Gary Stadler has been a parent volunteer at local schools for nearly a decade but in recent years, he’s wanted to contribute to Newark Unified School District more.
Beginning Dec. 4, Stadler will have his chance to do so as the newest member of the Newark Unified School Board of Education.
Stadler is primed for one of three open seats on the five-member board after only three individuals applied to run for three open seats. Stadler will replace incumbent Janice Schaefer who decided not to file for re-election.
Going for a seat on the board seemed like the next step to take, said Stadler, who added that he hopes to bring new viewpoints onto the board.
As a volunteer who has worked at all levels of schools in the district, Stadler said he is knowledgeable about what goes on at the school sites and an idea of what is needed.
“I’ve been in the trenches. I’ve seen what goes on and I have a perspective they don’t have,” Stadler said. “I’m there every day, and I see the good, the bad and the ugly.”
While Stadler commends the district for having a knowledgeable and “fantastic” group of teachers, staff and administrators, the incoming board member noted that there is room for growth in various departments.
The top issue Stadler said he would like to see addressed is the equality of programs and facilities at each school site and the stability of leaders – both at school sites and at the district office.
“I’d like to see our schools united,” said Stadler, who said each campus differs. “They should be more similar. I’d like to see all our schools together on the same page.
A restoration of programs is another priority Stadler believes the district should address.
In recent years, school sites saw a dwindling of various programs due to narrowing budgets.
The results included the elimination of elective programs, including art, choir, band, and sports, at Newark Junior High School, during the 2011-12 school year. Electives have since been restored at the junior high.
“Some kids come to school for drama, some kids come for choir, some kids come for sports,” Stadler said. “We have to be there for every one of those students.”
Stadler also sees a need for more collaboration between the school district and the City of Newark.
“I want to see us come together,” Stadler said. “We need to be all in this together for the benefit of the city, for the benefit of the kids.”
Stadler first ran for a seat on the board in 2010, but was 747 votes shy of landing a seat.
Stadler, along with incumbents Ray Rodriguez and Jan Crocker, will be sworn in at the school board’s Dec. 4 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Newark Unified district office, 5715 Musick Ave.
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