Think About Your Vote
Welcome to our “Meet the Candidates” profile blog: An introduction to the leaders in our community running for school board office.
Meet Jennifer Bair Bernabei
Which Marin School Board are you running for?
JBB: The Larkspur-Corte Madera School District.
How long have you lived in Marin County?
JBB: Over 19 years.
How many children do you have in this school district?
JBB: I have two boys who attended both Neil Cummins and Hall Middle School.
What are the biggest challenges facing the district now and in the next 5 years?
- Enrollment Increases – This fall’s enrollment is equivalent to the 2017/18 headcount projections.
- Facilities – After Measure A monies are spent and Phase I is complete, the District will net no new classrooms.
- The Budget – I would like to see more transparency as to where and how money is spent in the district and why?
- Implementing the New Common Core State Standards – you can read about CCSS on the District Web Site.
What do you think are the district’s greatest strengths?
- Our teachers – the teacher/student relationship is key.
- Our location- the weather, the tide pools, SF, the parks.
- We own four properties, and rent one to Marin Primary.
- Involved parents – Volunteers, SPARK, supporting our taxes and bonds.
- The ability to link the LCM Rec. Centers with after-school activities.
What would you say are the district’s greatest weaknesses?
- I think communication could be more clear, candid, and timely. For example, I believe final building plans should have been available for the Neil Cummins and Cove School campuses prior to us voting for Measure A.
- More in-depth electives at the middle school (e.g. tech, lang, art, etc)
- Providing more training to teachers for children with learning differences.
Why are you running?
JBB: This is an exciting and pivotal time for our School District and after working on facilities issues for several years, I realized that if I wanted the process to be more inclusive and responsive to the input of parents and teachers, I needed to run for a position on the School Board. Now that there are several seats open, there is a unique opportunity for our community to have a say in how they would like to see the School Board run.
What do you feel you would bring to the school board that makes you unique?
- I’m one of the few parents who have followed the Facilities Planning Process since its inception.
- I was a substitute teacher in the Reed School District for two years (2010-2012).
- I feel my business background, along with having an MBA, will help me understand the financial aspect of this position and will help me meet my fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Corte Madera and Larkspur.
- I am the only candidate without a child in the district, which puts me in the unique position of being impartial to the decisions affecting our schools.
- Finally, I have been involved with the school district for over a decade, so I bring those experiences and knowledge with me.
What would be your main goals as a trustee during your tenure on the board?
- Primarily, I want to welcome greater input and involvement from our constituents. Presently, most of the decision-making and creativity emanates from the Board and our Superintendent. While this is desirable at times, it can also be limiting. Committees are formed and lead through a process that does not always correlate to what is implemented. As a Board Member, I want to see committee members have greater input and influence on decisions, so that members feel empowered to create the change they desire.A great example of this is SPARK, which is one of our District’s most successful assets. When my kids started in the district, parents raised approximately $250,000/year. Today, they raise over $1MM. The ability to brand themselves, adapt to changing needs, and provide a district resource through strong parent participation should serve as a role model for future committees.
- To empower our teachers and administrators to be creative, work as a team, and to generate enthusiasm by creating exciting and challenging classroom environments.
- To utilize the District’s budget in a way that has the greatest impact on the growth and education of our community’s children.
- To keep our children safe.
You can read more about Jennifer and her campaign at her website: http://theberns4.wix.com/jennifer-bernabei