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 Susan Christman
Which Marin School Board are you running for?
SC: Larkspur-Corte Madera School Board
How long have you lived in Marin County?
SC: 20 years —so lucky!
How many children do you have in this school district?
SC: My daughter is an 8th grader at Hall Middle School and my son is a junior at Redwood High School. I am a huge proponent of the public school system.
What are the biggest challenges facing the district now and in the next 5 years?
Enrollment growth. Our district is already at 2017 demographer’s estimates of enrollment. We are fortunate that we, as a Board, have taken this issue seriously and our community has shown it’s support by passing a construction bond measure to start tackling the overcrowding problem. We have a Phase II plan in place that will complete the work we have started. Additionally, the growing numbers also reflect a shift in demographic make up in our District that mirrors the demographic changes we are seeing statewide. We must stay laser focused on adapting our programs to best serve each individual child that walks on to our campus.
What do you think are the district’s greatest strengths?
Our greatest strengths are our responsiveness and outreach. Despite being the largest elementary school in the County, our teachers and administers have really risen to the occasion to serve our children in a nurturing and adept way. Our outreach efforts and relationships beyond the campuses with the greater Twin Cities’ community has also helped to create supportive, working relationships that are key to our continued success. We were also recognized countywide with the Golden Bell award for our fiscal management and efforts to reduce costs through our many shared services with other districts and municipalities.
What would you say are the district’s greatest weaknesses?
I think we need to continue to support our teachers and inform parents as we transition to a 3 school district and adopt the common core standards. We must continue with our concerted effort to empower our teachers and build on the great foundation they have laid for teaching our children. It is an exciting time full of change that can be unsettling to some and it will be important to keep working as hard as we can to transition as smoothly as possible.
Why are you running?
I was elected to the Board 2 years ago at a time that we were seeing unprecedented education spending cuts while our student population continued to rise. This Board tackled many issues head on and with community support was able to move forward on passing a construction bond, beginning upgrades to N. Cummins and Hall and breaking ground on a much needed 3rd campus in East Corte Madera. During my tenure I have had the opportunity to be part of a Board “team” that has built upon the hard work of our predecessors in a constructive, inclusive and respectful manner. I am determined to seeing much of the work that has begun—through to its completion.
What do you feel you would bring to the school board that makes you unique?
I bring four very important qualities to the board:
- 2 ½ years of experience as a trustee,
- an appreciation that we have a limited budget and must maintain fiscal integrity
- community outreach and relationships-my experience working with the greater Twin Cities’ community on important environmental and educational issues as a public policy advocate and attorney makes me a unique member of the Board.
- an appreciation for the quality education our children receive and for how well respected our district is countywide.
What would be your main goals as a trustee during your tenure on the board?
Sustain fiscal integrity as we learn more about the Local Control Funding Formula recently adopted by the State. Ensure that we can accommodate the growing student population by passing a second construction bond to finish the great work that has been initiated. Continue to support our teachers as they incorporate the new Common Core curriculum into the classroom.