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UPDATE: Saugus district tabs Dave Powell to join board

Posted: July 18, 2014 10:48 p.m.
Updated: July 19, 2014 2:46 p.m.
Dave Powell. Dave Powell.
Dave Powell.

After more than a year, the Saugus Union School District board is finally back to a full complement of members.

Saugus board members decided Friday night to appoint Dave Powell to join the district’s board, closing the book on the prolonged process to replace former board member Stephen Winkler.

“We’re very relieved that we can move forward with this replacement. It’s been a long wait and a long process,” board President Paul De La Cerda said Saturday.

De La Cerda praised Powell as being active in the Saugus district, and pointed to Powell’s previous experience in education and public policy as reasons he would make a good addition to the board.

“I felt he was really well-prepared to address all the goals and challenges the district has in the coming years,” De La Cerda said.

Powell, who is a professor and director of the Master of Public Policy and Administration program at California Lutheran University, was chosen out of a field of 16 candidates after an hours-long interview and discussion process Friday to fill the seat, which had belonged to Winkler.

“Given what had happened with this seat in the past, I figured this was an opportunity for me to step up and hopefully be a good caretaker of the seat and do a good job for the community,” Powell said Saturday.

But Powell’s experience and engagement with the district go beyond Friday’s appointment. He’s served on school site councils and committees within the district for years.

He also has experience with the district as a parent. He’s had children go through the Saugus district and one is still currently enrolled in the district.

As for his priorities as a board member, Powell said he would like to see the district continue to find ways to communicate and be transparent with parents and community members.

“I think the district has made great strides in that respect,” he said. “I’d just like to see a little more done.”

Specifically, he said he’d like to see agendas for board meetings contain more detailed information for the public to review so they can be better prepared to discuss the topics.

Powell will serve for the remainder of Winkler’s term, which lasts through November 2015.

“He takes the oath of office on Aug. 5. and we get straight down to business,” De La Cerda said.

De La Cerda praised the other candidates who applied for the board seat, and said he hopes they carry their interest forward to the next board election.

“I hope, because of the voter apathy that we’ve seen, that this is a sign that in November 2015 there will be a good pool of candidates who will want to serve and allow the public to elect them as the next school board member,” De La Cerda said.

Winkler’s seat was declared vacant in June 2013 after evidence emerged he lived outside the boundaries of the Saugus district and was therefore ineligible to hold the seat.

Powell said he’s unsure if he will run for a full board term in 2015, but that he is not discarding the possibility.

“Perhaps down the road I may run for the seat, but I think right now the number-one priority is to re-establish trust in the seat itself,” he said.

While one vacancy has been addressed, another is coming up for the Saugus district. Board member Doug Bryce, who was re-elected in November 2013, announced earlier this year that he intends to resign his seat as he has accepted another job and plans to move out of the area.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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