The Walnut Creek School District governing board has two openings and two candidates.
Thus, wrote Superintendent Patricia Wool in an email Thursday, its election will not be on the ballot Nov. 6. That will save the taxpayers about $60,000, Wool said.
The candidates are incumbent Katie Pena and newcomer Liz Bettis, a former president of the Walnut Creek Intermediate School PTA. Incumbent Art Clarke is retiring after this term.
Pena is a partner in an Information Technology consulting firm. She has a bachelor of arts in Spanish from the University of California at Davis. On the district's website, she lists her priorities as fostering teamwork, maintaining fiscal stability and "support(ing) the district's Strategic Plan to provide the vision and effective structure for guiding the district's efforts on behalf of our students."
Bettis wrote in an email, "Since Art Clarke announced his retirement, I felt that this would be a good time for me to run. I have always appreciated how collaborative the current governing board has been and look forward to working with the board towards ensuring a top notch education for the children of our community. I chose to run not because there was anything wrong, but rather because I want to see the children of our community continue to receive the best education possible. It is my feeling, that even though we have tough times economically in education, it is crucial that we continue to offer programs that keep our children competitive and engaged. We are so fortunate in our district to have terrific teachers and staff and engaged parents and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the governing board!"
Originally from the Bay Area, Bettis and her husband Robert moved back to the area from Southern California in 1999 — "I chose Walnut Creek because of the great schools," she said. Bettis graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor of science in textiles, and used to work in the garment business. They have two daughters — Allison, 19, at UC Davis, and Emily, 16, a sophomore at Las Lomas. The daughters went to Walnut Heights Elementary and Walnut Creek Intermediate.
As a stay-at-home mom, she has volunteered in schools for 13 years, she said, including serving on the PTA boards at Walnut Heights, WCI and now Las Lomas. She has also volunteered for the Walnut Creek Education Foundation, the Girls Scouts and the Junior League of Oakland/East Bay.