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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
School

Monterey Peninsula Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area 3

Photo of Jennifer Bleiker Murphy

Jennifer Bleiker Murphy

Public Involvement Instructor
2,644 votes (32.41%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Staff Retention: Due to legislative constraints, MPUSD must come up with innovative solutions to keep its talented teachers and staff. I'll explore all options: salary, benefits, housing, professional support, culture, etc.
  • Declining Enrollment: Some of the Peninsula's most active parents send their children to schools outside of the district. I'll work to assess: What are the leading factors in their decision? How are their needs not met? How can we reverse this trend?
  • Military Families: Servicemembers' children enrich our schools in innumerable ways, and are a source of vital federal funding. As a military spouse, I'll work to ensure families are well informed about the district and to reflect back their input.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Instructor
Instructor, Partner, Institute for Participatory Management & Planning (1999–current)
Firefighter / Emergency Medical Technician, Town of Swampscott — Appointed position (2003–2008)
Researcher, Boston Medical Center, Study on Long-Term Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine, Alcohol and other Substances (1998–2000)
Case Manager, Boston Medical Center, Pediatric (Malnutrition) Grow Clinic (1998–1999)
Researcher, Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, Connecticut (1995–1995)

Education

New England College Master of Arts, Public Policy (2012)
Smith College Bachelor of Arts, World Religions with a Concentration in Chemistry (1998)

Community Activities

Member, Monterey Bay Officer Spouses Club (2016–current)
Volunteer, Monterey Bay Charter School (2017–current)
Member, National Organization for Women (1998–current)
Member, League of Women Voters (2016–current)
Volunteer, Monte Vista Elementary School Site Council (2017–2017)

Biography

As a graduate of Walter Colton Middle School and Monterey High, I feel responsible to volunteer for the betterment of current and future Peninsula students.

The quality of our schools reverberates through the community, for parents and non-parents alike. The education, experience and values I gained as an MPUSD student continue to influence me today.

After graduating from Smith College, I served as a professional Firefighter/EMT in the Boston area until marrying a career servicemember. As an Army spouse, I served Soldiers and their families on several committees and advisory positions.

Today, I remain connected to the local military community through various networks, including my husband's work with homeless Veterans at the Veterans Transition Center.

Since returning to Monterey in 2016, I have offered consistent support to my children’s schools and served on the School Site Council at Monte Vista Elementary.

Professionally, I have a Master's Degree in Public Policy and train public-sector professionals in civic engagement, leadership, professional ethics, and commision-staff relations. 

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • County Supervisor Jane Parker
  • California School Employee Association (CSEA Union, Chapter 93)
  • Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC)

Individuals (3)

  • Erica Parker
  • Mike Weesner, (Retired) MPUSD Teacher
  • Carol Weesner, (Retired) MPUSD Teacher, (Retired) MPUSD Assistant Superintendent

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Once 18 years old, I eagerly registered to vote as a Democrat and remained with the party for over a decade. (The only reason I started to register as "No Party Preference" was because my family's business trains government employees. I made the change to underscore that our work is non-political.)

While at an all women's college (Smith), my (quite liberal) views were further developed by the caliber of the education and historied atmosphere of challenging social norms. Being surrounded by other feminists, and living in the LBGTQ+ community was both enlightening and empowering.

All of my political views came into stark contrast when I became a firefighter who worked with more traditionally-minded men. Many of my fellow firefighters didn't believe women should be in the fire service. Yet, we developed mutual respect and each of us would have given our lives for one another despite our fundamental political differences.

I left the fire service when I became a military spouse, where I saw all political views take a backseat to public service and a commitment to something greater than oneself.

Through these three major life experiences, my beliefs are grounded in a deep appreciation for individual freedoms and rights. My respect for those freedoms extend to those who I do not politically align with, just as it did in the firehouse. And like our nation's servicemembers I place my responsbilities to the role and mission I've been given above my personal beliefs and political affiliation.

*Upon returning to CA, I made the terribly embarrassing mistake of not seeing "No Party Preference" as an option and mistakenly registered with the American Independent Party -- a group whose views I do NOT share. Today, I am correctly registered as "No Party Preference" even though my views most often align with the Democratic Party.

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