Running in the Nov. 8 election for Morgan Hill Unified School District Trustee for Area 4 are businesswoman Pamela Gardiner and incumbent Carol Gittens.
Gittens was elected to her first term on the MHUSD Board of Education in 2018. Her background includes more than 30 years experience as an educator, Gittens said in reply to questions from the Times.
“I have mentored teachers to promote critical thinking across mathematics, language arts, reading, science, social studies and the arts,” Gittens said. “I have collaborated with teachers, librarians and community leaders to implement literacy programs to serve students who are academically at risk. I am a strong proponent of family engagement and have both volunteered and led parent and peer education programs.”
Gardiner has lived in Morgan Hill since 1998, and runs a family business, according to her campaign website. She has “a wealth of knowledge and experience in navigating complex business transactions, making her an ideal candidate to navigate the financial/legal issues and initiatives as they relate to school curriculum,” the website says.
The Times sent both candidates a series of questions about their candidates for the MHUSD board of education. Gardiner did not respond. Gittens’ responses are below.
Why are you running for re-election to your seat on the MHUSD Board of Education?
I am running for re-election to continue to fund high quality educational programs and district enhancement projects. Our district showed incredible resilience during the greatest education challenge of the modern era—the Covid-19 pandemic. I seek re-election to promote a safe and strong return to in-person learning.
In my second term as Area 4 trustee, I will continue to endorse funding and programming that allows every teacher and school in MHUSD to have the resources, facilities, extra-curricular programs and opportunities to provide a rich and effective learning environment for our children.
What are some of your ideas for improving school safety and eliminating bullying and student violence in the schools?
If re-elected as Area 4 trustee, I will endorse funding for site safety enhancements and safety training for district personnel. I am committed to broadening the psychological services available to our students, including expansion of our campus wellness centers and community centers. I will seek enhanced partnerships with community organizations to provide before and after school care, and anti-bullying and cyber-safety training for our students and families. I believe in restorative justice approaches, in having a strong positive relationship with our School Resource Officers, and in multi-tiered support services for our students who are struggling academically or with mental health concerns.
What do you think are the top two to three issues for MHUSD, and how would you address these as a Trustee?
As MHUSD Area 4 Trustee since 2018, I have consistently voted to resource initiatives and fund positions that align with high quality academic and co-curricular programs. Coming out of the pandemic, there are three initiatives that I am committed to addressing: Together the board and district office superintendent must continue to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of our district’s children post-pandemic through the expansion of our wellness center programs; to increase overall literacy rates through training and curriculum; and to promote college and career readiness of our graduates by expanding our access to AP courses and CTE courses.