Advertisement
Share

Meet the Rancho Santa Fe School District board candidates

Christopher Blatt
Christopher Blatt

Christopher Blatt

Occupation:

Director, Sales and Marketing, High Technology Electronics

Advertisement

Years living in the RSF School District:

3 years

Community activities:

Robotics coach, scouts, church

Advertisement

Education:

BS/MS Chemical/Nuclear Engineering

  1. Why are you running for a seat on the RSF School board?
I have three children, 3, 4 and 6, that are in or will be entering the R. Roger Rowe School over the next several years. I am a strong believer in education as the foundation for the future of the youth and want to be able to positively contribute to that success.

2.) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the RSF School District?

The are always many challenges when dealing with a diverse group of individuals.  However, I am sure that all parties want the same thing, and that is the best education and training for the children at the school. The conflicts often arise when the paths to achieve that goal are not viewed the same by everyone. The school board has a great challenge in balancing all the outstanding requests and suggestions from the many very talented and gifted parents in the community to select those that best suit the needs of the children.

3.) How would you propose to address those issues?

The best thing that can be done for this or any issue is full communication to all interested parties. It is very important to ensure that the parents, staff, faculty and, in some cases, the students themselves, are well versed on the topics in question. Gathering their inputs and understanding the reasons why these ideas are favored or not is critical to moving the idea forward with the team or modifying it to better suit the situation. There may need to be additional meetings with the public to address specific issues should there be a more divided topic that is being pursued. Drawing vital information from the community to tackle the most challenging problems will be one of the keys to success.

4.) Do you agree with the way the RSF School board operates? If not, what changes do you think need to be made?

The school board is doing a great job at working through the issues and trying to do what is right for the students, staff, and parents.  There are always areas where there is a more bi-partisan view on a topic and ensuring the majority is well represented is often a challenge for all involved.

5.) How do you think your experience can help address some of these issues and others that come before the RSF School board?

My experience as an engineer and technical leader in the electronics industry has allowed me the opportunity to view problems in a variety of different ways. This type of thinking will prove to be invaluable when looking deep into the variety of challenges that confront the school board. In addition, my leadership experience as a Commanding Officer in the Navy has allowed me the opportunity to bring together a diverse group of talented individuals and align them towards a common goal. I strongly believe that the combination of these experiences will prove themselves to be of great use to the school board and, ultimately, the students in the school.
Todd E. Frank
Todd E. Frank
Advertisement

Todd E. Frank

Occupation (current or former):

Financial Advisor, Business Owner, Father of three (two in RSF schools currently)

Formerly with ThomsonReuters, Arthur Andersen, Disney, Sara Lee

Years living in the RSF School District:

12 years in the district

Community activities:

Current:

Advertisement

•Trustee, Vice President Rancho Santa Fe School District Board

•Trustee, Lawrence Family JCC, active member of their Finance and Investment

Committees

•AYSO Matrix Soccer Team Manager, GU11

Past:

•Board of Trustees, Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco

•Board of Trustees Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club

•Board of Trustees and Treasurer of the RSF Education Foundation

•School Board liaison to the RSF Education Foundation.

Education:

University of California, Berkeley — B.S. Business Administration

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business — Masters of Business Administration

State of California, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Series 24 Securities Principal

  1. Why are you running for a seat on the RSF School board?
During the past four years on the school board, we have initiated many programs and processes which enhanced the education of our children and strengthened the school as an asset in our community. I will continue to shepherd those initiatives, introduce other programs to keep our school ranked as a top tier educational institution, while maintaining our focus on the education of the whole child.

2.) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the RSF School District?

To continue to update and augment the curriculum.

To continue to implement and enhance the use of technology in an informed and progressive fashion.

To continue to focus on whole-child education: Academics, Citizenship, Sports, Arts, Community.

To create formal Succession Plans around: Personnel, Property, Plant and Equipment and a Physical Master Plan for the district.

3.) How would you propose to address those issues?

Curriculum:

I will continue to take a cautious, thoughtful, and engaged approach.  Common Core is the California baseline. We exceed this baseline on an instructional basis every day, setting our own higher and more rigorous standards. I will continue to support further augmentation and regular review of our curriculum.

Continue to fund and support the many initiatives that extend our children’s education beyond pure academics in the areas of Sports, Music, Art, Drama, Robotics, Science,Oceanography, Entrepreneurship and Digital Citizenship to name a few.

Technology:

Continue the intelligent adoption of technology to support extraordinary instruction, efficient operations, and parent involvement.

Succession Plan:

Propose and implement formal Succession Plans and Physical  Master Plan for the district. Complete thorough and transparent due diligence processes for all facets of planning. Seek out external funding sources beyond current recurring sources.

4.) Do you agree with the way the RSF School board operates? If not, what changes do you think need to be made?

I believe that the school board operates efficiently and openly, seeking input and involvement from the community. We not only meet the complex legal obligations, but go beyond to encourage growth and innovation within its purview. The district, in coordination with the RSF Education Foundation, has inspired extraordinary parent and community involvement. We should continue to enhance those outreach programs, incorporating innovative educational opportunities and capitalizing on the unique parent population.

5.) How do you think your experience can help address some of these issues and others that come before the RSF School board?

My specific skills in finance, accounting, and technology are ideal to help the district continue to manage and innovate in this climate. My process-oriented background allows me to help manage the pace of change that we desire and require. My business leadership skills and willingness to take a non-standard points of view allow for creative-destruction of old practices making room for positive innovation. My Continuous Improvement mindset means that we will be ever-improving our already top tier school.
Marti Ritto
Marti Ritto

Marti Ritto

Occupation (current or former):

School Board Trustee/Parent/ Technology Advisor / Op-era Singer/Retired Yahoo!

Years living in the RSF School District:

13

Community activities:

Trustee & Immediate Past President of the RSF School Board of Trustee; Member & Supporter of:  RSF Education Foundation - Scholar’s Circle; RSF Literary Society, RSF Historical Society, RSF Library Guild, RSF Community Center, and The Country Friends.

Education:

University of Colorado, Boulder — Bachelor of Arts

1.)  Why are you running?

As a current R. Roger Rowe parent and community member, I have been honored to be a part of the RSF School board for the last four years, having served in the roles of immediate Past President, Vice President, Clerk and Trustee,  and I would like the opportunity to help ensure that our tradition of superior education continues to thrive in the RSF School District. I believe that there is more good work to be done.

2.) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the RSF School District?

3.) How would you propose to address those issues?

Answer to questions 2 and 3:

I believe that our issues are twofold. Firstly, finances for public education are always a concern, especially in the last four years, and I believe they will continue to be an issue in the foreseeable future. I believe we have been and must continue to be conservative stewards of our district finances to safeguard our high quality education for future RSF District students.

Secondly, Academic Programs must remain strong and continue to strengthen the skills of our students.  During my past four years on the school board, I have watched the evolution of the Columbia Reading and Writing program help to boost our test scores to their highest

ever

for our district, and we are again ranked 10/10 in both elementary and middle school among similar schools in the state.

We need to work with the staff and the community to provide the highest quality math programs that we are able.  To  insure that we meet the educational needs of the future we must expose our students to the very latest advances in technology and to rigorous and challenging benchmarks so that they are fully equipped for success.

Some of the things we have done toward this goal and will continue to do are as follows:

•Mobile Device Education Technology Rollout: Upgrade and rollout of 1:1 mobile devices in the middle school and 50 percent deployment in K-4, 100 percent deployment in grades 5-8 .

•Creation of the Performing Arts Center in 2010, along with an award-winning music education program, known as MUSE (Mastering Unique Self Expression), which includes two levels of Band Instrument instruction, a two-tier Strings Program, two Concert Choirs, the creation of the a new Drama Program, and a new Technical Theatre Program. Thirty-three percent of the student body participates in music as of 2014.

•Creation of the Performing Arts Parents Association to support all Performing and Visual Arts needs in the District.

•Creation of an award-winning robotics program for K-8 in conjunction with FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®)and the Jr. FLL Core Values.

•Integration and expansion of basic programming languages and the Hour of Code national program into the curriculum.

4.) Do you agree with the way the RSF School board operates? If not, what changes do you think need to be made?

In the past few years we have been committed to providing transparency and have worked  hard to schedule our meetings at times when the public can attend.  Also, in order to make ourselves more available for all our parents and constituents we have reached out to the community via surveys, coffees and additional meetings as needed. As a publicly elected board the Rancho Santa Fe School board is subject to State laws regarding all aspects of its operation and we are legally required to abide by all those rules as well the Brown act, and we do our best to be as inclusive as possible within that legal framework.

5.) How do you think your experience can help address some of these issues and others that come before the RSF School board?

I have worked closely with this board and I believe that this experience will enable me to make a significant contribution to the education of our students in the next four years.  I believe strongly in the tradition of community service and in the ability of education to advance the lives of young people. Education was critical for me to accomplish my goals as a technologist (I worked at Yahoo! Inc. during the company’s early years), and as a professional musician (I sing opera).  It is that background in technology and music that makes me believe I am uniquely qualified to help the district achieve our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) goals.

I am deeply committed to the continued success of our school and our students, and that is why I feel that if re-elected I will continue to  bring a combination of continuity, conservative fiscal stewardship and positive energy to the board.

Violetta Sansone
Violetta Sansone

Violetta Sansone

Occupation (current or former):

Mortgage Banker/Income Tax Preparer

Years living in the RSF School District:

Nine years owner in the Covenant

Community activities:

Various events to the best of my availability

Education:

Economics/Finance and Credit/Taxation Law

1.) Why are you running for a seat on the RSF School board?

I want to be more involved in my children’s and their peers’ education  When my husband and I purchased our house in the Covenant of Rancho Santa Fe nine years ago, Roger Rowe Elementary was a top school in the county.  And while our school is still outstanding, there are many areas for improvement. As a Covenant resident and parent of 1st and 3rd graders, I believe that I have higher interest in our school’s performance over my opponents. Fresh ideas are important to keep us moving forward.

2.) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the RSF School District?

We need to prepare our students for a global economy — technology, languages, math.  While a new gym and expanded school footprint may be important, I believe they are secondary to preparing our children for a competitive future.  We are lucky, our school is like a private school, both the school and its students should perform like one, graduating top- notch students.

3.) How would you propose to address those issues?

The most important way to address those issues is to listen to those that have a vested interest — mostly the parents and students, followed by teachers and staff. I’m not arrogant enough to think that I have all the answers, but I do think that the community does.  Right now, I think those voices are missing from the school’s direction.

4.) Do you agree with the way the RSF School board operates? If not, what changes do you think need to be made?

Transparency, especially regarding long-term strategy, continuous improvement and finances, are vital. This community is evolving and while certain approaches or ideas may not have made sense 10 years ago, doesn’t mean they don’t make sense today.  Too often, an entrenched board fails to realize this.  I will bring these fresh ideas and perspective.

5.) How do you think your experience can help address some of these issues and others that come before the RSF School board?

I was encouraged early with strong discipline and an expectation of high standards with my education and would like to pass that along to this younger generation. I listen a lot to parents, I hear what they say. They feel similarly.  We can come together with this focus on excellence, not status quo.

Advertisement