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School board, hospital board races set

Submitted by on 1, August 12, 2010 – 5:00 amNo Comment

Wednesday was the filing deadline for November’s school and health care district board races, and it ended with six candidates running for two open school board seats and four for three seats on the hospital board.

The school board race includes incumbent Mike McMahon; former Alameda Unified administrator Margie Sherratt; James Pruitt, a labor negotiator; and Clay Pollard, Rand Wrobel and Sheri Palmer, all of whom are local parents and business people.

McMahon, who has served two terms on the board, listed his experience, history of community engagement and openness as qualifications in a candidate statement posted to his website.

“As a school board member for the past eight years, I have learned the complexities of overseeing our school district and understand the process of making sound decisions,” he wrote.

Sherratt touted a 35-year career as an educator that has included work as a teacher, counselor, district administrator and Alameda High School principal. She was part of a trio of administrators who filled in for former assistant superintendent Debbie Wong when she was out on medical leave last year and also works supervising teacher interns at a university and as a school auditor for the Alameda County Office of Education, she wrote in a candidate statement posted to McMahon’s site.

“I will bring to the Board of Education my collaborative style of leadership, my openness to ideas and ways to solve problems, my ability to make the tough decisions for Alameda Unified School District, my integrity and most importantly, my commitment to the students of Alameda,” she wrote.

Pollard, who e-mailed The Island to announce his candidacy on Friday, said he’ll focus on academic excellence, fiscal responsibility and accountability to parents and the community. He has appeared before the board to oppose the district’s anti-gay bulling curriculum, its master plan and its shuttering of Chipman Middle School and support of a new charter to open there in the fall.

“My imperative is bringing fresh eyes and ears, coupled with creativity and fiscal responsibility to the Board,” he wrote.

Pollard, a 24-year Alameda resident and business owner with a high school student, said the district needs “a viable long-term master plan providing smaller class size, enrichment programs, advanced placement courses, effective remedial education (to close the achievement gap), and proper facilities management which optimizes district resources.”

InAlameda blogger Susan Davis wrote last week that Wrobel would seek to charter the entire district while Pruitt would bring his negotiating budget-handling and consensus-building skills to bear if elected.

Candidates for hospital board are incumbent Robert Deutsch; Leah Williams, who was appointed to the board in December 2009 to fill the rest of Steve Wasson’s term when he resigned the board to spend more time with family; and Stewart Chen and Elliott Gorelick, both of whom applied to take Wasson’s seat.

Alameda Democratic Club co-president Jim Oddie dropped out of the race, he said, to focus on helping other Democratic candidates get elected this fall. He’s managing Rob Bonta’s City Council campaign, and the Democratic club is opening local campaign headquarters for a host of fall races on August 22, in the other half of the former Webster Pharmacy on the corner of Webster Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Oddie, who will still lend a helping hand on Alameda Hospital’s finance committee, said he’s throwing his support behind Chen, Williams and Deutsch for the hospital board race.

Chen sent an e-mail on Friday announcing his plans to run and offering a list of endorsements, including State Senator Leland Yee, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker and four-fifths of Alameda’s City Council.

“I believe in quality health care that is affordable for everyone and I will strive to make this ideal happen,” Chen wrote. “Alameda Hospital has a lot of potential and I would like to see that potential transform into one premier facility.”

Learn more about Chen, Gorelick and Williams by checking out the piece we wrote about their earlier hospital board applications.

The original filing deadline for both races was Friday, but the deadline was extended when incumbents Tracy Jensen and Bonta opted to run for City Council instead of seeking to reclaim their school and hospital board seats.

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