FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce named Keith Wright honorary mayor for 2018-19 at its 40th annual Dignitary Reception on Wednesday evening, September 13 at the North Ridge Country Club in Fair Oaks. Before a crowd of more than 100 attendees, Kimberly Pitillo, Executive Director of the Chamber, announced this year’s mayor’s race was the closest ever and broke all previous fundraising records.
Both candidates and their campaign team donated hundreds of volunteer hours during the six-month mayoral race. Beginning each year in April and continuing through mid-September, candidates compete to raise the most funds for their nonprofit organization of choice Honorary mayor candidates and their teams make phone calls, staff special events, such as the Fair Oaks Summer Concert series, and plan numerous other creative activities to win the title and the sash.
Regardless of who won the contest, everyone and their respective non-profit organizations are winners. The campaign teams enjoy their community service time and supporting their teammates. Charities receive half the funds raise during the race. The other half is donated to the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce to support membership, local businesses and community activities.
Wright said his team “left no stone unturned” during his campaign. His team raised a total of $28,031.05. He received a check for $14,015.53 to give to the Orangevale Food Bank. Wright’s team held 15 community events, activities around the community and asked individuals to make donations. “We focused right away on outreach. My team knew people I didn’t know, so that expanded who we reached and what we accomplished.” Jim Cralle raised $23,254.04 and gave $11,627.02 to the Fair Oaks Rotary Foundation, supporting local nonprofit organizations with grant funding.
The mayor race was so close that at one point during the campaign, Pitillo noted the total dollars raised from each candidate was less than $200 apart. No one knew who would eventually finish as the mayor until the night before the reception.
Many past Honorary Mayors gathered to celebrate the new leadership. The Chamber also recognized their Citizen of the Year, Ray "Digger" Young who retired in January this year after a 20-year career as the Fair Oaks Cemetery District manager. The Kendall sisters, Cassie and Delanie, were recognized for their individual commitment to community service as youth ambassadors to Fair Oaks. Csssie Kendall was crowned as the new Miss Fair Oaks for 2018-19. The new Junior Honorary Mayor is Cassie’s sister, Delanie.
The Junior Honorary Mayor and Miss Fair Oaks are selected by a committee based on their volunteer experience in service to the community, a series of interviews, and “on the job” performance assisting candidates during summer fundraising activities. Both roles serve as youth ambassadors and community volunteers for the Fair Oaks Chamber and intended to build youth leadership and communication skills.
The opportunity to enter a raffle to win a selection of fine food and wine gift baskets, potted plants, or t-shirts for the Chicken Festival added to the evening’s excitement. For more information about the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce activities, visit their website at www.fairoakschamber.com or call (916) 967-2903.
FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - On Saturday, September 15, Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District hosted the 13th annual Chicken Festival in Fair Oaks Village. The festival celebrates the free-range fowl that are a frequent sight in the Village and the surrounding areas. Locals have learned to embrace these feathered neighbors as one of the unique quirks of living in Fair Oaks.
The festival featured a pancake breakfast, live music on the main stage, a beer garden offering craft brew tasting, a Kid’s Park full of entertainment for the younger crowd, more than 100 vendors, a food court, and the Cluck n’ Crow Contest.
The winner of this year’s Cluck n’ Crow Contest was 11-year-old Emily Rice. She wowed the crowd with an extremely realistic chicken call. Emily described how she learned to accurately imitate chickens: “I have a lot of chickens at home. I always listen to them and learned their sounds…And I always watch the clucking contest at the festival every year!” Emily’s family raises chickens for eggs, so she and her siblings are very comfortable around chickens.
Major sponsors of this year’s festival were SMUD, Oak Leaf Dental, 99.5 K-LOVE Radio, Raley’s, Imagine Real Estate, Scooter’s Coffee, SactoMoFo, and Central Valley Community Bank. The festival is always well attended, but Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District administrator Mike Aho said that there were definitely more people in attendance this year than before. Aho’s favorite aspect of the festival is the entertainment, especially on the Kid’s Stage. As a local resident of Fair Oaks Village, Aho explained what makes the area so unique: “If you look at the variety of new communities, that village atmosphere is what they’re trying to build. It’s what they’re all trying to be. That’s what makes Fair Oaks so unique.”
For many local residents, attending the Chicken Festival is a yearly tradition. The Piper family has lived in Fair Oaks for six years. When asked what she likes most about the area, Erika Piper said, “We love the river, the Village, the friendly people, and—of course—the chickens! We attend the chicken festival every year, and we love the activities available for kids and adults. We always have a blast!”
During the festival, an array of signs around the park presented some interesting facts about chickens: Chickens cannot see in the dark. While most breeds of chickens have four toes, some actually have five. To produce a dozen eggs, a hen has to consume approximately four pounds of feed. Chickens can cross-breed with turkeys, and the result is called a “Turkin.” Like other birds and mammals, chickens do experience REM sleep, which is associated with dreaming. The chicken is the closest living relative to the tyrannosaurus-rex. Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens.
For the locals who look forward to attending the Chicken Festival every year, there is certainly no fear of these vocal villagers. The festival is a beloved tradition that delights all in attendance.
Answer in DNA
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - It was an eerie, familiar feeling as Sacramento District Attorney stood alongside state law enforcement agents and in front of media members, announcing the arrest of yet another notorious California serial rapist.
58-year-old Roy Charles Waller of Benicia was linked through DNA to the heinous NorCal Rapist crimes committed on at least 12 victims that date back beginning 27 years ago and took place across six counties.
“The answer has always been in the DNA,” said Schubert, coincidentally in the midst of National Forensic Science Week. She explained the partnership of tireless science and police work that led to a breakthrough over the past 10 days, eventually leading to the arrest.
“Today we can bring some closure to the victim in Contra Costa County who was attacked on Halloween in 1996,” said Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.
Waller was arrested in Berkeley near the U.C. Berkeley campus. He has been a U.C. Berkeley employee for the past 25 years. The Sacramento Police Department and the Berkeley Police Department made the arrest.
The suspect has been charged with 12 counts of force-able sexual assault, plus enhancements. There are also allegations that he used a gun. He’s been awarded no bail and his arraignment is set for Monday in Sacramento.
CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - You’ve seen the cats scurry into the brush when you walk by, or the kitten who shows up on your doorstep every so often looking for something to eat. Some people consider these feral cats nuisances; some consider them cute; and others, like Sac Feral Resources, understand the need for the neighborhood to work together to manage feral cat colonies. A workshop being offered on September 30 at Carmichael Library will teach community members how to improve the situation for both feral cats and humans who share the same neighborhood.
The workshop, part of the Community Cats Project, will be divided into two parts. The morning session will focus on feral and community cats. This session may be taken alone, but it is a prerequisite for the afternoon that will discuss and teach Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). The workshops are free and open to the public.
“I want to improve the situation for the cats and for the neighbors,” said Linda Morgan of Sac Feral Resources, a non-profit all-volunteer organization. “Ultimately, the objective is to stop more kittens from being born into a situation where they are not welcomed, wanted, or cared for,” she said, “and to humanely care for cats already in the neighborhood.” The hope, she added, is that people, even those currently caring for feral cats, will “take something away that will improve the lives of the cats and the neighborhood.”
How do these cats get into the neighborhood? Some are left behind after the humans move. Others are set outside after a death in the family. Still others are put out instead of taken to one of the shelters because the people fear the cats will be euthanized. There are many reasons. Sac Feral Resources’ intention isn’t to focus on the reasons. It is to teach people how to control the cat population.
“There’s a method to colony management,” she said.
“I don’t think people realize how much of a problem this is. Throughout the county there are between one and two hundred thousand feral cats. There is no inventory.”
By learning how to monitor and manage the colony within a neighborhood, she added, the population can stabilize and eventually will decrease because cats are trapped, spayed, neutered, and returned. They are unable to reproduce. There is also what Morgan calls a feeding protocol, which is not simply leaving a bowl of food outside for the neighborhood cat.
The organization encourages people to register colonies, to learn what needs to be done within an apartment complex or neighborhood. Some residents, she said, have been faced with eviction if they continue to feed the cats. Socializing feral kittens helps make them adoptable.
“The in-depth workshops cover the background of what these cats are, the philosophies of people in the neighborhood, and why it is a neighborhood problem,” said Morgan. “Cats are left behind. People are dumping cats where they see cats being fed. Cats are out there because of human action or inaction.”
What can attendees expect? Morgan will bring in traps and demonstrate their use. She’ll show videos, and teach how to talk to others as a colony manager. She’ll teach how to trap the “untrappable” cats. She’ll also explain how to feed cats. “There’s a protocol behind it that will make you more successful,” she said. “With TNR, responsible feeding, and colony management, the cat population will stabilize and ultimately be reduced through attrition. Neighborhood cat issues can be resolved when residents are empowered to work together in this shared objective.”
For additional information, visit: www.sacferals.com. If you’re going: Saturday, September 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.at the Carmichael Library, 5605 Marconi Avenue, Carmichael, CA.
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - At 1:44 p.m. on September 17, 2018, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Communications Center received a 911 call regarding a disturbance at a local business, located at the 10000 block of Folsom Boulevard. Two Rancho Cordova Police Department Officers, which is a contract city with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, responded to the scene. The initial call for service gave no indication that the suspect was armed or dangerous. Upon the officers arriving, they were fired upon by the suspect and were able to return fire.
The suspect fled from the initial scene on foot and was again engaged by other responding deputies at a secondary scene. The suspect was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital, where he is currently in stable condition.
During this encounter, two officers were shot by the suspect.
One officer, Julie Robertson (28), a three and a half year veteran, was shot in the arm and is in stable condition.
The other officer, Mark Stasyuk (27), was shot by the suspect. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.
An uninvolved citizen was shot, presumably by the suspect. That citizen appears to be in stable condition at this time.
Deputy Mark Stasyuk was a four and a half year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department and was assigned to the Rancho Cordova Police Department as a patrol officer. Deputy Stasyuk leaves behind a wife, mother, father, and sister. He was preceded in death by his older brother.
The investigation into the incident will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Professional Standards Division, which is standard practice for any officer-involved shooting that occurs in the Sheriff’s Department’s jurisdiction. An independent review of the officer-involved shooting will be conducted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. In accordance with the Sheriff’s Department policies and procedures, the deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.
Deputy Mark Stasyuk Memorial Fund
A memorial fund has been set up to help Deputy Mark Stasyuk’s family. Donations can be made by visiting the CAHP Credit Union website or by mailing checks to:
Deputy Mark Stasyuk Memorial Fund
CAHP Credit Union
2843 Manlove Road
P.O. Box 276507
Sacramento, CA. 95827-6507
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Behavioral health issues will plague one in four Americans in their lifetime, and half of us will care for someone living with a mental health issue during our lives. If you are not experiencing a behavioral health challenge right now, someone you know certainly is. These issues can strike someone once during their lifetime, or they may be something a person deals with every moment of every day.
In my role with Mental Health America of California, I work closely with youth and in the workplace mental health space. I see that the state of California, and the nation as a whole, is facing significant issues when it comes to behavioral health. Children are dying from substance use disorder and overdoses; they are dying from suicide. Neighbors are disabled because of behavioral health challenges.
MHAC has been working for 60 years to ensure that everyone in California who needs mental health services and support has access to appropriate help before they reach a point of crisis. But we cannot do this alone. That’s why we have joined forces with a first-of-its-kind coalition called Behavioral Health Action. The coalition brings together more than 50 diverse organizations that touch behavioral health in some way. This includes law enforcement, health care providers and hospitals, education, business, government and labor. Our goal is to elevate the issue of behavior health and raise awareness among the public and elected officials about what we can do to make a change.
Today, many elected officials are concerned about reducing costs of health care in the state of California. Others are concerned about closing achievement gaps. One way to solve these problems is to address behavioral health challenges and treatment. While we as the Behavioral Health Action coalition can create innovative solutions, it is up to the legislators to implement policies and bring change at a statewide level.
This issue runs deep. It is going to take steadfast effort from our whole village to make a dent in behavioral health outcomes and to improve the lives of people living with these challenges. If we do not include many partners with many perspectives, we’ll never make a difference.
I lost two siblings to suicide. I grew up in a family and in a community where substance use and mental health issues were prevalent, but no one ever talked about it. No one discussed treatment. Because of this, behavioral health has always been my top priority, and I hope others will give it the importance it deserves – from our neighbors and friends to our local and state representatives. We all need to take responsibility, and we all need to unite our voices, if we want to make progress on this issue.
If you are not mentally well, how can you achieve anything else? If we don’t highlight and elevate behavioral health, reduce its stigma and identify appropriate services and support that our communities need, we’re going to have many more problems before anything gets better.
I am a candidate this year for the San Juan Unified School Board. I can assure you that behavioral health will be my chief concern as I run for elected office, and I urge all other elected officials and candidates to make it a priority as well when they are on the campaign trail.
Zima Creason is President and CEO of Mental Health America of California
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Big One is Back! Circus Vargas Delivers the Ultimate Entertainment Extravaganza for 2018! Debuting their latest, new and amazing animal-free production in Citrus Heights, the much-anticipated tour begins September 20th and runs through October 14th with stops in Roseville and Folsom!
Always fun for the entire family, Circus Vargas’ incredible new production highlights an amazing cast of world renowned performers! Death- Defying Acrobats, Daredevils, Flying Trapeze Artists, Jugglers, Contortionists, Comedians, Clowns, Motorcycles and much, much, more!
Get ready to unleash your imagination and discover a world of pure circus magic and wonderment under the Big Top, where memories are made and cherished for a lifetime!
Join us for a swashbuckling circus spectacular, with this year’s theme “Dreaming of Pirates!” A fantastic voyage of nonstop action and adventure guaranteed to thrill and enchant children of all ages! Prepare to witness the impossible and experience the unforgettable!
Circus Vargas’ Dreaming of Pirates… A true circus treasure!
Arrive 45 minutes early for an entertaining, interactive pre-show celebration, where kids can create their own magic under the big top, learning circus skills such as juggling, balancing and more! Meet and mingle with the entire cast after each performance. Capture the fun by posing for pics or selfies with your favorite cast members, all part of an unforgettable Circus Vargas experience!
Ticket Information: General admission tickets start at $15 for children and $25 for adults.
For Circus Vargas performance dates, times and to purchase tickets, visit www.circusvargas.com, call 877-GOTFUN-1 (877-468-3861) or visit the box office at each location.
Follow Circus Vargas on Facebook and Twitter for updates, discounts and behind the scenes video.
ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - Orangevale Community Center was electric Sunday morning, August 26 as more than 200 men, women, and children filled the gymnasium for a two hour Zumba marathon to raise funds for the Firefighters Burn Institute’s Youth Firesetter Program. With fourteen fully energized instructors from the region on stage to guide, instruct, and inspire, the crowd sweated and burned calories from the 10 a.m. start until noon. “Zumba Love,” “Peace Love Zumba,” “Make It Happen,” “Free Zumba,” and “Zumba Boss” were some of the slogans on shirts. Red was the color of the day and fun was the attitude.
Lorie Valdez-Hobart, the event’s instructor coordinator and Zumba guru, reminded the group of the four rules of Zumba. “Let go,” she said. “Let everything go that’s bothering you. Two, keep it safe.” She reminded dancers to take breaks and keep hydrated. Water bottles lined the walls while the gym shimmied and rocked to the sounds of Reggae and Latin rhythms and a touch of hip hop. Every so often, the instructors would slow things down so dancers could towel off beads of sweat and bring heart rates down just a bit.
“There are no wrong moves in Zumba,” Valdez-Hobart shouted to the audience who returned the shout. “Have fun!” And the party began in earnest with that last rule. Instructors rotated and brought his or her personal style to the party. Dancers heeded the rules. Valdez-Hobart has been hosting the Zumbathon since 2013 when she was first contacted.
“I love doing this event!” said Valdez-Hobart, saying how “empowering it is to be able to bring over 200 people together through Zumba to raise money for such an amazing organization!”
The Firefighters Burn Institute provides many services for fire victims of all ages, including firefighters and children. Firefighters Kids Camp and Little Heroes Camp provide nurturing environments where young burn survivors can be active, do crafts, and have fun. Firefighter Robert Knaggs praised the camps and the opportunity for children to be outdoors safely. “They don’t cool off as well after being burned,” he said.
The Youth Firesetters Program offers a range of services to youth and their families. “We help the children build self-esteem,” said programs manager Kara Garrett, who works with youth as young as five in weekly classes to help them learn how to turn themselves around.
The program includes a nightly dinner, the opportunity to receive mental health and social services for the child and family, and requires the students to find a volunteer opportunity in the community and sign a note “promising to make the world a better place,” added Garrett.
Several firefighters, including some new to the field, were on hand to talk with, sell raffle tickets, take photos with, and support the event which has grown during its five years and is expected to return next August.
There are many ways to support the Firefighters Burn Institute including its annual “Fill the Boot for Burns” boot drive fundraisers and the 5th Alarm Chili Cook Off at California Automobile Museum on Saturday, October 20 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. For additional information, visit https://www.ffburn.org or www.firesetter.ffburn.org.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A baker’s dozen is thirteen as the cake enthusiasts who attended Cake4Kids’ orientation at Arcade library on Saturday, August 18 know. This second orientation in the Sacramento region for the Sunnyvale-based nonprofit drew bakers of all backgrounds and ages hailing from Carmichael, Arden Arcade, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, Rancho Murieta and beyond to learn more about Cake4Kids.
Mary Barnes, Cake4Kids’ Sacramento ambassador, led the hour long program. Barnes is a Sacramento native who first discovered the group when she lived in San Francisco. When she returned to Sacramento to pursue her legal career she wanted to bring the program with her and spoke about why she chose the eastern part of Sacramento.
“We thought about logistics,” she said, “An area where there were a good number of residential areas to pull volunteers from.”
This area, she explained, is close to freeways, homes, several nonprofits serving the demographic that Cake4Kids supports – homeless, recent immigrants, those in foster care, and victims of human trafficking – and it doesn’t cost money for parking so that left downtown and midtown out of the running.
“It is supported by Carmichael, east Sacramento, Sac State students, and ARC students. We thought it was a good location to start because of all of those factors.”
In addition to being the nonprofit’s Sacramento ambassador and tackling the job of finding volunteers, contacting agencies, and filling requests, Barnes, like other volunteers, works full time. She is also a volunteer baker and delivered the first cake in Sacramento to Opening Doors, an organization that serves individuals and families escaping human trafficking and refugees new to the area. She baked a vegan banana cake for a boy and decorated the cake with a racecar theme, complete with toy cars atop a protective layer of marzipan, and topped with vegan chocolate frosting.
“We have several requests for vegan cakes from this organization. We’re challenging our bakers right away,” said Barnes, adding that all requests had been claimed and filled since the first orientation in July with twenty attendees.
In 2010, Cake4Kids was born. Only thirteen cakes were baked and delivered that year. Fast forward eight years when more than 10,000 cakes have been baked and delivered by volunteers as far south as San Diego. The nonprofit also serves Fresno, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, and five other California counties. Each cake is prepared from scratch especially for the child, decorated, packaged in a cake box, and delivered to the requesting agency. Although volunteers never meet the children, they often receive thanks from the children or, in some cases, from the parents or caregivers.
Before volunteer bakers can claim cakes, they must attend a mandatory orientation where they’ll learn about the organization, the demographic served, logistics, and resources. One of the volunteer benefits is that each baker may take cake decorating classes and be reimbursed for up to $100.00 each year. The ability to be a fabulous decorator is not a requirement, although some cakes are quite lavish. Each cake, she added, must have the child’s name.
During the orientation, Barnes said that 60,000 children are in foster care and only 5% between 15 and 18 years of age are adopted in California. Nearly 30 percent of children are homeless in the United States, and Barnes referenced the thousands of U.S. based human trafficking cases annually. These are some of the at-risk children Cake4Kids serves.
Julie Eades, the organization’s executive director, attended the inaugural orientation in July and said in a telephone interview that, “When you’re on or near the poverty line, a cake might not be the thing you choose to spend your money on. We talk about the fact that these children get moved from home to home and sometimes they don’t get any birthday celebrations. Not because nobody cares. It’s just one thing extra that people caring for them have to think about.”
Cake4Kids serves children and young adults up to the age of 24 and Eades said that some children as old as twenty have never had a cake before the one baked and delivered by a volunteer. She also said that the older children are extremely appreciative of the cake made just for them. Everyone should feel special one day a year.
Men, women, and children 16 years and older interested in baking cakes and bringing joy to a child should sign up to be a volunteer on the organization’s website. Sacramento orientations will be held through December at Arcade and Arden-Dimick libraries. The goal is to have 100 volunteers on board. On October 20 and December 22, orientations will be held at Arcade library on Marconi from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. On November 10, Arden-Dimick will host from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. The September orientation date and location has not been set. For additional information, visit www.cake4kids.org.
Four Candidates Look to Secure Two Open Seats
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - On August 30, the 2018 San Juan Candidate Forum was held at Citrus Heights City Hall. Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the school board of the San Juan Unified School District. The candidates are incumbent Mike McKibben and newcomers Myel Jenkins, Magali Kincaid, and Zima Creason (who was unable to attend the forum).
The candidates spoke passionately about their reasons for pursuing a board seat. The event was not a debate, but rather an informational forum giving candidates the opportunity to share their views and educational priorities with district voters.
Myel Jenkins has experience as a manager in community foundations and non-profits serving teens and their families. She is also an experienced district volunteer who spent a lot of time in the classroom and in PTA leadership roles. Jenkins started attending board meetings in 2013 after participating in focus groups of African American families for the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which provides additional support to the highest-needs kids in the district. Jenkins served on the LCAP since 2014 and termed out last year. She also served on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Curriculum Choice Committee and on the Superintendent Parent Advisory Committee.
Jenkins believes the district needs to resolve the achievement gap since not all students are succeeding. She stressed the importance of responding to the changing demographics and the shifting enrollment cycles in the district. Jenkins suggests a multi-tiered approach focused on increasing early-education opportunities to make sure students are kindergarten ready and to create more pathways to prepare students for success.
Jenkins said, “I’m running because San Juan is important to me as a parent and as a community member. I’m running as a parent voice, advocating for all of our kids in San Juan and ensuring that no matter what your zip code is that your child has access to high-quality education.”
Magali Kincaid strongly believes that every student deserves a quality education. As a college and law school graduate, she is an example of the achievements that are possible when students are given the motivation and confidence they need to succeed. Kincaid has volunteered in the classroom and been involved in PTA events and school site councils. She was appointed to the Curriculum, Standards, and Instruction Committee. She also served on the LCAP Strategic Planning Committee.
Kincaid said that the district needs to do more to address issues affecting vulnerable groups (such as students with disabilities, students of color, foster youth, and homeless youth) so they don’t fall behind. She explained that there is more diversity in the district so there is a need to create meaningful partnership with students, parents, and communities so that all students are represented. She believes the district needs to provide opportunities for students to learn in many ways in order to reach all the diverse students in the district.
As an elected official, Kincaid believes it would be her moral responsibility to be both transparent and accountable to the students and the community. She stated, “I believe that our students are owed a quality education. I believe that education is not only a civil right, but a human right. And I fight every single day as an advocate of education. And I work hard to make sure that barriers to students, of all backgrounds, are broken down to make sure that our students are succeeding…We owe that to all of our students.”
Incumbent Mike McKibben is a former teacher and has spent 15 years volunteering in district classrooms. He participated in school site councils and worked on the Second Step anti-bullying campaign within the district. He has served on the Superintendent Parent Advisory Committee; the Curriculum, Standards, and Instruction Committee; and the Strategic Planning Committee. For the last four years he has been a SJUSD board member and has served as president, vice president, and clerk. McKibben said that his greatest accomplishment on the board is the upward trajectory in the district’s graduation rates, test scores, literacy rates, and participation in the visual and performing arts.
McKibben said that students in vulnerable groups feel marginalized and the district needs to ensure all students feel welcome and supported. He believes the district needs to address the high rate of suspensions by adopting alternatives such as restorative justice, cooling-off periods, and other options to keep kids in the classroom. McKibben’s priorities are making sure students feel welcome and that they know they need to make a commitment to their education.
McKibben stated, “My job as a school board member is to be the toughest question asker that I can be, to try to find out what is the right policy, what is the right way…I want to be a very careful steward of our public funds… It is important and incumbent on board members to make sure that our dollars are spent as wisely as possible. And finally, I want to be a roving catalyst: the idea of trying to find out the best ideas and put them into place so our kids can grow and thrive and find their passion.”
If you would like to watch the forum, it is available online at Youtube.com by searching “San Juan Candidate Forum 2018.”