials would sit were empty. Name placards on the tables in front of the chairs indicated that the Superintendent of Vista’s Unified School District, Dr. Devon Vodicka would be seated almost center. School Board members were sitting to his right and they in turn were flanked by student board members. To his left were the District officials. At side tables along the adjoining wall were representatives from the Vista Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association.

  • Award of Excellence

The empty chairs quickly filled and the meeting opened on time. Things moved quickly and I could tell the meeting was well organized. In short time Superintendent Vodicka had administered the Oath of Office to newly elected Board Members Rich Alderson, Rosemary Smithfield and Cipriano Vargas. As soon as they were sworn in they had to go to work. They had to elect their officers for the coming year. Rich Alderson was re-elected as the President of the Board. Carol Herrera was elected to become the Vice President of the Board and Jim Gibson was elected as the Clerk of the Board. Gibson drew chuckles from all around the large room when after being nominated he asked, “What are the requirements of the position?” Jim has served on the board for only 18 years.

The Board meeting was turned over to Alderson who did something he said he was doing for the first time. Alderson introduced his wife, Nancy. Then he asked the families and friends of Smithfield and Vargas to, in turn, to stand and be recognized. Both newcomers to the board had quite a few supporters in the audience. It was all smiles and happy faces. Yessica Vargas, Yesenia Vargas, Sandy Vargas, Anthony Vargas, Maria & Cipriano Vargas (Senior) were sitting in the front row and wearing proud smiles as Cipriano took his vows. Rosemary Smithfield’s friends and family had given her a large bouquet of flowers with balloons.

Superintendent Vodicka’s report on the District came next and Vodicka’s time was spent commending teachers and students for some very impressive accomplishments. He acknowledged several teachers, including David Hanlon, for their participation at State and Area programs. He told us how nine Mission Vista High School students had competed and had won first place in the AT&T Mobile App Hackathon in San Diego. Their prize for winning the competition was $500 and a tour of the San Diego Cybersecurity Division. He also proudly announced that 6 VUSD schools had earned the prestigious Golden Bell Award this past year.
Dr. Matt Doyle, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation, presented a Certificate of Excellence was presented to the Bobier Elementary Wellness Team. It cited their partnering with the Community Wellness Center at UCSD School of Medicine. He also told us that on November 14th, educators from across the country visited three VUSD schools that have been implementing a Personal Learning Pathway for their students.

Vista Teachers Association (VTA) President, Tod Critchlow, praised the School Board’s progress and provided positive suggestions for continued success. “There are a lot of good things happening in VUSD.” He said, and “There are also things that still require work.” ”We need to continue in our efforts.” He specifically asked that the new School Board pay close attention to the “Roll Out” of new programs. New programs have a better chance to succeed if the roll out is smooth and comprehensive, he asserted.

California School Employees Association (CSEA) President Marie Hoven used her time to introduce and thank Alicia Evilsizer for her many years of service. Evilsizer, who has most recently served as the Chief Job Steward, is retiring but she promised the crowd that she will still be involved as a volunteer. The California School Employees Association is the largest classified school employees union in the United States. The Association represents more than 215,000 school support staff throughout California.

There was a succession of speakers representing different groups and opinions. Most of the reports and comments were positive. Student Board member Alyssa Malconey gave a detailed report on Rancho Buena Vista High School and a shout out for their band’s performance in the KUSI Pigskin Prep Report Silver Gala on the Midway. Gina Loren expressed concern over child care costs. FFA President Valerie Wolf thanked the school board and the Superintendent for their overwhelming support. Wolf also spoke about the upcoming Hydroponics program at VHS. Public Comment came from Nicky Reed who expressed concern about protecting children from discrimination and fear in the wake of our recent Presidential election.

A Staff Report was presented regarding Facility / Joint Use options and specifically the outdoor basketball courts at several of the District’s schools. Several people were in attendance to hear the outcome of this report including Garry Garretson from the Vista Education Foundation. The School Board showed support for the concept. They were in favor of a three month plan to investigate liability issues and move immediately to start with three schools that already had the required fencing separation.

The consent agenda covered many important but somewhat boring issues and overall the meeting was very positive, upbeat and compared to the meetings I attended in the Los Angeles area decades ago… very dynamic.



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