Meet Pleasanton's school board candidates

Two incumbents, two challengers make their cases to voters as election nears

Election Day for Pleasanton school board candidates is now just three weeks away.

For constituents, that means a few more days for putting campaign signs up in the front yard, watching debates and poring over voter materials to help them make informed decisions.

For candidates, that means there are a precious few days left to make their case with the voters, many of whom are starting to return their completed ballots by mail.

Recognizing that, we offered the four candidates for the school board the opportunity to state why residents should vote for them.

Those vying for the three open seats on the board include incumbents Valerie Arkin, who was first elected in 2008, and Jamie Hintzke, who is also seeking re-election to a third term.

The two challengers in the race are retired Hart Middle School principal Steve Maher and Kathleen Ruegsegger, former Pleasanton school board member (1990-93) and former retired executive assistant to Pleasanton and Palo Alto school superintendents.

There will be at least one new face on the school board after the election, as current board member Chris Grant announced in August that he would not seek re-election after nearly a decade on the board.

Besides the matter of the school board, Pleasanton voters are also asked to decide on Measure I1, the $270 million school bond that would impose a new tax on property owners to generate revenue for updated school facilities and infrastructure.

Those still undecided about the school board race can read on to get a sense of the candidates, who are featured here in alphabetical order. And for those not yet registered to vote, Oct. 24 is the deadline for the Nov. 8 election.

Valerie Arkin, Candidate for re-election to School Board

Serving for the last 8 years on the School Board has been an honor and privilege. I'm running for re-election in order to continue my service by representing the community and making the best decisions for students.

Student achievement is a top priority. I want to continue the vision of excellence and high performance by advocating for programs/services that help students reach their maximum potential. Having options and opportunities for students is necessary for them to be engaged and succeed. All kids can learn if given the appropriate resources.

Effective communication is vital. I've worked collaboratively with stakeholders and I'm approachable and accessible. I do my homework, ask questions, and I seek solutions that are both practical yet creative. I invest the time necessary to be an effective Board member and I'm thorough, detail-oriented, fair, and an independent thinker.

Fiscal responsibility by being accountable to the public and transparent in decisions is important. I will continue my oversight by governing with discipline and discretion.

Facilities and technology are priorities. Updated/modernized facilities and technology promote 21st century learning. A new elementary school would help relieve overcrowding as it is our responsibility to plan for the future.

I'm a Special Education Board Member and I'm a Delegate to the California School Boards association. I've served 8 years on the Pleasanton Library Commission and I'm a Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council Board Member. A 23-year resident of Pleasanton, I've been married for 30 years, and have 3 children -- 16 to 24 years old. I have a BS degree in Health Science and a Master's degree in Business (MBA).

I'm passionate about youth and education and I'll continue to work to ensure that all students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in a global economy and prepared to be socially responsible adults.

Jamie Hintzke, Candidate for re-election to School Board

My parents moved to Pleasanton in 1969, and at that time we were maybe one of five Chinese families in town. It is such a privilege to be able to live in Pleasanton and my children received an excellent education in PUSD.

Pleasanton is truly a special place. As a current PUSD school board member for the past eight years, I have a record of strong involvement. I will work to ensure the best possible education for our students.

I will continue to ask the tough questions and ensure greater district transparency, insist upon and support high functioning teams and be a responsible steward of our limited resources. I believe these actions will allow our students to reach their greatest potential.

Some of my key accomplishments have been to change the process of how the District's audit firm is selected. The selection committee no longer includes the CFO. The District now contracts with a new bench of law firms with improved oversight -- this will reduce our legal fees.

The warrants are now included in the public board packet. The Board agenda items must be agendized at least twice before the Board will take action. The addition of student board members is a constant reminder to keep students at the center of every decision.

The past eight years have been challenging as we lived through the great recession and devastating cuts to our schools. But I am just as committed to another four years. I bring the experience needed and knowledge of the inner workings of the District. It would be an honor and privilege to serve the community for another four years.

For more information, please visit, or feel free to call my cell (925)- 876-2380.

Steve Maher, Candidate for School Board

Pleasanton schools are outstanding, but we have lost our way in many respects.

We must stop the revolving door of principals, staff and district office personnel. We must make a concerted effort to help our under-served students be more successful. All voices must be heard and respected. The board must be fiscally responsible and transparent about all decisions.

We must encourage staff development to prepare our teachers for 21st-century learning. Our infrastructure must be upgraded to accommodate cutting-edge modes of teaching. I will seek creative funding to improve technology.

I have 40-plus years of experience as a teacher and principal, all in the Pleasanton school district. I am eager to transfer my skills to the school board to improve our district.

I would bring a unique view to the board from having served at most Pleasanton schools. I have a solid reputation of successfully collaborating with all stakeholders to advance student performance and find equitable solutions that best serve all students.

Trust must be restored among all community members and the district. Everyone must be treated with civility and respect.

Many voters have expressed their frustration that school board members do not listen to them or are not receptive to a healthy discussion of issues. I would welcome and consider ideas to improve our schools and help me make fully informed decisions.

I pledge to be transparent and continue my long history of actively communicating and collaborating with all stakeholders through outreach, public forums and school-site visits.

I have multiple endorsements from top agencies and leaders in our community, including the Chamber of Commerce, mayor, city council members, educators and many more.

I am the best prepared and qualified candidate to be your next school board trustee. I would be honored to have your vote. Visit my website at

Kathleen Ruegsegger, Candidate for School Board

Kathleen Ruegsegger for School Board 2016

Dream Bigger

Pleasanton's public schools are ranked highly at the state and national levels. We already have much to be proud of: creative and energetic students; a well-educated parent community that values and generously supports public education; dedicated instructional leaders, classified staff, and administrators who instruct and nurture student learning; and a broader community of citizens and businesses who contribute to schools in many meaningful ways.

This is a pivotal moment for us to evaluate and consider what direction we take to reach the next level of excellence. Our new district leaders must be mindful caretakers of a tight budget, communicate more effectively with the entire community, and work more collaboratively with city leadership.

Currently, we face a lack of adequate and modernized facilities for students that must be addressed. There also should be an opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to discuss issues directly impacting student learning, such as later start times, block scheduling, truancy rates, and sleep deprivation with a focus on what is best for the students we are committed to serving.

Pleasanton's children and young adults may not know where their futures are headed just yet, so we must dream bigger for them now and ensure their education is comprehensive, yet flexible enough to provide for and to meet their ambitions in both the near and distant future.

I have 19 years' experience working with multiple superintendents and nearly two dozen board members with diverse perspectives and priorities. We raised three successful children in Pleasanton and currently have a grandchild in Pleasanton schools.

Please visit my website -- -- or contact me at I hope you will consider voting for me, and I appreciate your time and interest in reading about all the candidates.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

The profile on the School Board candidates was very useful ("Meet Pleasanton's school board candidates" on Pleasanton Weekly).

I wanted to provide feedback to the candidates that except for Valerie Arkin, none of the other candidates profile/info shows up on Voter’s Edge California (Web Link).

This is a site that many voter rely on to get info about all the different items up for vote.

7 people like this
Posted by Zoe Francis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

We will check into getting Steve Maher listed on Until then, you may visit his website at to read his platform and submit comments. Thank you for your interest in the school board election.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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