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Accolades, Farewells At School Board
school board
Outgoing Oakdale Joint Unified School Board Student Representative Rachelle Pabalan, left, welcomes 2015-2016 Student Representative Michael Winders during her final meeting on Monday night.


It was a night of acknowledgements, general business and a fond farewell as the Oakdale Joint Unified School District hosted its final school board meeting of the traditional school year.

The gavel was ceremoniously passed to student school board member Rachelle Pabalan to run the final meeting of her term on the panel.

Sierra View teacher Linda Kraus addressed the group during the public comment portion of the meeting, speaking as a volunteer for the Sober Grad Committee. Kraus stated volunteers were still needed for the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. timeslot for Sober Grad this year. Persons interested in volunteering may contact her at

Recognition was given to Kim Spencer of Sierra View Elementary and Terry Trowbridge of Cloverland Elementary for their recent honor of CTA School Bell Awards. Cloverland teacher Lori Guyll was also acknowledged for her Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year Finalist honor. Guyll was in the top three in the county among her grade level group of K-3.

Student school board member Pabalan was indeed the darling of the night as she was not only graciously thanked by the board for her efforts and dedication to her job, but equally congratulated for being named the Leo Volz Scholarship recipient.

“I can tell you as a Superintendent, I actually look forward to Rachelle’s reports,” Superintendent Marc Malone said of the student. “We’ve had many student board members through the years, but I don’t know that we’ve had anybody that is any better than her in their ability to articulate the reports and then be able to explain in detail what’s going on in detail at each of the sites.

“I did want to publicly thank her for her work and her efforts. It was greatly appreciated and our students were the beneficiaries because of it.”

“You’re an incredible woman,” board trustee Mike Tozzi said to the senior, “and I think you’re going to be an incredible role model as you move on in your career at college and after that. You’ve shown all the attributes of what an incredible woman and an incredible person can be.”

Additional comments were made by fellow trustees including President Diane Gilbert naming Pabalan as one of three natural public speakers she’s come to know through her illustrious career.

Pabalan, overwhelmed by their words, graciously thanked the board. She also gave her final Student Board Representative report, followed by the introduction of the 2015-16 School Board Representative Michael Winders.

“Michael has always been a dear friend of mine,” Pabalan said. “He is a year younger than me obviously and he is replacing me next year.

“One of the most impressive qualities of Michael is his ability to push himself in ways that are not characteristic for juniors in school. I honestly cannot even think of a better person to replace me on the school board next year.”

Though he knows his predecessor will be hard to replace, Winders told board members he feels up to the challenge.

“Rachelle has been a really good role model for me,” Winders explained. “She’s been there for me when I need an essay to be proofread at 1 a.m. in the morning, she’s there.

“I’d like to thank her, I have a tough act to follow, so thank you so much.”

In regular business before the board, all consent items were approved.

A Public Hearing was opened as well in regards to the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and District Budget. Public Hearings to consider approval of both items will be revisited at the June school board meeting.

Concluding her service, Pabalan had a few final words.

“Being able to serve on this board has definitely fed into my goal to go into educational policy making in California,” she indicated. “To possibly be a teacher on the way or come back and do that for the rest of my life. I cannot even express how much this unique position has offered me and coming from this town that I feel, I hope I have been able to convey how much it means to come from this town. It’s just meant so much to me. I really, really, really appreciate it. Thank you, thank you so much.”

The next school board meeting is set for Monday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be hosted at the Oakdale City Council Chambers.