Dear Editor,

The Paso Robles School Board is demonstrating how disconnected they are from the immediate needs of the district they serve. Rather than focusing on ways to get students back to school or bringing unity to racial divisions, the elected trustees have been using their time to go through details of what led to the district’s financial issues during Chris Williams’ time as Superintendent. The SLO County Grand Jury has thoroughly reviewed the information, found several errors and failures by the district, and made recommendations.

At a time to rebuild, to adhere to the recommendations of the grand jury, the board has decided to use more energy attempting to dig up criminal evidence on and attack respected individuals of our community. One of those people is Deputy Superintendent of PRJUSD, Jennifer Gaviola.

It is time to repair, not further divide. Jennifer Gaviola is a Bearcat. She was a PRHS student-athlete. She is a person with an incredible work ethic and integrity. She literally does two full-time jobs for the district, doing all with expertise and creativity. Jennifer is the lead in all of the district’s return to school documents, preparation, and implementation of agreements with staff and county health. She runs the personnel department and is the lead negotiator with both unions. She remains very active in her support of the high school and still finds time to recognize a colleague, applaud staff … and most importantly, does anything possible to support a kid. Any kid, Any grade. Any color. Any level of ability.

Instead of focusing on a conspiracy theory, board members should be following Jennifer’s lead to get things done within the school district. Why has the board recently thrown her name out there? Jennifer had recently spoken as a community member at a school board meeting requesting three things from the trustees: that they “lead with kindness, integrity, and be future-focused”. Shortly thereafter, she was accused by the board.

Trustees, is this the message that you want to put out to students and staff that rely on and have great confidence in Mrs. Gaviola? We should look back and learn from the experience over the last few years so that we can move forward together in a productive manner rather than trying to divide our community further.

Board members, your platform should be aligned with PRJUSD’s Guiding Principles. It is not to intimidate or bully individuals who stand up to you or think differently.

Focus on the real issues. Listen to your students, teachers, and residents. Work with us to come together- all of us- by embracing differences rather than fearing them.

Authored by and in agreement of Paso Robles community members:

Alisa Bredensteiner
Susana A. Lopez, PhD
Laura Parker
Yessenia A. Echevarria
Juanetta Perkins
Carey Alvord-Schof
Bill Stansbury
Robert J. Ellsworth
Laura Esquivel

Getting through this together, Paso Robles