Incumbent Ashley Neumann and newcomer Timothy May are running to be an Area 2 trustee on the Nevada County Board of Education.
The person elected will begin their term alongside the second Area 2 trustee Heino Nicolai, whose position will be up for reelection in 2022.
This position represents Clear Creek, Grass Valley, and Ready Springs school districts.
After a 45-year teaching career at the high school and community college levels, Timothy May said he is running for the county Board of Education because he is looking to “get back and serve.”
“Teaching is what I know … public education is what I know,” he said.
May said he decided to run for the county Board of Education as opposed to a district board “because of all the umbrella services they provide to the local school districts.” He said he supports and, if elected, would aim to expand programs aiding student nutrition, and countywide internet access in order to “bridge the digital divide,” as well as the coordination of daycare services.
He said he would prioritize these services within budget oversight, which he said is a top issue for the board. “Primarily, the county board serves the local school districts.”
May said it would be a “terrible misconception” to attempt to play a role in determining the policies of local school districts as a Board of Education trustee.
“One of my goals is to collaborate with the board to make sure that our function by law is followed, and not denigrate or in any way criticize local school districts,” he said.
May said that, as a trustee, he would have the goal of supporting local school districts by advocating for resources such as instructional or staff development coaching. He emphasized that this support falls within the purview of the board, and that these resources should be offered on the basis of district request, taking into consideration their feedback on what is needed.
“The Nevada County public school system is doing a good job in very trying times, and I want these local school districts to have our support at the county level,” said May.
“As soon as we can open up avenues that can help these families … I believe that we should, as a society, want to do that to help them,” said Ashley Neumann, describing how a drive to support vulnerable students and families amid the COVID-19 pandemic motivates her to seek reelection to the Board of Education.
“We’re supposed to represent all of our constituents, especially the marginalized,” she said, explaining that distance learning as implemented in response to the pandemic has caused some families significant financial instability.
Neumann said that, although decisions regarding the adoption of particular instructional models are up to individual districts, she aims to affect change as a Board of Education trustee by supporting the superintendent of schools in funding “whatever needs to be funded to help families,” and in particular those of children with special needs.
She said her experience presenting at both schools overseen by the Board of Education — Earle Jamieson Educational Options and Sugarloaf Mountain School — inspired her first run for this position as she felt motivated to represent under-served communities in the county, including those attending alternative education programs or who are detained in county juvenile hall.
Neumann has previously worked as a press aide, homeschooled her children for a period of time, and has experience in medical sales.
“I feel like I have a lot to give,” she said, in reference to applying her varied skillset to the goal of being a voice for under-represented communities.
Neumann said she looks forward to seeing what the board can achieve in the upcoming term. Having been elected to her current position in 2016, she would be the most senior member of the board next term if reelected.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.