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Ross Valley School District: Hadley Dettmer

Read the Q&A from district board candidate Hadley Dettmer. And check back for all the candidates' info throughout the week.

Patch will be introducing each of the four  Board of Trustee candidates this week. Elizabeth Peacock has reportedly withdrawn from the race.

The only public forum scheduled among the four candidates -- Annelise Bauer, Anne Capron, Hadley Dettmer, and Trevor Hughes -- will be hosted by Manor PTA at 's multi-purpose room on Oct. 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Each candidate has, in the mean time, volunteered to answer a number of questions for Patch.

Their answers will be published on Patch, one candidate each day this week -- in alphabetical order. Check back throughout the week.

Name: Hadley Dettmer

Age: 42

Town of Residence: San Anselmo

Occupation: Parent

Other Boards/Commissions You Serve or Have Served On: None

Do you have kids in the schools? Which schools? Three daughters at .

Why are you running for RVSD School Board? What are the key issues you think are facing the school district? 

The biggest issue I see is RVSD Board's transition to a more wide-spread social and emotional learning system so that children are unafraid to ask questions and are eager to explore their curiosities. It will take empowerment of the superintendent, principals and the teachers, and I feel well equipped for that. I have been a teacher, parent, and a student. I like to listen to people solve problems for themselves, helping where I can.

Secondly, the facilities need to get up to par, and I have some architecture understanding and some experience in running a business, and the school board is essentially the group of people who run the district.  

Lastly, our district is in need of trust; we have been on a bit of a roller coaster over the last few years, and I think I could help with that. 

How would you address budget concerns and decreasing federal and state revenue?

I feel challenged by the constraints. I don't want to sound like a Pollyanna, but we have an amazing group of teachers, parents, and students, and as long as we keep bolstering each other up, we can get through it. Learning happens between the teachers and students, and, right now, I think we have to do everything we can to maximize that experience. It is going to come from us; we are responsible for our children's education.   

Do you agree with how the district is currently dealing with the increased enrollment and overcrowding issues? What would you do differently?

Our quality of life as a family has improved tremendously from the Brooksides' transition to two schools. I have three daughters at one campus, and I am no longer making traffic or angst by driving up and down Butterfield Road anymore. We ride our bikes to one school each morning. It can just get better as the campuses become more separate. I used to be a proponent for the split campus plan, but it became quite hectic with the different schedules, communication, traffic, and parking. 

In a perfect world, each neighborhood would have their own school to walk or ride their bikes to. However, I am aware of and understand the shortfalls of the Deer Park location in Fairfax for the Fairfax families. With all that said, I wasn't immersed in the decision myself, and I trust that the people of the board and the community did the best they could.

What are the biggest issues that need to be resolved regarding Measure A construction?

The improvement and expansion of is by far the biggest issue, and it is the district's first priority. If all goes as planned, the construction will start in June 2012. Next up is the improvement and expansion of the four elementary schools, which is scheduled for 2014. What the board seems to be focused on right now is firmly keeping the project in the budget because we only have the money from Measure A.

In the long-term, how can the district ensure its financial sustainability and sustainable growth?

The only way I know how to do this is to focus on the fundamentals of education and not get sidetracked with fads and trends. We need to make sure that we get the most value for the money we spend and make smart decisions with our money. Perhaps if we can show the community that we are being good stewards of the Measure A monies, they will trust us with another bond in the future if we need it.

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