Three candidates vie for Sequoia board

Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 30, 1996

ELECTION: Three candidates vie for Sequoia board

Incumbents want to continue unfinished work, newcomer sees urgent need for improvement

All three candidates running for two open seats on the Sequoia Union High School District board see improving student performance as a priority if they're elected.

Incumbents Beverly Scott and Sally Stewart point to progress they've made over the last four years, and newcomer and longtime district resident Olivia Martinez sees many things that can be improved.

Scott, 56, ran for her first term in 1992. She noted her concern about the performance of minority students. Today, changes have been made, she said, but more needs to be done. "Sequoia does a very good job at the upper end of the bell curve . . . and I think we do a good job with special education, but there are a large number in between, not in AP classes, at risk to drop out."

The East Palo Alto resident hopes to continue working on student performance. "We can shine more than this," she said. She wants to strengthen the curriculum for different kinds of learners, and improve the expulsion system.

Scott is a grantsmanship consultant for nonprofit groups. She has a daughter attending Menlo-Atherton High School.

Stewart, 64, has been on the board since 1983, and is running for her fourth term. She has served as president of the California School Boards Association and on boards of many government and nonprofit education groups. She is an educational consultant and the chair of the Educational Congress of California.

The Portola Valley resident says she brings "continuity" to the board, and wants to finish projects she's started: the district's strategic plan for how decisions are made, and helping prepare students better for life after high school. "We (need to) educate all of our kids to get them ready for school or jobs. We could be doing better than we're doing."

She would also like to improve high school campus safety, and create more firm accountability for teachers and administrators to track students' learning success.

Martinez, 52, is a vice president at Canada College in Redwood City. She attended Sequoia High School, and her three daughters graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School.

"I feel a real sense of urgency about the high numbers of students who are not achieving their maximum potential," she said. Discipline and attendance are her top priorities, as well as preparing students for "moving into the world of work" by giving them job training in high school. She also favors mandatory guidance classes to teach students study skills, time management and give them college options.

If elected, she would call for a curriculum review, and for stronger fiscal accountability.

--Elizabeth Darling 

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