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School Board Candidates Profiled For Trustee Areas 1, 4, 5
ojusd

Contested races are featured in all three areas of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District that have seats available.

In Area 1, Michele “Mickey” Manuel and Clayton Schemper are vying for the post. A three-way race for the seat is on the ballot in Area 4, with incumbent Diane Gilbert, Joshua Randol and Shirrelle O. Moore-Mmasi all seeking the board position. Area 5 sees candidates Lauren Dutch and Bill Duvall in the running.

The Leader posed the same questions to each candidate; following are their responses.

Residents in the Trustee areas 1, 4 and 5 will go to the polls – or mail in their ballots – for the Nov. 8 election, choosing three board members. Candidate responses are used in alphabetical order.

 

 

AREA 1

 

MICHELE “MICKEY” MANUEL

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

I have been involved with our schools for over 10 years. I’ve been a room mom, PTC member, and School Site Council member. I attend and actively participate in Oakdale school board, Stanislaus County Board of Education, and Stanislaus Board of Supervisors meetings. I have active communication with our City Manager, Mayor Bairos, our local Police Department, school sites, and staff. I am a US Air Force Veteran who understands funding structures, government Bureaucracy, and the importance of working as a team. When elected, I will continue to be actively involved in our community and within our school sites.

Why are you running for office?

First and foremost, my amazing daughter who will be in OJUSD for 8 more years. Secondly, for all of our current and future Oakdale youth, who need their voices heard. It is important to me to have a parent with school-age children serving on the board.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

Communication and transparency at all levels in our district. I currently have close relationships with staff and parents which I will strive to maintain throughout my terms. OJUSD parents should feel welcome on every campus and well informed of every opportunity to participate in their child’s education.

What are your priorities for this office?

My top priority will be to stand side by side with our parents, staff, and community to make sure that our children are safe and have the tools and resources necessary for a successful future. Oakdale is a growing town. We have an obligation to make sure that we are prepared for that growth & the financial impacts that will occur. I will also prioritize implementation of more AP offerings, CTE programs, and the resources the staff will need when guiding our youth to a positive future.

 

CLAYTON R. SCHEMPER

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

I am qualified for the position as the Area 1 Trustee due to my education and experience in child development and youth programming, instructional methods and teaching, along with a long-standing history of public service. I have years of experience working with Jr. High, High School and special needs children as a counselor, staffer and Program Director for Mount Hermon Christian Conference Camps and with our church here in Oakdale. Before the pandemic, I was involved in activities at Fair Oaks Elementary regarding Art Corps, class parties, Jog-A-Thon and the Harvest Festival. I have hundreds of hours in training to become certified as a Level II Instructor with the State of California and thousands of hours of instructing in both cognitive and psychomotor presentations.

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for school board because I care about my children. I care about my nieces and nephews; the kids I’ve met in my daughter’s classroom, the kids in our youth programs at church and all of their friends and neighbors. I care about your kids and the staff that works hard every day to teach them. They’re all amazing and deserve someone in this position who understands what the end result is when they have the support they need and when they don’t. Our board will only be successful if the members on it are able and willing to work together, support each other and know it’s not about a “personal” agenda but about our “people”. The seat I am running for belonged to Michael House. Mike has served our community and OJUSD for just shy of 30 years and will leave some big shoes to fill. I am extremely grateful for everything he and the other board members have done to make our schools and their programs the caliber they are and will work hard to continue on in that tradition. I was raised in a small town and have small town wholesome good ‘ol American values. Unfortunately, those values are under attack and if our kids are going to have the same opportunity we did, somebody’s going to have to dig their boots in and hold the line. Lucky for me, I have a good pair of boots and love a challenge.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

I love our schools and our teachers! I’ll be looking for ways to improve classroom resources that will help the teachers teach and the students learn with the most advanced options available.

I also plan to increase the safety of our staff and students. I have already attended training hosted by the Department of Homeland Security and included agencies such as the FBI and Secret Service. I will also be attending additional training where these organizations work to develop plans that are specific to your schools and recommend improvements to increase safety. There are a number of grants available to offset any costs associated with and work with you to obtain them. Our kids and our staff deserve to feel safe and our first responders deserve the training they need to accomplish that.

What are your priorities for this office?

To Keep a Level of Professionalism and Courtesy within the Board Meetings.

School Safety. As a first responder, I will strive to use my knowledge, skills and abilities to keep our schools and staff as safe as possible.

To be Fiscally Responsible. I have an understanding of how a budget comprised of taxpayer money can and should be spent. I’m strive for the highest quality item at the lowest price.

If anyone would like to speak to me further about this, they can reach me at (209) 841-0156.

 

 

AREA 4

 

DIANE GILBERT

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

I have been a parent in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District for 13 years. I’ve served as a long-time classroom volunteer at Sierra View Elementary, room mother, and school board trustee. I am a successful businesswoman, who has used my skills to keep our district financially sound. My husband, Jay Gilbert, and I have deep roots in our community. Jay and his family have owned and operated the A.L. Gilbert Company in Oakdale since 1892.

Why are you running for office?

I am running to continue my efforts to keep our Oakdale schools safe and drug free, including partnering with first responders and school officials to strengthen security on our campuses to ensure our students are safe. I will continue my fight to keep “critical race theory” (CRT) out of Oakdale schools.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

I will work with parents and school officials to make sure parents have the maximum opportunity for meaningful involvement in their children’s education. I will continue my efforts to ensure our students recover from the learning loss created by distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What are your priorities for this office?

I will expand college and career education programs so that Oakdale students can get good jobs. I’ll fight to keep our schools open, because students learn better when they are in the classroom. I’ll continue to work to ensure our tax dollars are spent as wisely as possible.

 

SHIRRELLE O. MOORE-MMASI

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

My qualifications are that I am a parent of 3 grown children who has gone through the educational system and graduated from college and now I am a foster mother of 4 teenage children currently attending Oakdale High School. I have over 20 years of field experience in various industries as a sales account executive, special accounts manager, and district sales manager throughout the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, San Joaquin, Merced, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Counties. I have over 15 years of Community Advocacy supporting and helping “at-risk” youth.

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for this office because I will like to become part of the solution and not the problem. I will like to bring my skills to help strengthen the school board with first-hand knowledge acquired from my experience within various communities.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

I will like to see updated policy changes that will support and promote safety and security for all children responding to the current trends.

What are your priorities for this office?

My priority for this office is to promote an all-inclusive approach to addressing student needs in Oakdale. To continue to promote programs that will enhance the educational needs of all students in Oakdale. Lastly, to strengthen security measures for students and faculty in our Oakdale schools.

 

JOSHUA RANDOL

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

I’m a father of three great kids in HS, JHS and Cloverland Elementary. I’m a six-year veteran and have worked over 15 years as a Correction Officer for the state of California.

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for office because our school system is broken. We lack any sort of transparency on what goes on within the school district. We as parents have no idea what is actually happening inside our schools.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

I would like to see parents involved in all matters within the schools. We should have a say on what happens with the kids and how the schools run.

What are your priorities for this office?

My priorities are getting the things that are broken fixed. Past maintenance is a huge issue. Parents are not being told how bad things are at the schools. I would also like an open forum at school meeting. Parent not being able to ask the questions of their leaders is a mistake that needs to change.

 

 

AREA 5

 

LAUREN DUTCH

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

I possess a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Management), have nearly three decades in customer service, am a farmer, and most importantly, a mother. The skills I have gained through work and life experiences will help me in many aspects of my duties as a School Board Trustee, including fiscal and budgeting discipline, interpersonal skills, organizing abilities, research and study habits, and a relentless devotion to ensuring the safety and well-being of those I love and serve.

Why are you running for office?

As a mother of two children who will spend the next 14 years in the OJUSD, I have the greatest investment possible to ensure a properly managed and administered school board and district. I believe I share the same sentiment as most parents in that “nothing is more important than my children.” I want to be an active contributor in the participation and decision-making process, along with the other parents and staff, to ensure the education environment our children will grow up in mirrors the values of Oakdale, Knights Ferry, and Valley Home.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

I will see that our communities are at the forefront of all decisions the Board and I make. Accountability will start with me. I hope to foster a positive relationship among Board Members, which translates to improved relationships between the Board and its constituents and ultimately gains the trust of parents toward the Board.

What are your priorities for this office?

Providing students with the highest quality of education by giving our staff the necessary tools and a positive working environment to be as effective as possible. I will strive for high standards and expectations of myself, the Board, our teachers, staff, and finally our students. I believe that a well-educated child is granted the greatest opportunity for success in life. I want nothing but the best for the children in our community. I commit to being informed of current and projected issues this district may face. I will seek to protect our schools through preventative measures. Being a mother who will be in this district for 14 years to come, I believe this longevity allows the greatest opportunity to create a welcoming and engaging relationship between the Community and the Board.

 

BILL DUVALL

Briefly, what are your qualifications for this office?

I have lived in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District since childhood and decided to raise my family and build my businesses here. My experience in operating my business for over 20 years has given me the skills to manage people, projects and budgets. These skills will assist me in making informed decisions as a school board member. I also have in depth knowledge of contracts and labor relations.

Why are you running for office?

I want to ensure that all of our children have access to the best possible education. The past two years have been very difficult for our children, schools and community. I want to bring a common sense and civil approach to board meetings so that our students can get the education and resources they need to be successful. I want to create a district wide culture of continuous improvement with clearly defined goals and plans to achieve these goals.

What would you like to see change or improve within our district?

I want to see better communication and transparency between the district office and parents so they are aware of what is happening at school no matter how big or small the project, event, or issue.

What are your priorities?

My priorities are to work with other board members and superintendent to make sure that administrative staff, teachers and students have the technology, supplies and training where needed so that OJUSD can improve from year to year. I will also work toward a comprehensive facility