Kenneth Enney will be sworn into the position at the Oct. 11 meeting
PASO ROBLES — A new trustee has been appointed to the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District to fill the vacant seat left by Chris Bausch. Retired Marine Kenneth Enney has been appointed to fill the seat and will be officially sworn in at the Oct. 11 meeting.
PRJUSD held a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 4, to appoint the new trustee. Bausch left the school board in August after being appointed to serve on City Council to fill Maria Garcia’s vacated seat.
During their introduction, Enney told the trustees he is a retired Marine, having served for 25 years and was an intelligence officer for the majority of those years. He has lived in the district for 10 years and described himself as a “wannabe rancher.” Additionally, he taught American history and national security affairs part-time at Allan Hancock College.
“My interest in education in America stems from my concern that we are not doing enough to help the next generation,” said Enney. “I look at all the divisions in the country and see mostly the youth are suffering because of it. Trying to figure out a better way to innovate and improve education to improve the academic standing of our students not only in Paso Robles but throughout the country is my primary concern.”
There were a total of seven candidates applying for the at-large seat: Enney, Peter J. Byrne, Sheila Kaye Page, Kenneth Melvin Parish, Dale Irving Gustin, Randall V. Jordan, and Matthew Clarke McClish. Catherine Reimer dropped out of the race.
Following the candidate interviews, trustees narrowed down the candidates to their top three: Enney, Parish, and Page. Ultimately, Enney was appointed as the new trustee with a 4-2 vote, Tim Gearhart and Nathan Williams both voting no.
Topics covered in the questions ranged from financial responsibility, critical race theory, being a non-partisan trustee, and district goals.
Parish and Enney were the two finalists for the seat. Born and raised in Paso Robles, Parish served on City Council in 1980.
When narrowing down their candidates, Gearhart explained why Parish was at the top of his list.
“The last time we had a person of color on this board was 1990. And yet, over half of our kids are people of color,” he said. “We talk about diversity, but we haven’t really done it on the board or in positions way high. I think it’s time since we all have voted well for Ken Parish to give this board a shot. I say, Ken Parish.”
Trustee Lance Gannon responded to Gearhart’s comment, saying, “Tim, the selection for me is not about what our board looks like as far as diversity goes. It’s about what is about what we think is the best choice. My selection isn’t going to be to make the board look correct for whoever out there.”
Before the trustees cast their final votes, Williams explained his choice to vote for Parish.
“As far as the best interest of the direction that we are going in, that we’ve been working hard for, I think that Mr. Parish would be able to reflect that and support that,” said Williams.
Gearhart joined Williams in endorsing Parish as the new trustee.
He said, “I think we need to realize the responsibilities we have to represent all of the community members … this is an important part of all.”
Enney will officially be appointed to the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District at the next board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m.