With the retirement of 29-year board member Kerry Clegg becoming official last week, Sulphur Springs Union School District trustees welcomed Brenda Martinez Gerson, the newest member of the governing board, to the dais Wednesday.
Martinez Gerson joined trustees Shelley Weinstein, Ken Chase, Lori Macdonald and newly elected board President Denis DeFigueiredo at the Sulphur Springs Union School District office for her first meeting as a trustee representing the stakeholders of the district.
“I’m coming in as a parent,” Martinez Gerson said. “I’m here to voice the concerns that parents have in the district. That’s the main purpose for me coming on to the board.”
Acknowledging that she “doesn’t have a fifth of Kerry’s experience,” Martinez Gerson said she was a little hesitant when she first started considering a run at the position. “But having people like Ken, Shelly, Denis and Lori and knowing they have a certain experience for me to fall back on, made me feel better.”
The newly elected board member also feels her experiences and perspective from her time as a student and parent will be a benefit for all in the district.
“English learners are definitely something I’ll be focusing on, even though the program is already doing great,” Martinez Gerson said.
The newest SSUSD trustee added that she’d like to increase parent involvement and help parents feel more welcomed when they participate in parent and school groups like the English Learner Advisory Committee, which is a group that Martinez Gerson participated in herself.
“That’s what’s important to me,” Martinez Gerson said. “Having that experience as a parent and being somebody who is bilingual is crucial when you’re trying to assist underserved communities,” or help them feel comfortable when participating in school and parent programs.
“It’s a new challenge for me but I’m willing to take it on with 1,000 percent effort,” Martinez Gerson said. “I love our district. I love our (superintendent). I love our board. It wasn’t very difficult to say, ‘Yes I’m going to do this.’”