Three vying for two seats on Menlo Park school board

Daily Post Staff Writer

Three people are running for two seats on the Menlo Park school board as the district navigates a partial return to classroom teaching.

The sitting school board decided Oct. 1 that students will come back to the classroom by Nov. 2 with a hybrid schedule. Students will be on alternating schedules where they will be divided into two groups.

Group A will go to school for a week, while Group B will stay home to learn. The following week, the two groups will switch.

None of the three candidates — incumbent David Ackerman, parent volunteer Francesca Segre and Robert Maclay, who does IT for Stanford Healthcare — disagree with the school board’s decision to bring students back. They all want to continue the district’s work to bring students back to the classroom.

One newcomer will be added to the district’s five-person board, because appointed incumbent Mark Box is not running. He was appointed in September 2019 as a temporary board member after Caroline Lucas, who was elected in 2016, stepped off the board to accept a job in the district.

Maclay, 39, who is a parent of a kindergartener and third-grader in the district, says he is running to make sure the community feels represented and to further support the district.

Maclay says he is different from the other candidates because of his experience in the corporate and health care industries. When asked the first thing he hopes to accomplish if elected, he said he plans to contact Superintendent Erik Burmeister to make sure there is continued support and collaboration as schools continue to reopen.

Segre, 47, currently works at LinkedIn, and has previously worked for former Assemblyman Rich Gordon and as a reporter.

Segre, who is part of the Hillview School Site Council, says she is running because both of her children attend district schools, so she understands concerns about distance learning and the uncertainty of returning to campus.

Segre’s goals if elected will be to make sure the district’s quality of education is maintained during both in-person and at-home learning.

Ackerman, 74, was first elected to the board in 2016. Before retiring in 2015, he was the principal at Oak Knoll. Ackerman says the first thing that must be accomplished is a return to safe in-person learning. He says that his experience and judgment are needed on the board as the district navigates its response and recovery to COVID-19.

As a board member, Ackerman says he had a direct influence over the district’s new homework policy and compensation policies for all employees, and he was involved in negotiating the agreement to get students back in classrooms.