Graduations, Trustee Elections, Superintendent Search & More

Congratulations to all MDUSD graduates!  See list of ceremonies here.

I enjoyed speaking at College Now's graduation this week, and look forward to representing the board at YV High's on Tuesday as well.

Trustee Mason gave a truly inspiring speech at Mt Diablo High's graduation last night, about the strength, diversity and persistence of students there as well as strong family values - the community has so much to be proud of.  Go Red Devils!


Career Days

I also enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for engineering with Rio Vista Elementary students at their career day. They showed me how they incorporate engineering into classes with projects like bridge building, how to clean up oil from the oceans, and building circuits with EiE (Engineering is Elementary) kits. My student ambassador was a 3rd grade impressive student council leader and peacemaker.

Great to see so many other professions represented too - here are counselor/equity coordinator and coach/accountant!


The end of this school year is near, but school district business doesn't stop. Read on to see what's going on and how you can help in June:

By-Trustee Area Elections

Did you know that Mt Diablo is moving to by-trustee area elections?  The school board passed a resolution on May 13th to move forward with this process, which is happening in school districts and cities throughout California.  There will be 2 public hearings before maps are drawn (during June 10th and 24th board meetings), and then forums and community meetings to review draft map options.  Here are the MDUSD notification of the meetings, draft timeline and resolution.

Superintendent Search

Wondering what is happening in the search for a new Superintendent?  MDUSD hired Leadership Associates to organize and run the process, and we are fully confident in their experience and abilities. Visit the District’s website here, for timelines and up-to-date information.  

Education Funding 

Thanks to all who rallied May 22nd in Sacramento for education funding!  School board members, teachers, PTA and more from all over California went to convince state legislators that full and fair funding is needed now.  Thank you MDEA for organizing buses for MDUSD teachers, staff & parents to go together.  Missed it?  You can still sign & share the petition at 

We learned at our Budget Advisory Committee meeting that the Governor's May revise unfortunately does not show a significant increase in K-12 funding over his January proposal. For MDUSD it looks like a net gain of just $60,000.  See MDUSD budget timeline and presentations here.

Next MDUSD School Board Meeting - Monday June 10th

See all meeting agendas and schedule here:

The June 10th meeting will include reports and opportunity for public input on key items like Budget & LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) and By-Trustee area elections.

Enjoy this last week of school, with graduations, celebrations & sunshine!



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Two Actions You Can Take - Superintendent Qualities & Education Funding

Your voice is needed!  Can you take a minute for two important actions - on superintendent qualities and on education funding?  

The Mt Diablo School Board is promoting community involvement in both of these important items: Superintendent Qualities & Education Funding Letters to Legislators

Superintendent Qualities

Our consultants from Leadership Associates are seeking input about the desired personal and professional qualities anticipated in the incoming superintendent.

Please take a minute to fill in this online survey which the Board encourages everyone to complete. The survey will be open through May 10, 2019, and is on the District’s website here, or by going to this link:

Your comments will be used in the development of the candidate profile, recruitment process, and reference checking.

Times have also been scheduled for parents/guardians to meet in person with Leadership Associates. The consultants will compile a summary of all comments received during these sessions and share the report with the Board and with the new superintendent.

During the meetings, consultants will share an overview of the process, and then ask two primary questions:

  • What are the desirable qualities, characteristics, background and professional and personal experiences for the next superintendent?
  • What do you see as the strengths of the district and the major challenges facing the district in years ahead?

Several meeting options have been scheduled; we invite you to attend one which best fits your schedule.  The meetings will be held:

  • 10:15 a.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Board Room, District Office, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord, 94519
  • 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Mt. Diablo High School – Library, 2450 Grant Street, Concord, 94520
  • 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Northgate High School – Library, 425 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek, 94598
  • 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Concord High School – Library, 4200 Concord Blvd., Concord, 94521
  • 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Ygnacio Valley High School – Library, 755 Oak Grove Road, Concord, 94518
  • 8:30 a.m., Thursday, May 9, 2019 - Riverview Middle School – Multi Use Room, 205 Pacifica Avenue, Bay Point, 94565
  • 10:15 a.m., Thursday, May 9, 2019 - Board Room, District Office, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord, 94519
  • 6:00 p.m., Thursday, May 9, 2019 - College Park High School – Library, 201 Viking Drive, Pleasant Hill, 94523


Education Funding - Write to Your Legislator

The Mt Diablo School Board team finalized a letter at our last meeting, to inform the community about the statewide education funding crisis and how YOU can take action. That letter was emailed out to parents on May 3rd, and includes:

  1. the site, on which you can sign a petition to legislators and also sign up for Rally Day in Sacramento, which is May 22nd and includes school board members, teachers, staff, parents, and community in a joint event to raise awareness for the "silent recession" hitting our schools.
  2. links to email your state legislators to say - it is time to move CA to the top in our nation's per pupil funding (we are now ranked in the bottom 10 states). Mt Diablo schools and others around the state are facing painful cuts, even while our state is the 5th largest economy in the world.  (include a specific example from your school too if you can) - Here are clickable links:


Next MDUSD School Board Meeting - Monday May 13th

See all meeting agendas and schedule here:

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April 2019 - Education Funding, Committees, Mental Health Resources

Happy Spring, Passover, Easter, Bihu to you all! 

Here's the latest news from school board, including resources and how you can help:

Next MDUSD School Board Meeting - Monday April 22nd

See the agenda here, including a call to action education funding letter, Measure J Bond sales, and intent to establish trustee areas.  Due to high interest in public comment, the first portion of the meeting may take place at Monte Gardens next door. 

Education Funding

Thank you to our Board President Joanne Durkee for coordinating a group of us to meet together with our Assemblymember Grayson on March 28th – including the two of us, superintendent Dr Meyer, MDEA president Anita Johnson, and CSBA organizer Gabe Weis.  We shared stories from our district schools, to give him clear examples of specific successes of our schools as well as serious challenges we face.  Asm Grayson stated his support for AB39 as well as his passion for special education and career tech options.

That night at the Town Hall there was a good crowd with a lot of cheering as Asm Bauer-Kahan, Asm Grayson and Sen Glazer all publicly stated their support for full and fair education funding through AB39.  They asked how many in the audience were parents, teachers, or students.  I think it made a big difference that so many people attended and submitted education questions that night, as well as at previous Town Halls and through emails and visits. Keep sharing!

Advisory Committees

Measure J - Citizens Bond Oversight Committee is forming – apply here!  We’re seeking broad representation from all areas of the district and including parents, business members, and even a student.  

I attended the Budget Advisory Committee on March 27th.  CBO Rose Ramos shared details with the committee from budget presentations, as well as answered questions on details such as the line item called “books & supplies”.  Don't miss the Negotiations Update that is now posted publicly on the MDUSD website: view here.

Superintendent Resignation

Dr Nellie Meyer announced that she has accepted a job as superintendent of Mountain View Los Altos District, starting in July.  We are so very thankful for all that she has done to build community and innovation in our Mt Diablo Schools, and wish her success in her new role!  She will be greatly missed, and we will strive to continue her vision of thoughtful, strategic initiatives to ensure quality education for all.

Our school board is working hard as a team to ensure a clear process for our search for a quality superintendent who will be the best match for our district.  Stay tuned for details on how community will be involved.

Community Events

  • NAACPI enjoyed attending the NAACP annual membership & scholarship banquet on April 6th, which included scholarships for high school students from Pittsburg and Antioch.  A big thank you and shout out to Willie Mims, Velma Wilson, and local NAACP East County leaders who volunteer countless hours for our communities.
  • PTA: On April 12th I attended PTA Advocacy Day for Education in San Ramon.  The focus was mental health, including these resources - 
  • IHTA: On April 19th, Trustee Debra Mason and I attended the IHTA Community Sponsors Presentation at John Muir. Ms Mason opened the event with enthusiastic words of encouragement to the students, along with Concord's mayor Carlyn Obringer, County Superintendent Lynn Mackey, and Visit Concord's Elaine Schroth.  The Mt Diablo High seniors presented professional business plans, costs, and video commercials for their upcoming Hospitality Fest, and interacted with local business leaders.  IHTA teachers & staff are connecting the dots to build relationships between school, career and community!
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Speak out to State Legislators

Ask Your Legislators to Increase State Education Funding

Do you know that the majority of our education funding comes from the state?  and that we are in the bottom 10 of all 50 states in per student spending?  This level of investment means we also rank in the bottom 10 in class size (teachers per student), librarians per student, counselors per student and more. (see

Newly elected local Assemblymember Bauer Kahan has just become a co-author for AB39, which would significantly increase the base state funding for all TK-12 schools.  Let's get the rest of our state legislators to join her!

  • TONIGHT - Monday March 11, 6:30pm-7:30pm - You can attend the Town Hall at Holbrook Elementary School, 3333 Ronald Way, Concord, with State Senator Glazer and Assemblymember Grayson.  Call Grayson's District Office at (925) 521-1511 to RSVP. Please ask them both to sign on in support of AB39.
  • Tuesday March 12 - I'll be meeting with each of our legislators in Sacramento, along with school board members from throughout our region, for CSBA lobby day (CA State School Boards Association)


Next School Board Meeting: TONIGHT - Monday March 11th, 7pm

Watch online, listen here, or attend in person.  Key topics: budget, summer school, facilities. 


Facilities Master Plan


Spotlight on events

Support our Mt Diablo students at:

  • Districtwide STEM Showcase - Swing by to see students present top projects from each elementary school, play with robots with our robotics teams, and more!  This Saturday March 16th, 9-11am at Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane, Concord.
  • County Spelling Bee - winners from our school sites each compete next Saturday March 23rd at the county level spelling bee.  Tice Valley Gym, Walnut Creek.  Stop by to cheer them on!

Onwards together,

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Awards, Facilities, Apprenticeships & more

It's been a busy first month of 2019!  Please read on to see how you can nominate excellent people for awards, attend facilities town halls, share out apprenticeship opportunities, and more...


Nominate Excellence Today

Know of an exceptional person in our Mt. Diablo schools? Please nominate them for an award! Deadline Feb 28.

Categories are:

Awards for Teachers:
- Leadership & Courage
- Creative Curriculum
- Most Inspirational
- Community Involvement
- Lifetime Achievement

Awards for Non-Teachers:
- Outstanding Classified Employee
- Outstanding Administrator
- Outstanding Parent Volunteer
- Outstanding Volunteer Organization

Take a minute to click here to nominate:

All nominees will be listed in the program.

Then save the date to attend the 2019 Gala & Academy Awards - Thursday, May 9 at Centre Concord, 5 - 9 pm.


Attend Facilities Town Hall Meetings

The districtwide Facilities Master Plan efforts are moving along, and are ready for YOUR input!  Please prioritize attending a town hall meeting.  They are all taking place in the next two weeks.  See schedule below. (please note: Feb 20th, 3-4:30pm is an addition to the schedule - for Eagle Peak, Clayton Valley & Rocketship, location TBA)


Share Apprenticeship Opportunities

Our area has many well paid apprenticeship opportunities thanks to local unions, providing solid careers with minimum requirements of being 18 years old and in some cases passing a basic math test. 

Here's one from

(510) 782-9483

Next written test will be in June 2019.  Hiring every January & August.


Join Budget Advisory Committee

Each school board member may appoint one community member to our district Budget Advisory Committee. They meet Wednesday nights at 5pm every other month.  Please let me know if you are interested or know someone who is!


Next School Board Meeting: Monday February 11th, 7pm

Watch online, listen here, or attend in person.  Key topic: budget. 

Our district is facing possible budget cuts & layoffs, as are many districts around California this year.  A detailed presentation on budget was given at our Jan 28th meeting and is on the agenda for Feb 11th as well.  You can see both as attachments within the agendas online. 


Take Action for Statewide Education Funding!

Please sign the petition at

and for detailed state level Stanford study see


Onwards together,

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Thank you and Save the Date Dec 17 @7pm

You're invited! 

Thanks to all of your support, I will begin my term on the Mt Diablo School Board this December.  Our work is just beginning, as my role on school board is to represent all our constituents in our districtwide policy decisions and budget oversight.  This cannot be done alone.  As we begin this journey together, I want to recognize you for your participation and passion for our vision of a quality education for every student.

Please save the date to join me at the

Mt Diablo School Board Member Swearing In Ceremony

Date: Monday December 17th  

Time: 7pm

Location: Mt Diablo Unified School District Office, Dent Center, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord, CA 94519.

This is a short ceremony at the beginning of the school board meeting that night.  (please note, this meeting was originally set for December 10th, but was rescheduled to the 17th)


What a Journey!

While an uncontested school board race meant a sudden end to my campaign, we sure didn't stop campaigning this fall.  I am so thankful for each of you who moved right over with me to volunteer for the urgent Measure J Campaign for Safe, Quality Schools.  There was so much to do, starting a bond campaign committee from scratch, and Kathryn Durham Hammer stepped up to lead the campaign with gusto.  Our small but mighty campaign team worked nonstop for months.  

We did it!  Measure J passed with an over 69% YES vote, thanks to the grassroots volunteer work of so many of you.  Together we knocked on a total of 4,584 doors, made 1,627 phone calls, sent 15,207 text messages, and planted 900 lawn signs.  Those person-to-person conversations are what makes the difference, and we worked all the way through on election day too, bringing in those last votes. 

Here's a photo of wonderful teachers rallying for Measure J.  

Parents, students, staff, principals and community groups all joined in too - walking miles for our schools. 


This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful to live in a community of people who care so much about our students and schools, who are willing to step up and do the hard volunteer work it takes to ensure all voices are heard, and to invest in public education for all.

I hope to see you December 17th.

With gratitude,

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Walk with me

Our Mt Diablo students from Mt Diablo High and Riverview Middle truly inspire me.  Over 50 of them walked the Bay Point neighborhoods on a Sunday afternoon for Measure J!  They each had thought through exactly why Measure J school safety and upgrades were personally important, and bravely and enthusiastically knocked on doors.  

But we can't be successful in this campaign without YOU.  Each and every vote will show whether our communities are ready or not to invest in our school building safety & upgrades, and voting has already begun!  Please join us to walk, text, email friends & colleagues to vote #YesonJMtDiablo .

This Saturday, take an hour or two to meet us at the beautiful Dave Brubeck park next to Concord High, eat our snacks & grab a clipboard, and then pair off to walk neighborhoods together.  Your actions can make all the difference.  Kids of all ages are welcome! Email [email protected] to RSVP and get our cool walking app.  #TogetherWeCan 

And please forward this email or share this video - an in depth view of Measure J:


Ever thankful for your participation,

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Call to Action

Victory!  Thank you all.

Our campaign was a success! An uncontested race means that I will begin as a Mt Diablo School Board member this December, and I will not be listed on the November ballot.  

Thanks to all who came to our spontaneous victory ice cream celebration! You can view my thank you speech here:

and see the full album of photos on our Facebook page too.

Donations given

Remember when I said I'd donate $10,000 to the Foundation?  Yes, since we no longer needed to spend it on campaign materials for my school board race, we are able to give directly to the district-wide nonprofit to benefit all students.  And we ended up deciding to write not just one large check, but two.  

The first check we wrote was $8000 to the MDUSD Education Foundation, which is already providing arts this fall to students in our elementary schools, and will soon begin science and math enrichment as well.  You can help these programs reach even more students -- Join the Foundation team for the Oct 6th Break a Sweat run/walk for education here.

The second was $2000 to the Yes on J - Neighbors for Safe, Quality Schools Campaign.  We decided to invest some of our campaign funds in the Measure J campaign, because if it passes it will provide crucial funding to update our aging facilities and ensure student safety.

Call to Action - Get Involved to Pass Measure J for our kids!

Since that wonderful ice cream party, I've been busy non-stop volunteering for Measure J.  To me this is one of the most urgent items on our local November ballot!  I hope that you will join us.

The committee to pass Measure J is a grassroots organization of parents, teachers and community members who care about our students—and we need your help! Here are five ways you can make sure Measure J is a success:

  1. Vote YES on Measure J: Measure J will appear near the end of your long ballot—remember to go to the end and vote YES on J!  If you vote by mail, look out for your ballot the week of October 8th.  
  2. Endorse Measure J: Lend your name to the campaign by publicly endorsing the measure.  Endorse by clicking here 
  3. Put up a YES on J lawn sign: Show your support by putting up a YES on J sign in front of your home or business. Order yours here
  4. Donate to the campaign: This is a grassroots effort.  Every donation — no matter how big or how small — will help get us over the top!  Donate here.
  5. Precinct Walk for J: Walk your neighborhood with friends and help us talk to voters!   Join us this Saturday in Clayton/Concord from noon-3pm, meeting at The Grove.  Click here to RSVP!

See you out there soon.


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Tonight our campaign is officially finished - and a success! 
Only 3 people filed by tonight's deadline for the 3 seats, so I will become the new MDUSD school board member on December 7th.

Thank you to everyone who joined and helped along the way to build our community of people working to improve all our schools!

Please come to our Saturday Ice Cream event - which will now transition from a kickoff to a Thank You Celebration!

We can't wait to thank each and every one of you.
We'll also have news about upcoming actions you can take together with us to improve our schools. 

Saturday August 18th, 1-3pm

Concord Community Park, Picnic Site #1 (by playground)

**Please RSVP so we know how much ice cream to buy!**

RSVP and see details here:

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Ready to File

With less than 100 days til the election, I've pulled my papers and am getting ready to officially file my candidacy for Mt. Diablo School Board. 

*What if only 3 people file for 3 spots?  Then there would be no campaign, but I would still hold Meet & Greets in all communities to best represent everyone.  (And if that happened, I would donate $10,000 of campaign funds to the MDUSD Education Foundation.)*

Either way, we'll soon be at a location near you!   

Together we can reach every corner of our district to hear the hopes and concerns of our communities for our schools.

We have 3 Free events planned in Bay Point, Concord and Clayton:

Bay Point Meet & Greet, Saturday August 11th, 10am-2pm

  • Free hot dog, corn dog, or car wash to the first 100 people!
  • balloon animals for kids from Dilly Dally the Clown!
  • Lorena Pena que habla español, estará también presente para poder facilitar
    cualquier traducción que sea necesaria para sus preguntas y respuestas.


Concord Ice Cream Campaign Kickoff, Saturday August 18th, 1-3pm

  • Free ice cream & toppings for all!
  • Shady area with playground nearby
  • Meet the campaign lead from your neighborhood!
  • Share your ideas for our schools


Clayton Meet & Greet, Thursday August 30th, 7-8:30pm

  • Informal opportunity to meet Cherise at a local Clayton home


Please take 5 minutes for 5 quick actions:

1. Click to endorse my campaign

2. Donate any amount - even $10 adds up

3. Share - forward this email, Like/share on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, like on Instagram

4. RSVP to events and to volunteer

5. Invite - friends to like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter & Instagram, and to events in their neighborhood. Let me know if you can host a Meet & Greet at a park, cafe, or home in your neighborhood too!

See you out there soon,

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