Pleasanton Unified School District Trustee Jamie Yee is the second incumbent to seek another four-year term on the school board, running for one of three open seats in the Nov. 3 election.
Recently announcing her re-election bid, Yee told the Weekly that "times are different now, so I have different priorities" than when she first became a trustee. After being originally elected to the board in 2008, Yee retained her seat in 2012 and 2016, and hopes to continue the pattern this fall.
"There's a lot to be learned about how to avoid pitfalls, and so I think that I'm really in this unique role now to be able to ensure that we continue to exceed or excel in the quality or effectiveness of our education while we're doing remote learning," Yee said.
"Given my history and experience with the school district, I think I know how to provide that leadership. That's what we need now," she added.
Four issues make up the foundation of Yee's platform: increasing student health and safety, ensuring accountability "at all levels," planning for the future and greater community involvement with the district.
A more immediate priority of Yee's, though, is the mental health of students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There's a lot of issues coming up; different things that kids are going through because they don't have socialization, they're stuck at home, they might have fear about the unknown, what's going to happen," she said. "We have no plans to cut our counselors and, if anything, we need to increase our social workers and ability to provide mental health services to our students."
Part of looking out for students' mental well-being includes addressing bullying as well as time management and organizational skills, Yee said.
"We need to make sure we prioritize helping kids with organizational skills and time management skills," she said. "And, to me, that feeds into mental health and not feeling stressed, really prioritizing the organizational and time management skills for our students."
Even with students learning remotely, Yee still has an eye on their safety in other ways when they do eventually return to school.
"There's been a big effort to make sure that our sites have proper fencing and proper security protocol," Yee said. "We need to make sure we still have a laser focus on that because I know it's an important topic to our parents and our community. The pandemic is very distracting but I want to make sure we still have our focus on campus safety."
Yee also wants to generate more community and, especially, student involvement on district issues. But she said the process used to choose student board members needs an overhaul.
"Students have always been a huge thing for me. I was the one pushing for student board members long, long ago," Yee said. "It needs to be with the students, they choose who their student board members are."
Yee also envisions introducing a Mandarin language dual immersion program that starts in first grade, giving students an extra edge in the future job market. "We were having some initial conversations and discussions about that. It's sidelined now but it's definitely a priority for me," Yee said.
A Bay Area native, Yee moved to Pleasanton from Berkeley while growing up and attended Alisal Elementary and the old Pleasanton Elementary before graduating from Foothill High School. Yee became active in PUSD while raising her two children, now in college, first joining the PTA and serving as president for several different PTA councils on three separate occasions, as well as the California State PTA Board of Managers for eight years.
Before joining the school board, Yee was also on several committees and advocated for student health issues. Yee works full-time for the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, where she serves as a program and policy analyst.
Board President Steve Maher and newcomers Chong Wang and Kelly Mokashi are also angling for a spot on the board on Nov. 3; Trustee Valerie Arkin is currently running for the Pleasanton City Council instead of seeking re-election to PUSD.