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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
School

Mountain View-Whisman School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Tamara Wilson

Tamara Wilson

Parent/Research Geographer
12,359 votes (27.28%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Closing the achievement gap through innovative community involvement and by representing the often under-represented regions of Mountain View
  • Reinvestment in neighborhood schools, STEAM and project based learning in all schools, improved teacher retention through clear pathways and incentivized guidelines
  • Smaller class sizes to improve student learning and advocate for more recess time, as free play is essential for building resilient, capable problem solvers and supporting physical and mental health.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Research Geographer/Teacher/Parent
Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (2005–current)

Education

University of Arizona Masters Degree, Geography (2002)
California State University East Bay Bachelors Degree, Environmental Studies (1997)

Community Activities

Board Member, Soul 2 Soul (2014–current)
Little Free Library host, Little Free Library (2014–current)
Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, Mountain View Whisman School District (2015–current)
Student Attendance Area Task Force, Mountain View Whisman School District (2016–current)

Biography

I am, first and foremost, a mother to my 6 year old son. I moved to Mountain View in 2009 and began volunteering with Reading Partners at Castro Elementary School, helping struggling readers after school. I have long been passionate about teaching, community development, and giving back. I have volunteered with Global Volunteers in eastern Romania helping orphaned children feel safe, loved, and cared for. In 2011 my family purchased our first home, setting down permanent roots in Mountain View. I am a Physical Scientist and Research Geographer and have worked for more than a decade, utilizing my graduate training in biogeography, climate change, paleo-climate (past climate), and research techniques applied to the study of modern land change detection and land use impacts on protected areas and water resource use. I am a seasoned public speaker, having given presentations at national and international scientific meetings as well as in schools and for the school board. I have taught university level courses and tutored and mentored many students throughout my career. I host a Little Free Library in front of my home to help the community bond over the love of reading.

I grew up in Livermore, California attending public schools and public universities throughout my education. I attended community college, Cal State University East Bay, and the University of Arizona where I received many grant awards and scholarships, while earning a Masters Degree in Geography and a certificate in Learner-Centered Teaching. I am a lover of nature and the outdoors and have walked, hiked, and paddled (dragon boat, outrigger canoe, and wooden log raft) in many places.

I have been involved with the MVWSD for several years, attending numerous school board meetings, giving presentations, serving on the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee and the Student Attendance Areas Task Force, member of the Huff PTA, volunteering for the Living Classroom, and meeting with individual trustees, PTA groups, as well as the new Superintendent. With my knowledge of the current issues facing the district and my existing and growing partnerships, I hope to bring new energy, new ideas, and improved effectiveness back to the MVWSD Board of Trustees.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Maria Marroquin, Day Worker Center
  • Joan MacDonald, former MVWSD Trustee, co-founder of Community Health Awareness Council
  • Mountain View Voice Editorial Board

Organizations (2)

  • El Observador Editorial Board
  • Board of the Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association

Elected Officials (4)

  • Joan MacDonald, former MVWSD Trustee and co-founder of Community Health Awareness Council
  • Juan Aranda, former MVWSD Trustee
  • Robert Weaver, former City Planning Commissioner of Mountain View
  • Roger Noel, former MVWSD Trustee

Individuals (45)

  • Terry Gill
  • Alex Ross
  • Stuart Eichert
  • Rachel Yabut
  • Rosemary Fones Walczak
  • Ray Morneau
  • Ruth Schneider
  • Karen Wilson-Fontaine
  • David Stein
  • Marian Cacciatore
  • Neelam Patel
  • Aurora Romero
  • Valerie Bubb Fenwick
  • Julie and Chuck Muir
  • Jessica Ghandi
  • Vera Osmantseva
  • Mike Sly
  • Gordon and Robin McCreight
  • Marshall Norton
  • Julia Neben
  • Gary Rosen
  • Elizabeth Welshock
  • David Ristedt
  • Derek and Julia Sousa
  • Kevin Thurber
  • Cahty Loudon
  • Vicki Chang
  • Lana Chan
  • Ash Gupta
  • Princi Gill
  • Veronica Reginaldo
  • Eileen Pena
  • Sonia Giri
  • Amy Sykora
  • Kelley Ketchmark
  • Steve Bell
  • Ken Brent
  • Christina Oran
  • David Olmos
  • Sandee Schlaak
  • Liz Varnerin-Riley
  • Peter and Marigold Boe
  • Rohan Sehgal
  • Peggy Prendergast
  • Michael Bhukin

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I’m a district parent, former teacher, professional scientist, author, and community advocate. I bring these varied talents to the job of Trustee.

 

My son is a 1st grader at Huff but will likely be moved to the new Slater school when it reopens. He will move on to Crittenden for Middle School. I live in an area north of Central Expressway, with little to no representation on the Board.

 

I have taught university-level courses, tutored kids learning disadvantages, and participated in elementary school outreach for Earth Science education as a federal scientist. I hold a Learner Centered Teaching Certificate from the University of Arizona.I am a professional scientist, working as a Research Geographer analyzing historical land change and modeling these changes into the future to predict future water demand in California – a hot topic given the persistent drought. My background is in paleo-climate and climate change science.I have been an active community builder and have served as a grant writer and board member for non-profit groups. Before my son was born I volunteered with Reading Partners at Castro Elementary School, reading to children after school to help them learn English. I currently host to a Little Free Library in my front yard to bring together my community around a love of reading.

I’ve been involved with the District since my son was 3 years old, attending meetings and meeting with Trustees and former Superintendent Goldman and Dr. Rudolph both individually and as part of my greater community. I have served on the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee and the Student Attendance Area Task Force and hope to continue to work with the District to ensure ALL of Mountain View’s kids get the education they deserve. In my time on various committees I see a clear lack of representation from some of our schools, which translates into no voice.

 

I am an avid supporter of neighborhood schools and believe we need to limit enrollment at the Choice Program or else we risk them growing at the expense of our neighborhood schools. I believe we can do this by implementing project-based learning curriculum at all of our schools.If elected, I will boost community involvement in the under-represented areas of Mountain View and  recruit existing leaders in our English Language Learner communities to help us implement early intervention programs and close the achievement gap. I’ll work to expand our pre-school program to better serve our lower income kids in these first, critical years of learning.  I’ll push for smaller class sizes to improve student learning. I’ll advocate for more recess time, as free play is essential for building resilient, capable problem solvers and supporting physical and mental health. Our kids have so much adult-structured activities in their lives they need this time to develop concepts of self, social interaction, and free choice. I’ll support passage of a new parcel tax which brings in 2.8 million dollars for teacher salaries. Same structure, same rate. I feel the same about Prop. 55. It is easier to agree to continue existing taxes, than enact new ones. I’ll support innovative and proven teacher hiring and retention programs, to help us keep the great teachers we have and to recruit more.

 What sets me apart...........I have a 1st grader in the District and believe parents with children in the District are best suited to oversee policy for the District. We are the ones with our “boots on the ground,” helping our young learners navigate the new common core curriculum every night during homework time.My child will attend Crittenden Middle School, one of two middle schools in the District with no representation on the Board. We need equal representation across all parts of Mountain View to ensure equality, equity, and inclusiveness. My strong teaching background makes me unique. I’ve taught university level classes, tutored students with learning disadvantages, and hold a learner-centered teaching certificate.

I’m a professional scientist, with experience analyzing complex, data-driven problems, rendering scientific judgement, and publishing results.

I have a working knowledge of the District’s issues and future challenges and will be first-hand witness in my current school, my potential future school, and when my child enters Middle School.

I believe we can emerge from these past few tumultuous years even stronger than ever. If elected I intend to bring stability, unity, and effectiveness to the Board and usher in a new, positive, and inclusive era for the District. In a true representative democracy, everyone has a voice.

 

I appreciate your time and would be honored by your vote on November 8th.

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