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Dublin School Board Appoints Niranjana Natarajan to Interim Seat

December 14, 2018

Dublin, CA–The Dublin Unified School District has a new Trustee. Four-year Dublin resident Niranjana “Nini” Natarajan was approved at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting in a 3-1 vote (Trustee Cherrier voting against) to replace former Trustee Joe Giannini, who resigned from the board in October. Dublin resident Gabrielle Blackman also applied for the interim post.

Nini

Niranjana Natarajan (red jacket) with DUSD Trustees and Superintendent

Ms. Natarajan was sworn in by Board President Miller, took her seat on the dais, and cast her first votes as a Board member.

“I believe Nini will bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to our board,” said Amy Miller, President, Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees. “Not only does she bring valuable professional expertise, she also changes the complexion of our board to better represent the diverse and growing community in Dublin. As a parent in the community, facing the challenges of growth on the eastern side of town, her insight will be extremely valuable in shaping the direction of our district and the educational experience of our children.”

Originally from Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu on the eastern coast of India, Ms. Natarajan attended Madras University where she received a Bachelor’s of Commerce and Accounting and later earned the designation of Chartered Accountant. In 2004, she married and moved to the United States with her husband after receiving an H4 visa, which is issued to dependent family members of H1B visa holders. She became a U.S. citizen in 2013.

The family settled in the Silicon Valley. While her husband worked for a Bay Area semiconductor company, Ms. Natarajan earned her CPA and now holds the title of Head of Finance for a growth stage startup in San Mateo. The family welcomed their first daughter in 2007 and a second in 2009. Her interest in education came after enrolling their children in private school, where she felt the experience was not as balanced as it should be.

“While good grades are important, there is so much more to developing an intelligent, curious and emotionally well-balanced child. I want my children, well, all children, to learn in an environment that embraces a sense of community and that strives to provide experiential, interactive learning experiences that foster skills like communication, collaboration, and compromise,” stated Ms. Natarajan.

In 2014, Ms. Natarajan moved to Dublin with her family and enrolled her daughters in Dougherty Elementary school, later moving to Amador Elementary and now attending Cottonwood Creek. During this period, Ms. Natarajan became deeply involved with Destination Imagination, being a parent mentor to teams for multiple years.

“Destination Imagination has been a wonderful experience for my children and myself. The program provides the type of hands-on learning I feel is essential to stimulating the minds of our future leaders, As a Board member, I will push to expand programs of this nature for our children,” continued Ms. Natarajan.

Niranjana Natarajan answered the following questions as part of her application:

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I believe that the school board is one of the most important driving forces in implementing policies that guide the district towards growth & success. I also believe that as a school member, I can be the voice of parents, educators and other stakeholders that make the district unique.

What do you see as the basic purpose of public schools?

Public schools are the pillars of the community upon which we build the future. Schools provide children not just with education in academics, but also instill in them a spirit of friendship, sportsmanship, a sense of belonging in a community and values that are very important to create respectful human beings. Public Schools create doctors, engineers, artists, dramatists, musicians and pave the way for generations of future leaders.

How is the basic purpose of public schools best accomplished? 

In order for a public school system or district to be successful in achieving its purpose, we need to have outstanding collaboration between the District officials, School Board, Educators, Parents, Volunteers, Sponsors and most importantly students. Growth and success can be achieved by having the community work towards a common goal of world class education for our children.

What do you believe should be the role of the school board member?

As a school board member I would work to ensure that the school district is responsive to the values, beliefs and priorities of the Dublin Community. I believe a school board member can help set direction, provide support, hold the district accountable, and ultimately be advocates for the children in public education.

What might you contribute to our mission to serve students, parents, staff, and community?

The biggest skill set I would bring to the school board table would be my years of experience in Management and Finance. I believe that given my background has been in Finance for over a decade, I would be able to validate some of the assumptions behind the growth models used by the District, provide insightful analysis to the other members of the board on budgets, its effectiveness and ensure opportunities for a diverse range of views in the community, deliberations.

What do you see as the strengths of the Dublin Unified School District

Dublin is fast growing community, which is attractive to many young parents who wish to have high quality public education for their children. This was the very reason why my husband and I chose to move to Dublin in 2014. We wanted our kids to have a sense of belonging in a neighborhood, and attend schools that have such wonderful teachers, newer facilities and drive public education in a futuristic way. When districts are stagnant, with no new influx of families and children, it leads to a rut, that hampers growth in education.

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