AUHSD Chooses New Student Board Member

The Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) chose a new student board member, Miramonte junior Isabelle Bennette, for the 2021-2022 school year on April 28.

The responsibilities of a student board member are to represent the students on a district level. The member is given a preferential vote, full motioning rights, free speaking rights during board meetings, and a briefing of open sessions. Despite this, the student board member has limitations; he or she cannot go in closed meetings, weigh in on policies discussed in closed sessions, comment on hiring of employees, or negotiate with the AUHSD bargaining unit.

All students can apply, then 1 student will be chosen from each school. Each selected candidate then goes through an election process.

Student board member of the 2020-2021 school year Miramonte senior Preston Nibley recalled his selection process.

“Every single year we have elections for a new student board member, and I believe every single year that has been a senior…The way it works is there is an application that is filled out with a series of essays. Those are then forwarded to each of the five sites…each of those schools go through their applicants and leadership along with site administration, so the principals, select one applicant from each school. All of those are then presented to the board in an interview process and the final 4 candidates, one from each school, are then voted on by the student representatives from each of the schools to be selected,” said Nibley.

“In the end, it is students who are selecting the student representative, even if it is a little convoluted and mixed in with existing structures like leadership and the associated student body at different schools,” Nibley added.

Junior Namratha Kasalanati applied to be student board member.

“[Principal John] Walker called [the applicants] in for an interview to select the Campo finalist, and I was chosen as the Campo finalist. [On April 28,] I went to the district office [to be interviewed with the other finalists]…The candidate from Miramonte was chosen ultimately as the student board member for the AUHSD board, but it was a really fun process overall.”

Bennette, Kasalanati, and the other candidates were able to “really [get] to know each other,” according to Kasalanati.

“We all do really cool equity and diversity work, and it was cool to hear from the others about how they tackled challenges at their school sites,” Kasalanati said.