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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

Conejo Valley Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Betsy Connolly

Betsy Connolly

17,633 votes (18.47%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Keeping focus on safe, welcoming schools that offer excellent programs preparing students for college and career.
  • Development of new programs and support for existing programs that provide best possible educational options for students while protecting district enrollment in time of flat funding and declining suburban birthrates
  • Careful fiscal management so that funding is available for our the many programs and low class sizes that make our schools great for kids.



Profession:Incumbent Board Member, Community College Instructor, Equine Veterinarian
College Instructor - Equine Science, Pierce College (2002–current)
College Instructor - Zoology, Moorpark College (2008–current)
Board Member, Conejo Valley Unified School District Board of Eduction — Elected position (2008–current)
Board Member / Secretary-Treasurer, Community Action Ventura County — Appointed position (2011–current)
Equine Advisory Committee Chairperson, Pierce College — Elected position (2011–current)
Owner Veterinarian, Tri-Valley Equine Clinic (1984–2000)


Colorado State University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Medicine (1981)
University of Denver BS , Biology (1974)


My husband and I came to Southern California soon after we graduated from Colorado State University's Veterinary school.  We fell in love with the wonderful climate and the ready access to nature and activities.  When we decided to start a family, we looked to Thousand Oaks because of the great CVUSD schools and the City's reputation for thoughtful planning.  We have agreed many times over the decades that we are very fortunate to have made Conejo Valley our home. I left private practice when my children were in middle school.  Soon after, I began teaching a course in Equine Health and First Aid at Pierce College.  I loved teaching in the hands-on-learning environment of the Agriculture Department and a few years later I accepted a second opportunity to teach Zoology for the Biology Department at Moorpark College.  I continue to teach at both colleges to this day. The lessons I have learned there, as instructor, mentor and co-worker, inform every aspect of my efforts on the CVUSD Governing Board. Like many moms, I started with Scouts and PTA activities.  I loved being inside the schools, meeting other parents and helping to make the lives of students and families better.  During those early years I got interested in how policy and process had the power to alter a school's culture.  I accepted leadership roles that led to District committees where I had opportunities to work alongside CVUSD administrators.  When my parent volunteer roles revealed circumstances that were challenging for students and families, I learned how policy, process and relationships could be used to craft solutions that were good for kids.  That is why I decided to run for School Board in 2008.  I knew that I could make a difference in the lives of children by using the skills, knowledge and insight that I had acquired during the 15 years my children were in school. I am proud of my work on the board.  It's been harder to chart a path and navigate obstacles than I thought it would be when I was first elected in 2008 but there have been many opportunities to make a difference.  The issues we face at the District are complex and there will never be enough money or time to do all of the things that we think are worthwhile.  That makes staying focused on what's good for kids so important.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • State Assemblywoman, Jacqui Irwin
  • Mayor of Thousand Oaks, Joel Price
  • State Senator Fran Pavley

Organizations (4)

  • Ventura County Women's Political Council
  • Unified Association of Conejo Teachers
  • Ventura County Democratic Party
  • Democratic Women's Council of the Conejo Valley

Elected Officials (3)

  • Ventura County Community College District Trustee, Dianne McKay
  • U.S. Congresswoman, Julia Brownley
  • County Superintendent of Schools, Stan Mantooth

Individuals (7)

  • Former CVUSD Superintendent, Jeff Baarstad
  • Former Principal Newbury Park High School, Athol Wong
  • Former CVUSD Supterintendent, Bob Fraisse
  • Former CVUSD Superintendent, Mario Contini
  • Ron Lipari, Former Principal Westlake High School
  • Rick Lemmo - Involved Community Member, Parent and engaged volunteer
  • Former CVUSD Board Member, Tim Stephens

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Betsy Connolly:


Although the paperwork submission burden to local school districts remains excessive, the local control and accountability plan has been good for our District.  Our Superintendent has been forward thinking in this area and a great effort has been made to bring the community into the discussion.  Senior staff are reporting to the board on measured outcomes and the process is helping us to direct funds where we need them most and where they do the most good. Our communications specialists have developed a great reporting system for the LCAP goals. We are using the LCAP goal system to structure our Board self-assessment and annual goals.  

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Although there is no one-size-fits-all formula for education, certain core principles always remain.  On the front line we need skilled and caring teachers because the classroom is where students need to be engaged in learning. For teachers and students to be successful we need thriving and vibrant campus communities.  We need to protect and promote programs that engage students, because that's educationally sound and it also enhances enrollment which keeps our district fiscally strong.  There is no room on the School Board for personal or political agendas that interfere with doing what is best for our children.  I believe in following State and Federal law and protecting the individual and collective rights of students, teachers and staff.  With those basic principles in mind, I am resolute in my belief that: No young person should experience any form of discrimination at their school.   I have been a clear voice for progress in this area as the CVUSD has worked to improve opportunities and protections for all of our students. I believe that all students are worthy and deserve a safe and nurturing school environment. I am committed to protecting the free speech rights of students but we need to recognize that these are children, who are still learning to be tolerant, resilient and accountable.  Schools must be safe and inclusive places where free speech and tolerance meet.  I want students to learn about the rights and responsibilities that come with free speech and I want teachers and administrators to be empowered to protect the safety and culture of their schools. I support the adoption of the updated Sexual Health curriculum because it is science and fact based, sets the stage for students to develop tolerance, respect and trust and it conforms with the requirements of existing State law.  Our families deserve an inclusive and comprehensive curriculum that prepares students to take their places as responsible members of society.

Candidate Contact Info

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