Terms end for three Rancho Santa Fe School board members
With air hugs and waves from a safe distance, Tyler Seltzer, Sarah Neal and Scott Kahn attended their last Rancho Santa Fe School District meeting as board members on Nov. 12.
Seltzer has served on the board for nine years, Kahn for four and a half years and Neal for the last four years. During their terms, they have made decisions such as hiring two new superintendents following Lindy Delaney’s retirement in 2016, restructuring the district last year which included teacher layoffs, dealing with a budget deficit, addressing student safety by installing electronic locks on every door on campus, adopting new curriculum and handling a global pandemic.
“Each of these board members added a unique talent and perspective to the board and worked together to ensure that our district’s schools were schools of excellence, that we provided rigorous academic and enrichment opportunities for our community’s children and that we did so in an environment that would support their social and emotional growth,” said Superintendent Donna Tripi. “You are truly models for our children in the way you selflessly served the community of Rancho Santa Fe.”
Through Zoom, several parents thanked the board for their years of service and their work in keeping the school open during the pandemic.
“We appreciate how much time you’ve invested into making Roger Rowe the best possible experience for our kids,” said parent Cheryl Salmen. “I know over the past few years there’s been a lot of really hard decisions and it’s not always been easy holding the positions that you do.”
As the meeting was held at 9 a.m. during school hours, there was no public comment from teachers.
During their years on the board, each of the three board members served a term as president. Clerk Jee Manghani said each provided strengths in leadership that were needed at the time. Vice President Kali Kim complimented Kahn for his scientific mind and his dedication as a “teacher at heart,” Neal for her endless research and striving for best practices, and Seltzer for his patience and consistency, never wavering from fighting for the best education and facilities.
“It’s been a true honor to serve in this capacity,” said Neal, who had never served on any board before she was elected in 2016. While she was proud of many accomplishments, she said one that stood out was hiring Tripi in 2018. She said nothing could have been accomplished without Rancho Santa Fe’s teachers and she said she hoped the district would continue to collaborate with and support them.
As the longest-serving board member, Seltzer said he did the math and the Nov. 12 meeting was the 198th board meeting since 2011 and he had only missed one. In thanking staff, teachers, families, community members and board members past and present he said he was filled with “gratitude and hopeful optimism” about the future of R. Roger Rowe School.
“I am immensely proud that in these past few months we have called on all the attributes that make our district great and established ourselves as a shining example in the county of how to put our students first and provide on-campus instruction,” Seltzer said.
Kahn, who grew emotional in his goodbyes and thank yous to staff and teachers, said he was also very proud of the district’s safe reopening. As it was reported at the board meeting according to San Diego County Office of Education’s new dashboard there are currently 27,820 students learning full time on campus, 122,189 in hybrid learning and 350,554 students that remain in distance learning only.
“One of my goals when we’re not coming to these meetings is to find ways to promote what RSF has done so other schools can benefit and kids can finally get in school,” Kahn said.
Newly-elected board members Rosemarie Rohatgi, John Tree and Annette Ross will be sworn-into the board in December.
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