Alamo attorney, former SRVHS Jerome Pandell vying for school board | New
The three-person race for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Zone 1 trustee seat features a familiar name from a previous district election, Jerome Pandell, competing against two political newcomers this year.
An Alamo resident and attorney with a practice in Walnut Creek, Pandell is seeking election to the SRVUSD board of directors for the second time, following a 2014 campaign and several years of volunteer service in the district.
“As an attorney working primarily with corporations, I have a deep understanding of the budgetary issues our district faces in providing a safe and supportive learning environment for parents, teachers, and students at all SRVUSD schools,” Pandell said on his campaign page.
“Through this experience, I will know how to meet the educational needs of teachers and students and work with parents and the community to ensure that all schools maintain longstanding traditions of excellence and build on that excellence,” he continued.
Pandell and his wife Emlyn Struthers, both SRVUSD alumni, expect their young son to be a student in the district until at least 2038. 2001.
He then graduated from Northwestern University in 2005, then from UC Hastings Law School in 2008, before establishing his law firm Walnut Creek.
Pandell, who previously served on the SRVUSD Facilities Advisory and Oversight Committee, said on his campaign page that he will seek to hear from parents, students, teachers and other community members on their priorities as he is campaigning ahead of the general election in November.
“Initially, however, there are three areas that I am focusing my campaign on and would aim to improve as an administrator – the three ‘O’s (or goals) that will help our district maintain the long tradition of excellence. which remains a hallmark of our schools,” Pandell said.
These are “production, markets and external engagement”, according to Pandell.
For the “exit,” Pandell said he would seek to “continue our district’s outstanding record of achievement in exceeding state-mandated educational goals as measured by graduation rates, college placement, and standardized testing, especially when our teachers and staff implement the common core curriculum.”
“Maintain exceptional relationships with our teachers and staff so they can focus on what they do well every day – teaching and mentoring students in our district,” Pandell said on his campaign page. “Continue to ensure the District spends taxpayer dollars — especially those collected from package taxes and bonds — wisely, efficiently, and to the maximum.”
For “opportunities,” Pandell said he meant ways to mitigate the toll a high-performing district can inadvertently take on ambitious students.
“Our students face tremendous pressure these days; I remember hearing when I was in high school that college admissions couldn’t get any tougher,” Pandell said. “Yet today, our students are enrolling in an ever-increasing number of colleges and undertaking an increasing number of academic and extracurricular activities just to ensure they remain competitive. I want our district – through supporting partnerships with local businesses – providing our students with more and better opportunities to relieve some of that pressure outside of school.”
Pandell said that could include any number of enrichment activities, such as movie screenings or events, or even pet therapy. But the need for outlets is important, according to Pandell, in order to maintain and support the work of ambitious students and alumni in the neighborhood.
Pandell’s third “O,” External Engagement, focuses on strengthening district finances by finding support through grants, tax measures, and engaging “corporate and business leaders of our community to find more opportunities – outside of the classroom that don’t require spending taxpayer dollars – for our students to learn new skills that equip them for college as well as a career. “
Competing with Pandell for the Zone 1 position are Michelle Petersen, Alamo parent and school volunteer, and Jesse vanZee, parent and school volunteer from Danville. The race is wide open as incumbent Ken Mintz is not seeking re-election.
In addition to his unsuccessful bid for the board in the 2014 election, Pandell was a candidate in the selection and nomination process for the board seat vacated by former trustee Denise Jennison in 2018. That seat , then at-large, ultimately went to Susanna Ordway, who runs unopposed in Zone 4 this year.
More information about Pandell’s campaign is available at jeromepandell.com.