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School Bond Leader Gets Silver

Nancy Vernon wins town-sponsored award.

Nancy Vernon, San Anselmo resident who spearheaded the $41 million , has won the Silver Award.

In a unanimous vote, the Quality of Life Commission recently singled her out for the award, which is given “unsung heroes” who have benefited the town without expectation of recognition or reward.

It will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the San Anselmo Town Council meeting.

Though initially hesitant, she recalls, she finally agreed to coordinate the campaign because “it was so important. There just wasn’t enough room in the schools, classrooms had to be replaced, and there was a need, pre-bond, to communicate with parents and the community as a whole.”

The 51-year-old’s background as a professional advertising consultant, a fundraiser for and co-chair of the school district’s YES Foundation dovetailed perfectly with what would become her volunteer leadership role on Measure A. 

“What I did was gather great people that I knew for our management team,” says the mother of 13-year-old twins who attend .

“It was fun, and joyful, but it also was my first campaign of that kind. The one thing that struck me was the breadth of things you have to be aware of.”

So Vernon quickly conferred with to restore staff and hours to the and the superintendent of schools. 

But she still had to overcome a major split in the community, largely over whether to build a school at .

Her perseverance managed to salve most of the anti-tax opposition, leading to a — even though “at one point people were taking down our signs. I remember sneaking around at the middle school to take pictures.”

Vernon’s volunteer work — which includes a stint as president of the Marin Art and Garden Center board — started eating up lots of time seven years ago when she created an online YES auction, which is still going strong and expected to raise $75,000 this year.

She started on the Ross Valley District vote in July 2010 and worked intensively for five months to win over its foes.

Today, she says, “the animosity has gone away for the most part, and people feel satisfied with where we are, although there’s still some concern about Sleepy Hollow and traffic.”

She’s currently working with an architect “on a fabulous new design for White Hill,” and she feels that the superintendent and district board are "on top of things” — including how to deal with.

One of her here-and-now tasks is to ensure the district’s website is updated regularly, she says, “because it’s important for people to know what’s going on.”

Vernon, who with her husband, Walt, has lived in San Anselmo 18 years, will become the 19th winner of the Silver Award.

Previous recipients include Barbara Dwyer, Peter Penhallow, the husband-and-wife team of Teri and Alex Rockas, Eli Welber and Steve Lee, Grace Komo, Ben Burtt, Royce Truex and Jo Gross, Michael Schwab, Deborah Cichocki, Kay Peacock, Frank Ortiz, Tom Boss, the husband-wife team of Patricia and Chuck Swensen, Bill Abright, Cynnie Barrows, Marilyn Girodo, Sophia Spencer and Dollie Frauens. 

Silver and the more environmentally oriented Green Awards are handed out in alternate months. Nominations for either can be e-mailed to voodee@sbcglobal.net or townclerk@townofsananselmo.org — or mailed or hand-delivered to the Quality of Life Commission c/o the Town of San Anselmo, 525 San Anselmo Ave.

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