APPOINTED TRUSTEE – JESUS ARMAS

2 04 2010

Jesus Armas, former Hayward City Manager was appointed on March 17th by the Board of Trustees to complete the term of Sarah Gonzales.  Mr. Armas was sworn in on March 24th.

On March 17th the pool of 10 applicants were intereviewed at the District Office.  There was an impressive pool of individuals, all expressing their desire to put in their time and efforts to help out our District.  As one of the applicants, it was quite a process … so different than the campaign last year.  Each applicant was asked four questions, one from each Trustee.  We were also given 3 minutes to open and 3 minutes to close our interview.  We were asked about the seating arrangement, Board Member responsibilities, recent Board decisions and the one thing we were most proud of in HUSD.

The topic of seating is one of contention between the Board Members.  Most of the applicants agreed that the Superintendent should be seated separately than the Trustees.  Mr. Armas said he would yield to the decision of the President on this matter.  The role of the Trustees was basically the same for most applicants, a representative of the community leading the District in establishing policy and expectations.  When recent decisions came up for discussion I heard many answers including the Block Schedule, Parent Cafe, and School Redesign.  Mr. Armas spoke of Measure I and his strong support for this move by the District. When asked what most of the applicants were the most proud of, the overwhelming answer was diversity.

Now coming to question is the process of deliberation.  Deliberation is meant to be a process where care and thought are put into discussion and decision, with no rush to movement. There were 10 applicants, all bringing different strengths and skills before the Board of Trustees.  There was really no deliberation to speak of on March 17th.  The Board members thanked the applicants for coming and then a motion to appoint Mr. Armas was made by Mr. Frumpkin.  There was some discussion around conflict of interest (Mrs. Armas is the Director of Certificated Personnel for HUSD) with District Legal Counsel on hand to answer.  I have been told that by moving directly to the appointment of Mr. Armas, the Trustees were showing some sort of “charity” toward the other applicants.  I feel it would have been more respectful to the applicants, as well as the community, had there been some discussion involved in this appointment. I was very impressed by what I heard from many of the applicants. I was not embarrassed for any applicant based on the motivating factor that brought each one of us there that day! Every single one of us was there to offer our time and our best efforts to improve this District. We all knew what we were in for going through a public interview process. I find it a bit patronizing to hear that some believe it was simply an effort to spare our pride that caused the Trustees to move directly to an appointment. There are ways to move through such a process with tact and grace.

There have been comments made that desire of some of the applicants might have exceeded the qualifications for this seat. Desire should never be underestimated. This quote from Michel de Montaigne says something of desire … “Desire and hope will push us on toward the future”. Let’s hope it is that desire we find in all of our Trustees.

Congratulations to Mr. Armas.  Let us all move forward as a District and make the difficult decisions ahead as a cohesive unit!

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