September 2020 Advocate: Meet our endorsed Board candidates


2020 SMCCD Board of Trustees election:
Meet our endorsed candidates!

by Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 VP, Outreach Organizer & COPE Chair

Our faculty union, AFT 1493, is proud to announce our endorsements for the 2020 SMCCD Board of Trustees race. This is a very important election for our district: we have three seats opening up in different areas of the county.

Our AFT endorsement committee spent over 15 months researching, identifying and meeting with over twenty potential candidates. We narrowed down the field and held formal interviews with another ten candidates. After much thought and consultation, our committee brought our final recommendations to the AFT Executive Committee at meetings open to all AFT members on July 29 and August 5 at which our recommended endorsements were approved by our EC. We then held a COPE forum for all members to meet our endorsed candidates on September 3 and a subsequent electronic vote went out to all COPE members at which all four of our endorsements were approved.

AFT 1493 Endorsements for 2020 Board of Trustees Election:

Lisa Petrides is an educator whose life work has been devoted to teaching and working with other educators, students, families and public education districts to expand equal access to quality education for students of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status. One of Lisa’s goals is to help local students increase opportunities to earn college credits, certifications, job skills and transfer to four-year universities at a reasonable price. She is also committed to offering tangible support to students facing homelessness and hunger as the cost of living continues to rise in the county. Lisa has pledged to focus her efforts on retaining faculty and staff, and she has stated that she will not decrease salaries or benefits for SMCCD faculty and staff as well as not increasing class size. Lisa has been endorsed by the San Mateo County Labor Council and the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee.

John Pimentel attended Delta community college, worked in government in Sacramento, and went on to found a successful environmental company. His top goal is to create equity and access for SMCCD students by launching a new program for a “Tuition-Free SMCCD.” His commitment is to ensure that every self-motivated person in San Mateo County, especially those who are from disadvantaged communities and first-generation college families, has the same opportunity he had. Another top priority of John’s is reducing the District’s past focus on commercial enterprises, such as privately-operated gymnasiums and recruiting international students. Instead, he has pledged to focus on serving our local students. John has been endorsed by the San Mateo County Labor Council and the San Mateo Democratic County Central Committee.

Maurice Goodman graduated from Skyline College and was elected Student Body President. He has served on the SMCCD board for five years. During his tenure, he has been available to meet with AFT about issues that concern us, and as Board President, he created a special agenda item at the beginning of Board meetings so that the three unions were able to address the Board directly. One of Maurice’s top priorities is to improve student outcomes and lower barriers to success. Maurice is committed to helping students from less privileged backgrounds and to make sure they receive the same opportunities as their peers.

Dave Mandelkern has served on the SMCCD Board for four terms. During his tenure on the board, he was open to meeting with and listening to AFT’s issues. Some of Dave’s top priorities are to ensure a safe return to face-to-face instruction on our campuses when it is safe to do so and to enhance the skills we have developed in online instruction during the Covid pandemic. Dave is committed to continuing to expand our course offerings, degree programs, and student services to match the educational needs and goals of our community and our students. Dave wants to work harder on the issues of housing and food insecurity that our students face and is committed to improve transportation to our campuses from underserved areas. Dave has been endorsed by the San Mateo County Labor Council and the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee.