Pleasanton Unified School District Board President Steve Maher is taking another swing at four more years of leadership and running again for one of three available board seats in the Nov. 3 election, the longtime educator recently announced.
After four initial years of finding a new purpose and putting his extensive classroom experience to use in a different way as trustee, Maher told the Weekly that "my job is not complete."
"I'd still love to continue, we're still on a path to stability," Maher said about how the PUSD administration has developed in recent years following multiple turnovers in key positions, including several middle and high school principals.
"When I first announced my candidacy back in 2016, I wanted to bring stability to the district. We're moving in the right direction for stability," he added.
With the district facing a number of unknowns amid the coronavirus pandemic including budget concerns and the eventual reopening of all 15 PUSD sites, Maher said that stability, especially in the leadership cabinet, is crucial now more than ever.
"We don't need a lot of brand new people learning," he said. "They need someone solid but flexible. It changes by the day; you think you're moving in one direction, and you're not."
Guiding the district through a pandemic was not originally a part of his campaign platform, but Maher hasn't lost sight of the issues that spurred him to run the first time.
"Another platform idea was to improve special education," he said. "We're working towards it but I'm concerned when I look at the dashboard about how many students meet the standards. I would certainly like to put more emphasis on that."
With distance learning exclusively taking place when the new school year starts Aug. 11, Maher praised the district's teachers for adapting to the remote instruction model on a moment's notice back in March. "Everybody scrambled; I think we did a good job getting into it but as we're getting into the second round, we need to learn from the lessons of past experiences."
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, Maher will be practicing some distance campaigning this season. "It will certainly be different; I won't raise as much money," he said. "I'm not going down to the farmers' market, which is sad. I won't do that because that's a lot of contact, and I do not want at my age to expose myself more than I need to."
That means door-to-door walking and in-person meet and greets are out of the picture for Maher. Instead, he has kept his campaign signs visibly posted, plans to send out mailers as well as have volunteers pass out stickers when possible, and run a largely Internet-based campaign.
"There won't be any barbecues, unfortunately," Maher said. "It's going to be much different, it really will be."
The Pleasanton school board election will be held Nov. 3.