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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
School

Mountain View-Whisman School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Tamara Becher Patterson

Tamara Becher Patterson

Product Manager/Parent
6,657 votes (20.91%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Academic excellence for ALL, including closing the achievement gap
  • Authentic partnership with the community to improve communications and trust
  • Honor our professional educators by empowering, supporting and holding them accountable

Experience

Education

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Business (2015)
California Institute of Technology Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Engineering and Applied Science (2004)
Wesleyan University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Physics (2004)

Biography

I’m Tamara Becher Patterson and I am a proud mom of 3 kids with my oldest entering kindergarten next year. I’ve been a Mountain View homeowner for over 10 years. I was blessed with a great education at Wesleyan University (Physics), Caltech (Engineering), and UC Berkeley (MBA). It was my neighborhood public schools that prepared me with an excellent foundation.

 

Professionally, I lead the Customer Product group and am on the management team at a cleantech startup. I am responsible for delivering solutions that customers love. I will apply those same skills as an advocate for parents and for educational opportunities that help all our children love learning and learn to work hard.

 

I have 3 priorities. Community, Diversity, and Excellence:

  • COMMUNITY. With trust and transparency we can be honest about both the needs and aspirations of our community and partner together to address them. It shouldn’t be “us vs them” as I heard one mom describe her feelings.

  • DIVERSITY. Mountain View has an untapped resource in our diversity. First, we need to acknowledge the diversity and make it a safe place to talk about cultural, socioeconomic, LGBTQ, neural diversity, physical, artistic, and musical capabilities and the depth and breadth of the human spirit. Our diversity opens our minds and our community helps us see our similarities. This will prepare our kids for the future.

  • EXCELLENCE. I accept nothing less than academic excellence for all including closing the achievement gap. Our district has made good strides with this difficult task but we can and must do more. This is why I decided to run. Excellence for all means raising the ceiling to see how far kids go while not being surprised when they exceed our expectations.


I bring a fresh voice. I am not an educator, but I believe there is nothing more important than education for our children.  I am looking at the significant problems facing our district as someone that stays laser focused on priorities and makes decisions based on results and data.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I believe that closing the achievement gap is a top priority in our district. We need to be honest with ourselves and our families and create the shared partnerships to ensure all our students meet or exceed grade level standards.

 

I bring a fresh voice and perspective to the school board. I believe all our students can succeed and our job is to give them the best chance to succeed. I do this by focusing on results. I am not advocating my pet program or the latest fad. I truly believe we have a great deal of expertise in the district. I will rely on those experts - from the superintendent to the school teams - to propose how they feel we can best address our achievement gap in their classrooms. They will be the ones working on this day-in and day-out and should feel empowered, supported and accountable. What I will do is to focus on results.

 

There are well established methods for solving hard problems. First, it starts with a broadly representative team working collectively in the same direction. Second everyone needs to be clear on the priorities because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Prioritizing also includes stating what will initially not be worked on because we all have limited resources (time, energy, money, etc.). Third, we need to ask good questions. By thinking critically and creatively with input from our full community we can review pros and cons and mitigate risks as much as possible. Finally, we need to learn and iterate. We should measure things that matter so we can continuously improve. We must track progress through academic achievement as well as parent, teacher, and student surveys or assessments. But it is also possible to see and feel progress any time you walk into a school with engaged and excited kids and happy parents.

 

I am also clear about the three fundamental responsibilities of the school board: 1) The board must focus on setting the vision for the district by acting as a cohesive and collaborative group and represent the community. 2) The board must hire the best superintendent possible. They need to support him/her to be successful while holding him/her accountable to execute on the priorities of the district. 3) The board must be fiscal stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars and provide oversight of the district. In summary, I believe board members must set the vision and priorities for the school district, the WHAT. The Superintendent and school teams should be empowered and be accountable for HOW.

 

Finally, I also believe that closing the achievement gap will mean that we are a much better school district for all our students and families and for our dedicated staff. When we can achieve this, all of us will benefit.

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