Did You See the Teachers Demonstrating This Week? Here’s Why.
September 14, 2018
More than 40 teachers and faculty from the San Dieguito Union High School District rallied yesterday evening outside the district office to show their support for school board candidates Amy Flicker (Voting Area One), Rhea Stewart (Area 3), and Kristin Gibson (Area 5). The demonstration, put on by the San Dieguito Faculty Association (SDFA), began at 5:30 p.m. and continued for about an hour, shortly before the start of the school board meeting.
Blue signs displaying the candidates’ names were distributed to the crowd by SDFA President Tim Staycer, who gave an instructional speech before sending them to march up and down the sidewalk on the corner of Encinitas Boulevard and Delphinium in neat, single-file lines. The members chatted as they waved their signs at passing by cars, many of whichhonked in support.
Many SDFA members hoped the demonstration would help rally more support for the endorsed candidates before election day, Nov. 6. San Dieguito Academy counselor Duncan Brown said, “They are high quality people that have done a ton in education and now want to come to our district so we just want to support that.”
Earl Warren social studies teacher Suzanne Brown held a deep respect for the three candidates as well. “I can’t speak highly enough about their experience, their expertise, their belief in governance, their ability to clearly articulate themselves…,” Brown said. “They would be a godsend on our board to have three really strong women; it would be wonderful.”
Some SDFA participants felt that the demonstration was particularly valuable to them, as they cannot afford to live in their district boundaries and would be unable to vote in the upcoming school board election. “People’s livelihoods depend on this place, and even though they can’t live in this place, they are willing to commute because they believe in what is going on,” Canyon Crest Academy counselor Ashley Bahner said. “And so lacking a direct voice, I think being out here they’re hoping they can inspire other people to make a choice that’s positive.”
The demonstrators showed their belief that Flicker, Stewart, and Gibson are the positive choice for the district. The candidates were praised for their long term involvement in the district. CCA science teacher Katherine Dickinson said, “Most of them have had students who have gone through our school district. They have been involved, whether it is as a classroom parent or PTA, and they’ve been doing things actively…we’re talking about 20 years…in some capacity they’ve shown their support and shown their loyalty.”
“It is also important that we have a board that supports the teachers. Our board is kind of divided right now,” Bahner said. “We do need a strong board. And these are strong candidates. And we don’t want to see our school suffer if we have board members that do not support our staff and our goals as a district.”
“This is a board that seems to be dismantling what has been here for, see I’ve taught in the district for 24 years, so probably 30 to 50 years,” LCC Special Education teacher Mary Pancner said. “At this point we have a board that wants to dismantle what this community has put together for the last several years. And that’s not okay. And that’s why the teachers are here.”
Retaliation against the demonstration is always a concern for SDFA members, but CCA special education teacher Gillian Brittain channels the worry in another fashion. “Our focus is always about the kids…it doesn’t matter who your choice is,” Brittain said. “We believe in what we’re doing and I think what we’re doing is allowed and above board. We’re keeping it positive.”