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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Race underway for Richland School Board seat


Last updated 9/27/2020 at 4:59am | View PDF

Current Board President Deanna Rodriguez-Root

There are three seats on the Richland School Board up for grabs in November, with only one of the areas having two candidates in the race. Current Board of Trustees members Cain Maldonado and Tammy Criswell-Rubio are running unopposed in their Trustee areas, with current Board President Deanna Rodriguez-Root running against newcomer Julian Armando Calvillo in Area 3.

Rodriguez-Root said that she decided to run again because she wants to follow through on the district's vision and finish what the board started to enrich the students of Richland.

"I decided to run again because I have been an advocate for children my entire life and I want to continue," she said.

Rodriguez-Root has over 10 years of experience on the board, with over 30 years serving the children of Shafter in one capacity or another. Rodriguez-Root has served as a Trustee on the Richland board for 18 years, with three times serving as its president. She is currently serving her second consecutive term as president. She has been on the Richland LCAP Committee, the Richland School District Cafeteria and Nutrition Committee, and on the City of Shafter's School Partnership Committee.

Rodriguez-Root is a member of the California School Board Association, as well as a California School Board Association "Governance in Leadership" Graduate. She has also been a member of the California Association of Bilingual Education, a Get Out the Vote voter registration drive organizer and coordinator. She was co-founder and volunteer coordinator of Youth Ballet Folklorico Ihtotiani of Shafter. Established in 1996, the group has provided quality Cultural Dance Arts education for children and young adults for over 20 years.

Another highlight of Rodriguez-Root's distinguished career was being the organizer of the "Together We Can" project committee. The committee's focus was to bring much needed services into the community and to create a diverse dialog amongst all community members and organizations. The result of this was the Healthy Start Grant.

Rodriguez-Root, along with her late husband Roy, was co-chairman of the annual Shafter Cinco de Mayo Festival and Parade since 1991. This is just a fraction of the experience and community involvement she has on a lengthy resume.

With the district facing a return to in-person education for special needs students, Rodriguez-Root said, "The children will begin on-site classes under a very detailed plan, as mandated by the state. Also, in order to support families who have been impacted negatively by the covid-19 pandemic, we have buses providing additional meal pick-up Monday through Friday at specific locations."

Deanna pointed to the current pandemic and its unique challenges as the main obstacle facing the school district.

"Our main priority has to be to getting our kids back in the classroom but in a safe way. The safety of our children is our main concern," she said.

Rodriguez-Root said that she understands the frustration that parents and children may have with distance learning, wanting to be back in school with their friends.

"That is our main goal, to get our kids back together again on campus, making their health and wellbeing our top priority," she said.


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