East Bay school board appoints one to trustee seat | #Education

Sherry Seat, a parent of three school-age children, was appointed a trustee for the Oakley Union School District on Tuesday evening.

Seat, who has one child at O’Hara Park Middle School and two others at Freedom High School, was the unanimous choice out of four residents who had applied for the position and were interviewed during the special board meeting. Another candidate, teacher Stephanie Marple, withdrew her name as a contender on Tuesday.

Other applicants were Joseph Klinge, Renae Callaway and Gerald Schwartz.

The Area 1 seat became open along with three other seats when the entire board resigned in late February following an embarrassing hot-mic moment. Unaware that their mics were on, the trustees made disparaging comments about parents wanting to send their children back to in-person classes so they could smoke pot or “have their babysitters back” while another used foul language to threaten someone who criticized her on social media.

After board President Liza Brizendine resigned on Feb. 18 and trustees Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito and Richie Masadas did so the next day, Contra Costa County Board of Education President Annette Lewis appointed herself and fellow county board members Mike Maxwell and Consuelo Lara to serve on an Oakley interim board until new local trustees could be seated.

A paralegal by trade, Seat said she has never served on a school board before but was a school site council participant, PTA member and committed volunteer since 2010 and has been active in other community youth organization programs.

“I have an overall sense of investment in the district and its people,” she told the board. “As a parent in the district, I obviously have a vested interest in putting forth things that will help everybody succeed.”

When asked about what her priorities would be, Seat said reopening schools was at the forefront.

“I feel like there are so many questions related to the reopening conversation,” the longtime Oakley resident said. “That’s absolutely the No. 1 priority, maintaining those discussions as thoroughly as we can, recognizing that there is some flexibility that needs to be involved.

“What’s being asked of everyone is unprecedented but we have to do the hard work.”

After hearing from the applicants, Trustee Annette Lewis nominated Seat.

“It’s not easy to pick through the candidates but I feel at this point she is the best option for us,” she said, noting she appeared best prepared to take on the position.

The other three trustees agreed but encouraged the other applicants to throw their hats in for the three at-large seats that have yet to be selected.

While Seat’s position will continue until 2024, the at-large trustees will serve only until 2022 when they will be up for election, this time for district seats.

Earlier this month, the interim board appointed Lynell Fuller to replace Larry Polk
who had resigned his seat in January and had not yet been replaced before the remaining board resigned.

The board expects to decide on the three remaining trustee seats at 4 p.m. April 6. It will be held virtually on Webex.

Applicants who so far applied for the remaining at-large seats include Cheryl Brinkman, Muriel Burns, Ann Corridon, Paul Di Donato, Wendell Dotson, Melody Foy, Samantha Loza, Jesse Marin, Britnie Milam, Conan Moats, Rafael Ochoa, Craig Pearson and Brett Williams.

For more information, go to www.ouesd.k12.ca.us.

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