CARMEL — Four candidates will be vying for two seats on the Carmel Unified School District Board of Trustees in this month’s election.
The Carmel Unified School District School Board consists of five board members – Seaberry Nachbar, Karl Pallastrini, Anne Marie Rosen, Board Clerk Tess Arthur, and Board Chair Sara Hinds.
Hinds and Arthurs’ terms expire in December 2022 and are up for re-election in the November 8 ballot. In the running against them, Lawrence Samuels and Drew Lander.
Born and raised in Carmel, Hinds (46) was elected a board member in 2018 and chair of the board in early 2021. During her tenure, she led the board through a pandemic, a search for superintendent and the process for redrawing administrator member boundaries. .
Hinds said one of his long-term goals is to ensure that all students in the district are lifelong learners and explore a variety of careers while attending school. She explained that under her leadership, the board accomplished this by adding a variety of advanced placement classes, creating a dual-enrollment partnership with Monterey Peninsula College, and adding a more robust vocational technology education program.
Hinds said the most significant issue surrounding the district is the socio-emotional well-being of students.
“When you have students who feel psychologically and physically safe, they are able to do better academically and be more focused,” she said.
Hinds said if re-elected, she would continue to bring resilience, tenacity, passion and a collaborative way of leading to ensure the Carmel Unified School District is the “best district it can be.”
“It’s extremely important to me that we focus on the stability we have now and continue that stability in the future,” Hinds said. “I believe that a strong school board makes for a strong community and the best way to build on this momentum is to maintain the stability of our governance and leadership team.”
Arthur (55) was also elected to the Board of Trustees in 2018. She moved to Carmel Valley with her family in 2006 and Arthur began supply teaching for the district in 2007, before taking up a position as a classroom assistance and special education assistance.
Arthur said she was running for re-election because she cared deeply about the future of the district and its members.
“As a board member of the Carmel Unified School District, and along with my fellow board members, we have been through some extremely difficult times,” Arthur said. “We are on an incredible trajectory and consistency with strong leadership is key to creating a stable district moving forward. … My work here is not finished yet, we are just beginning!
Arthur said if re-elected, she hopes to continue to support the district in its efforts to support students and staff, as well as continue to maintain trust and collaboration with unions in the district.
“My goal is also to make sure every child feels ‘seen’ and we help them excel in whatever path they choose,” Arthur added.
Arthur said she thinks student mental health is the most important issue in public education today.
“We must continue to meet the needs of our students and provide them and their parents with the opportunity to seek out the resources necessary to succeed,” Arthur said. “We know that when students struggle emotionally, it hinders their ability to learn and access the program.”
Samuels (70) – a local author – was elected chairman of Seaside’s citizens’ committee, Project Area Committee, in 2008. He ran for city council in the unestablished ‘City of Carmel Valley’ in 2009 as as one of the leaders opposed to the transformation of Carmel Valley. in a city.
Samuels said he decided to run for district board member because he wanted to work to keep politics out of the school system.
“I want parents to be confident that the Carmel Unified School District will not indoctrinate students with the racism of Critical Race Theory (and) Ethnic Studies or the Fascist-Marxist ideology of Awakening (and) of cancel culture,” Samuels said.
Samuels added that he wanted to be a “watchdog” for the community, citing an incident at a council meeting earlier this year when the council entered a lengthy private executive session.
If elected, Samuels said his top priority is to return the school curriculum to mainstream education.
“Teach science, teach math, teach students what they really need to know to succeed in life,” he said. “(Don’t) get into this racism…and all this other stuff. It’s just a waste of time.
Lander (46) is a civil engineer and chief executive of the Sunnyslope County Water District. A father of six children currently enrolled in the district, Lander said he and his family have experienced all levels of the district.
Lander said he decided to run for the board because he felt the current board lacked representatives with diverse skills.
“During COVID-19, it feels like everything has been lost,” he said. “It’s just a battle between the parents and the administration.”
If elected, Lander said his primary concern is to create a strong, standardized academic structure for students that goes back to basics.
“If elected to this position, I will remain focused on decision-making and policy to produce a world-class educational environment where our administrators are supported to educate the next generation,” Lander said. “I believe that if we promote these measures designed to maintain and strengthen our youth, they will make good life choices.”