The four seated members of the San Marino School Board selected Jeanie Caldwell to fill the fifth position at a special meeting that was held last Wednesday afternoon in the Kenneth F. White Auditorium at Huntington Middle School.
Caldwell, who previously was a member of the board from 2001-09 and served three terms as its president, emerged from a field of seven candidates that also included James F. Barger, Mackenzie Marie Brown, Daniel Fong, Pui Shan, Joanna Lam, John T. Morris and Cori Woods Solan.
The candidates were interviewed to find a successor for then-Board President Nam Jack, who resigned on Monday, May 16.
The entire interview process took a little longer than an hour before the board members glanced at their notes. Board clerk C. Joseph Chang, who, at the time of Jack’s resignation, was clerk of the school board and has since assumed the duties of president, pursuant to current board bylaws, then asked if anyone would like to put forth a nomination. Board member Shelley Ryan opened the discussion by nominating Caldwell.
“Sometimes I will say that we need to go slow so that we can move faster later,” Ryan said. “But at this particular junction in where we are with the school district there is a lot of complexity before us. I am looking for continuity and experience. We need to address things very quickly.”
Ryan then said that whoever was nominated and accepted the position would be “going right back into the district office and will be working right away.”
Ryan then nominated Caldwell, with board member Jane Chon seconding and the board confirming Caldwell by a 4-0 roll-call vote.
Before the unsuccessful candidates were thanked and excused, Chon reminded them of the upcoming election in November, where four board seats will appear on the ballot. Until then, the seat belongs to Caldwell.
“I am honored to once again serve on San Marino’s school board,” she said on Monday. “When I finished my second term on the board in 2009, I never thought I’d return. While I very much enjoyed the position, I like to see qualified parents in the role.”
However, she added, “Given the level of turnover on the board in the past year and the important decisions that need to be made in the next few months, it made sense to me that the board might benefit by having someone who had done the job before.
“While I need to catch up on the current issues, I am well-versed in district management and the board and district obligations. So, my learning curve to be an effective member of the board is a bit less than someone who has not done the job before and will hopefully allow me to add value immediately. I look forward to serving,” she added.
During its meeting on May 24, the board voted to close a superintendent search that was conducted by its consultant, the Cosca Group, without selecting a final candidate.
Chang said the board will discuss the matter during subsequent meetings in the coming weeks, and the board will update the community of any future developments.
The board continued its discussion on the superintendent search during the closed session portion of the June 8 meeting. The contract of current Superintendent Linda de la Torre ends on June 30.