The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District voted 3-to-1 to appoint Stacy Holguin as its newest trustee, filling the vacancy left by the passing of Rosie Switzer in December, at its meeting Thursday.
Holguin has served as vice president of the Benicia Education Foundation since 2008 and is also an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley. She was interviewed in front of the board by President Gary Wing along with two other prospective applicants, Ira Glick and Karina Guerrero. Wing first asked the applicants why they wanted to serve.
“My interest around education overall really lies in the fact that I was a student who probably without a solid educational background wouldn’t have gone anywhere,” Holguin responded. “My focus on education has been an oversight in my life. My educational path is focused on furthering education for others, my volunteer work has all been in the district and school district and my career has been focused around public education.”
“Bringing that passion forward in my life, an obvious next step, having worked through so many parent positions and student-focused positions is looking to serve at a higher level, and this board of trustees is an opportunity to do that,” she added.
Holguin said that a major emphasis for her will be college preparation for students.
“I feel like I could bring a lot of prior work to the district in that area and really look at how to build a supportive community culture to further post-high school education for our students,” she said.
Wing then asked the applicants what school or committee activities they had been involved in and then describe their contributions and explain how it would enhance their service to the board. Holguin responded by saying that she and her husband moved to Benicia as her oldest son was starting kindergarten and vowed to stay until her kids graduated, and they would have to contribute to make sure they were getting the best possible education.
“From the get-go, I served as everything from a parent room mother to several PTA positions, including treasurer and secretary,” she said.
As vice president of the Benicia Education Foundation, Holguin said she has overseen several major projects, including direct fundraising and helping set the agenda for the organization. She also had facilitated discussions during the closure of Mills Elementary in 2005.
Wing then asked what the role of a trustee is.
“I think one of the main purposes of this board is to set vision and direction for the educational establishment within Benicia,” she responded. “Part of that is building community and bringing together and collaborating with the various organizations that impact the educational system.”
Wing asked the applicants how they would respond to criticism and input from the community. Holguin said she would respond with empathy and grace and work with a team to see if there are actions that can be taken. Wing also raised the question of how the applicants would help ensure educational success for all BUSD students.
“One of the key factors is involving families and parents,” she responded. “We’re not reaching the bulk of parents, and we need to do some work as a school district to further engage the families and parents.”
In her final statement, Holguin stressed the need to take BUSD to a higher level.
“Benicia feels like we’re on the edge of becoming a great organizational community,” she said. “I think we’re on the precipice of really launching into something that is going to be new and exciting and will really launch our children to the next level and hopefully bring about the opportunity for BUSD to be the engine that drives Solano County to move our education program and our students into that next level.”
The board voted to appoint Holguin for the next 11 months until she runs in the November election. If she wins, she will serve for the next two years to fill out the remainder of Switzer’s term. Afterwards, she will be back on the four-year rotation. Holguin took the oath of office administered by Solano County Superintendent Jay Speck and participated in the remainder of the meeting.
In other business, Chief Business Official Tim Rahill provided a quarterly update on the Measure S bond where Roxanne Egan was introduced as the new bond director.
Stacy Holguin takes the oath of office administered by Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck.
Photo by Nick Sestanovich