One of the reasons my wife and I chose Thousand Oaks as our home, and a place to raise our children, is its quality public school district. Hands down, we have incredible schools and teachers in this community — we know that from our own experience.

It’s been remarkable to watch the school district and community come together to navigate COVID-19, as it works collaboratively with stakeholders to determine not only what education should look like now —during a pandemic — but in the future, as well. A thriving and robust school district is paramount to a city’s quality of life and passionate, qualified leadership rooted in good governance ideals plays an essential role in decisions to be made that must support all students.

These past few years, our district has felt its share of turmoil. It is time to restore the reputation and quality of education that brought many of us to this city.

This November we have our first opportunity to elect school board representatives by District and I believe new leadership is necessary. I will be supporting Lauren Gill’s student-first approach in Area 5 (Newbury Park). In Area 1 (Westlake), I believe Karen Sylvester is the right trustee to represent students, with her depth of volunteer leadership in our schools. Having met both of these candidates, I am confident they will perform in this elected position with the best interests of all students in mind.

I’d also like to thank long-serving Trustee Betsy Connolly, who has chosen to retire from her position after 12 years of serving our district.

I recall a previously held tradition of having an annual meeting between the city council and the CVUSD board of trustees to discuss issues of mutual concern. This opportunity for dialogue is an effort I would champion to reinstate as a council member. Strong schools backed by experienced leadership are the foundation of our community and it’s critical we all do our part to ensure they have the support they need to continue providing the high-quality education we have come to expect and that our students deserve.