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Dublin School Board’s Joe Giannini on Being an Effective Trustee

September 11, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–How Dublin Unified School District Trustees are elected has been in the news lately, with Dublin soon moving from an at-large to a trustee-area model (read more…). To get a better sense of what it’s like to be a Dublin School Board Trustee we recently spoke with Trustee Joe Giannini who is in his first year on the Dublin School Board.

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Joe Giannini

OneDublin.org: What is the time commitment of a Dublin School Board Trustee?

Trustee Joe Giannini: “When I joined the Board I had a good idea of what the commitment would be: there is at least one long meeting per week during the school year (from 4:30pm to midnight) plus committees involving multi-hour meetings. There are also education events and training opportunities. For Trustees like myself who have full-time jobs it’s a challenge to make the schedule work, and still have time for family and a social life. In my case I work at SFO and the nature of my job means I can’t work from home, and taking time off means taking vacation days.

“I think a lot of people believe that being a Trustee is a full-time job. Trustees are only paid a stipend of under $5000 per year so Trustees are typically balancing full-time jobs with being a Trustee. Being a Trustee is a significant time commitment but isn’t a full-time job like being a Congressperson or Senator.”

OneDublin.org: What has been the most satisfying as a Trustee and the most frustrating?

Giannini: “Being part of trying to solve problems in the District has been rewarding, and hard. There are five Trustees with different ideas and priorities, and getting all of us to agree is difficult.”

OneDublin.org: What does it take to be an effective Trustee?

Giannini: “You have to be willing to work with other people. You also need to be well-rounded and expose yourself to as many different parts of the education system as possible. I’m only a year in so I’ve focused on a few areas; it takes time to develop yourself as a Trustee.”

OneDublin.org: What’s your blueprint for Dublin education?

Giannini: “We have facility needs and we have to expand our curriculum, which go hand-in-hand. As our enrollment increases we have to offer more courses, and we need facilities for the additional students. I’d like to see partnerships with companies like Tesla and Kaiser. I’d like to bring ROTC in to DUSD. Because of the focus right now on facility needs there hasn’t been as much focus on expanding the curriculum. We’re feeling the impact now of not having a long-term vision for facility needs.”

OneDubiln.org: What is DUSD doing right that should get continued focus?

Giannini: “The Gael Period is working out well for most kids. Our mentoring program is really good. The Dublin High School Biomed Academy is terrific. Our sports programs are doing well. We have great teachers and keeping them happy is a priority.

“During the election campaign I made the emotional wellbeing of students a priority and that’s an area that needs more focus.”

OneDubiln.org: What is a realistic outcome regarding the second comprehensive high school?

Giannini: “With our land and money constraints copying Dublin High School brick-for-brick is not realistic, and I believe most of the community understands that’s the case. My goal remains achieving a solid first step towards a second comprehensive high school, starting with 1,500 students and ultimately growing to 2,500 students. We’ll likely have to go out for another district-wide bond to get there, not a bond for one area of town but for the entire city, because a second comprehensive high school benefits the entire city.”

OneDublin.org: What is the most effective way for the public to communicate with Trustees?

Giannini: “People have to respect the process and the people. You may not like the Trustees ideas or decisions, but they are the people who ultimately will make the decision. Calling Trustees names or saying Trustees don’t do their job is not productive or accurate. Shouting at Trustees doesn’t work and is not a good way to be heard.

“I may not agree with what other Trustees want to do, but I know they are involved and I know they care. I believe my fellow Trustees do care about all the kids, but may differ on their vision for Dublin education.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sona G permalink
    September 12, 2017 12:22 am

    I cannot see how without a basic high-school in place first, would the community be willing to contribute more for a new bond. Also when people vote in the school board, they would like the members to serve the needs of students and families first. But if the first priority is keeping the teachers happy–something is missing. Are there student reviews as to which teachers are genuinely interested in teaching students who are willing to learn. These days we often see teachers who are unwilling to go the extra mile or who aren’t to passionate about teaching. We sincerely hope that Dublin School Board is making fair assessments of all teachers and getting a genuine feedback from colleges (such as UCs and other private colleges) about PLTW programs such as Biomed. Many other districts have introduced these programs but the programs have failed to offer any significant advantages for future researchers.

  2. September 12, 2017 3:54 pm

    [portion of comment deleted due to comment policy prohibiting personal attacks]. He doesn’t really want a second high school but masquerades around claiming he *sorta* does. He just wants the existing high school expanded. Wake up people.

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