Turlock school board appoints new member

mrowland@modbee.comAugust 6, 2013 

    alternate textMarijke Rowland
    Title: Arts & Entertainment Writer
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    Bio: Marijke Rowland has been a reporter at The Bee for 15 years. She grew up in the Midwest and has a degree in journalism from Indiana University. She has covered several beats at The Bee from education to entertainment to employment.
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— Turlock Education Foundation President Barney Gordon will be the district's newest school board member after a unanimous vote Tuesday night.

The Turlock Unified School District board of trustees appointed a provisional board member at its meeting as a replacement for former board member Grady Welch, who abruptly left his position in early July. Welch had two years left on his term.

The board opted to appoint his successor rather than hold a more costly special election.

Gordon was among four candidates who applied for the post. The others were Turlock Arts Commission member and retired teacher Llewellyn Boyle, former Turlock Teachers Association President and retired teacher Marsha Memmott, and Turlock resident and parent Deborah J. Martin.

Gordon's involvement with the community and education system impressed many of the board members. In 2012, he helped to found the nonprofit Turlock Education Foundation, which raises money to support the school district. Its goal is to raise $1 million by 2017 to help fund students and education.

Gordon has been the California State University, Stanislaus, director of client services since 2008 and before that worked for six years as the Modesto City Schools instillation support manager. He started his career in the Navy. He also is chairman of the Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Commission.

All the candidates were part of a public interview process during the meeting, with each candidate answering questions from board members.

The question-and-answer session went on for a little more than an hour before trustees voted to appoint their newest member.

Passionate about the job

Gordon said he has a long-standing passion for public education and its potential.

"I think (public education) is a great equalizer in the world," he said. "It can solve the root cause of many problems we see in the future."

He said his priorities on the board will be to look at how to restore funds smartly and efficiently to the budget and implement the new Common Core curriculum smoothly.

Board member Frank Lima praised Gordon's dedication to the community.

"He's already committed more time on different groups and organizations. He has a unique perspective," Lima said.

Gordon will be sworn in at the next board meeting Aug. 20 and his appointment will run until November 2015.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.

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