With a unanimous vote, the Menlo Park City School District Board of Education appointed Jeffrey B. Child to the Board of Education Tuesday night.
The criteria that weighed most heavily in his favor were the amount of experience he has serving on boards and a familiarity with the challenges the district is experiencing.
“We need to be a tight ship here in process and in clarity of purpose in the year going forward,” said Maria Hilton, president of the .
The standard term for a board member is four years. However, as the seat on the board that Child will fill was vacated with one year remaining in the term, many of the board members concurred that the individual chosen that night needed to “hit the ground running.”
“Until you’re on this board, you don’t realize the learning curve,” said Board Member Joan Lambert, who is serving the seventh month of her term. “There’s a very narrow window here and we have a very important journey ahead of us; it takes the better part of a year to become fully productive,” said.
Child will serve the remainder of outgoing Board Member Mark Box’s term, starting on July 1, through December of 2012. Box is relocating to Barcelona. This is the first time that a board member has not completed their term of office in the nine years he has served the district, Superintendent Ken Ranella said.
During the special board meeting held for the purpose of deciding who would be appointed to the position, the Board interviewed who had a variety of strengths, including business acumen and educational curriculum development. Each was asked five questions and given 30 minutes to respond that night, although some of the candidates indicated that they had met with Ranella in advance of the meeting. Some, like Child, had also met with the superintendent who will succeed him next academic year, Maurice Ghysels.
After deliberating the benefits of each candidate, the person the board had decided upon became clear. Lambert motioned to appoint Child and was seconded by Laura . Discussion ensued.
“Jeff has always been the finance guy,” said Board Member Terry Thygesen. “The deep experience that Jeff brings in finance has proved to be uniquely valuable on a number of occasions when we served together as finance liaisons to Ken,” said.
Child only recently stepped down from the board in when his term ended in December 2010 election, after serving as its president for the year. Voters initially elected him to the board in 2006. During that time, he served on the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation, as well as the Finance and Audit Committee for the City of Menlo Park, a position, which he still holds. Child is also a Member of the Board of Directors at Amerigroup Corporation and the Menlo-Atherton High School Foundation for the Future.
“I was born and raised here, went to schools here, and I have two children who are still in the district,” Child said. “I’m also a homeowner here, so I’ve got skin in the game,” he said.
In his statement of purpose, Child said that his chief objectives would be to continue to focus on eliminating the achievement gap, maintain fiscal stability in the district, promote overall achievement in the district, and ensure a smooth transition into the new Superintendent.