Businesswoman Pamela Gardiner and incumbent Carol Gittens are running in the Nov. 8 election for Morgan Hill Unified School District trustee for Zone 4.
Gittens was elected to her first term on the MHUSD Board of Education in 2018. Her background includes more than 30 years of experience as an educator, Gittens said in response to questions from The Times.
“I have mentored teachers to promote critical thinking in math, language arts, reading, science, social studies, and the arts,” Gittens said. “I have worked with teachers, librarians and community leaders to implement literacy programs for academically at-risk students. 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 his campaign website. She has “a wealth of knowledge and experience in navigating complex business transactions, making her an ideal candidate to navigate financial/legal issues and initiatives related to the school curriculum,” the website states.
The Times sent both candidates a series of questions about their candidates for the MHUSD school board. Gardiner did not respond. Gittens’ responses are below.
Why are you running for re-election to your seat on the MHUSD School Board?
I am running for re-election to continue to fund high quality education programs and district improvement projects. Our district has shown incredible resilience during the greatest educational challenge of the modern era: the Covid-19 pandemic. I am seeking re-election to promote a safe and strong return to in-person learning.
During my second term as Zone 4 Trustee, I will continue to support funding and programming that empowers every teacher and every school in MHUSD with the resources, facilities, after-school 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 student bullying and violence in schools?
If re-elected as Zone 4 Administrator, I will approve funding for site security upgrades and security training for district personnel. I am committed to expanding the psychological services available to our students, including expanding our on-campus Wellness Centers and Community Centers. I will seek to strengthen partnerships with community organizations to provide before and after school care, as well as anti-bullying and cyber safety training for our students and their families. I believe in restorative justice approaches, building a strong positive relationship with our School Resource Officers, and multi-level support services for our students who are struggling academically or who have mental health issues.
What do you see as the top two or three issues with MHUSD, and how would you address them as a fiduciary?
As an MHUSD Zone 4 Administrator since 2018, I have always voted for resource initiatives and funding positions that align with high-quality academic and extracurricular programs. As we emerge from the pandemic, I pledge to support three initiatives: Together, the council and district office superintendent shall continue to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of children in our district post-pandemic through the expansion of our wellness center programs; increase overall literacy rates through training and curriculum; and to promote the college and career readiness of our graduates by expanding our access to AP courses and CTE courses.