Retired educator and new trustee Stephen Kain was selected as Hollister School District’s next school board president through 2019 after a split vote in his favor at the annual organization meeting Dec. 18.
“It was an honor,” said Kain of being elected president. “Even though I’m a first-time board member, I’ve worked for this school district for 30 years and dealt with all kinds of issues over those 30 years.”
Kain is a former teachers’ union president and classroom instructor who finished out his education career at the district office. That pedigree allows him to understand principal reports, standardized test data, contract negotiations and new school construction among other education issues, Kain explained.
“As union president, I’ve attended hundreds of board meetings,” said Kain, who was challenged by trustee Robert Bernosky for the board presidency. “This is not something new to me. Most things that get brought up I’ve experienced before.”
Kain received support from the two other first-term trustees, Jan Grist—who nominated him—and Carla Torres-Deluna—who seconded Grist’s motion.
Meanwhile, Bernosky, who was later unanimously selected as board clerk, was given a vote of support for president by trustee Elizabeth Martinez.
Kain and Bernosky engaged in some back-and-forth discussion, with both stating their cases for president prior to the roll call vote that ended 3-2 in Kain’s favor.
“I’ve been to more board meetings and done more negotiations over the years and know more about the Hollister School District, then anybody here by far,” said Kain at the Dec. 18 meeting.
Board adds second monthly meeting
Also at the Dec. 18 meeting, the Hollister School District Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of adding a second monthly meeting through March.
The board had been meeting once a month.
“We’ve been in such flux here with (former supt.) Lisa Andrew leaving so quickly. We have so many things that we need to do and it’s been very difficult getting them all done in one night,” Kain said.
They will hold two meetings a month (on the second and fourth Tuesday) in January, February and March “and if we need to keep doing it, we will. If not, we will go down to once a month after that,” Kain noted.
In the board discussion, Bernosky said meetings have been running too late, sometimes until 10:30pm, due to the amount of agenda items crammed into one session. Grist, who wanted to table the vote until new supt. Diego Ochoa joins them, said meetings could run more efficient if public session started on time and if time limits were placed on presentations.
“It’s up to the board. Staff will respond to whatever you want,” said interim supt. William Barr prior to the board’s decision at the Dec. 18 meeting. “Our plate is very full right now. It’s a pretty large list. There would be late meetings (if we did not break them up.)”