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School Board President Greg Tomlinson Shares His Vision for Dublin Education

February 12, 2012

DUSD Board President Greg Tomlinson recently sat down with Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees President, Greg Tomlinson, to hear his perspective on the current state of our school district and to discuss the future goals of DUSD. Mr. Tomlinson grew up on the peninsula and later graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Finance and Real Estate Development. Greg and his wife of 16 years Michele are proud parents of Rachel (8th grade) and Michael (6th grade). This year, both children attend Fallon Middle School. Professionally, Greg has always worked in the real estate industry. Since 1993, he has served as a principal with a private equity firm that specializes in commercial, industrial and land development. Mr. Tomlinson has served as a member of the DUSD Board of Trustees since 2008 and was nominated and elected to serve as its President at the December 2011 board meeting.

The Dublin Unified School District is facing many potential challenges as we move into the next budget cycle and beyond. At the same time, the District is also embracing many opportunities to enhance the K-12 experience for all of our children and their future achievement as students. We are now entering the fourth year of your term on the Board of Trustees. You were recently elected to the role of President. How did all of this come about?

Greg Tomlinson: “Prior to any direct involvement with the school district, I had been serving as a member on the City of Dublin Planning Commission on a two-year term. I felt that it was a good fit as I understood residential/commercial real estate development. There was an application process and I was successful in attaining that role. When a vacancy arrived on the School Board, I also felt that I could positively leverage my knowledge of development and facilities to assist the school district to achieve their goals. Logically, the School Board has a direct emphasis on learning. At the same time, we were in a high growth mode and I felt that my background in development and facilities would be a positive benefit to the District.” In consideration that your Planning Commission post was an appointment versus an elective office, how did you feel about the process of running for an elective office?

Tomlinson: “It was a bit daunting. I literally walked the entire city of Dublin to speak with our citizens. I knocked on doors and participated in televised debates. It was something very new for me.” Now that you have successfully served on the Board, how can you encapsulate your experience and your responsibilities thus far?

Tomlinson: “The role that I’m privileged to serve in is truly public service. As a parent of school-age children, I’m honored to be in this role. In my view, the Board asks the ‘what’ about our vision for the District and the Administration provides us with the ‘how’ we’ll accomplish it. I believe that our job as a Board reflects the desires of the community. How we arrive there is executed through the District, Administration and Staff.” Within the past year, there have been many discussions in the District about establishing a Professional Learning Community (PLC). What does the concept of PLC mean and how will it benefit our students and families?

Tomlinson: “Very simply, PLC has been proven to work as a vehicle to improve overall academic achievement. The data suggests that implementation of these structures and their results are irrefutable. My colleagues and I have attended workshops that confirm our thinking that this could completely transform education and improve learning. Basically, the tenets of PLC involve classroom instructors and administration sharing best practices with a results-oriented focus. In a previous generation, teaching might have been considered a lonely and solitary profession. In other words, one would be assigned a class roster and we’ll see how the students perform in ten months.

“Today, the research and data clearly show that individual assessments, collaboration among staff and deep implementation of PLC principles yield a more engaging structure and ultimately, better results. I think that the students will enjoy a richer instruction experience as the teachers will collaborate amongst themselves to provide creative and interesting instructional lessons.” As the leader of the Board, what are your hopes and aspirations for our school district?

Tomlinson: “Overall, we have had great leadership from within the Board, throughout the District Staff and with all of our site personnel – Certificated and Classified, alike. My hope is that we can continue to provide an opportunity for each and every one of our students in the district to achieve their goals – and that they are prepared to be college or career-ready. I want to see instruction that is relevant for all. I’d like to see a continuation of the upgrading for all of our facilities. We need to continue to provide an environment that is conducive to learning.

“I also want to ensure that all of our programs are matching those in our surrounding communities. 21st century learners deserve the opportunity to compete in this realm. Mandarin language classes are offered at DHS – this is a direct reflection of this point.” As we conclude, we would like to provide you with the opportunity to comment upon some of the “good things” that are occurring within the District and to also add any final comments.

Tomlinson: “While I am proud of the progress that all of our schools are achieving, I can’t help but point to Dublin High School. For many communities, the high school often stands as the “benchmark” for the quality of schooling within the District. API growth has been on a three-year upward trend and at DHS it stands at 879. At the same time, tremendous progress has been made at our two middle schools and all of our elementary sites.

“I’ve barely been able to touch upon the technological improvements that we’ve made within the classrooms. I am aware of other districts that have implemented 1:1 computing where all students work completely on laptops. There are also innovative concepts in grading and homework out there where each is given graduated weight. What pleases me most is the tremendous working relationship that the Board enjoys with both District Staff and Certificated/Classified staff.

“From a fiscal standpoint, the last three years have been challenging. But the relationship works because of the way that we treat one another. We all treat each other with respect, choose to be active listeners and allow the professionals in the business to make their recommendations so that our Board can make educated decisions. I am also blessed to be a part of a highly functional Board of Trustees that works very hard and wants nothing but the best for every student in this district.

“I’m proud to be a part of all of these efforts and I’m hopeful to be able to continue in these initiatives in my next term.”

Note: The DUSD Board of Trustees will engage in a discussion on the feasibility of a General Obligation Bond that may or not be placed upon the June 2012 voter ballot. The next DUSD Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 14 at 6:30PM at the District Boardroom located at 7471 Larkdale Avenue. Public commentary is invited at this discussion.