Douglas County School Board President Teri Jamin is seeking a second term for Area 5, though no one filed to run against her in the November election.
The 54-year-old professional planner said establishing common testing for all subjects, better preparing middle school students for high school and expanding career and technical opportunities as well as alternative education have been her and the board's greatest achievements in the last four years.
"Everything we do focuses on student achievement," she said.
"'Putting kids first' was my motto for the first run, and I believe that motto has been consistent with the direction of the school district. Six of our schools were designated as high achieving by the state."
Jamin said establishing common tests for each subject has been key in ensuring all students are competent.
"Common assessments are teacher-based," she said. "Teachers collaborate on what to teach and how their students are scoring. If one teacher is getting higher scores, everybody can look at what he or she is doing differently."
Jamin said a more rigorous secondary education curriculum will better prepare middle school students for high school.
"As a board we instituted that at the end of eighth grade, each student and their parents meet with a counselor and determine goals for that student," she said.
"Having your first year of high school at the middle school causes some students to not take it as seriously, and we wanted to change that."
Jamin lauded new programs at Douglas High School like culinary arts and the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
"Research shows that career and technical education programs result in a higher rate of graduation," she said.
Jamin said having two children, 21-year-old Shelly and 23-year-old Mike, helped her understand how a high school curriculum needs to be well-balanced.
"My daughter was very academic-orientated and was valedictorian for Douglas High School in 2005," she said. "My son struggled through school and needed additional services. It was helpful for me to have both types of students in my family. The board tries to focus not just on remediation for struggling students, but also acceleration for high-achieving students."
Jamin and her husband Juan Guzman, who is the open space manager for Carson City, moved to Gardnerville in 1987. For the last 23 years, Jamin has worked for the City of South Lake Tahoe, currently as its community development director. She holds a master's degree in planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.
"My planning background has been crucial," she said. "It has taught me how to build consensus on a board. Working at the Lake has also been helpful. I see their perspective, and I am able to relate to parents and students in all parts of the district."
However, over the last year, Lake Tahoe parents have criticized the board and the district for what they felt was a lack of proper mitigation of elevated radon levels at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.
"I am confident that we have set up the process to pursue the right course," said Jamin.
Jamin said serving on the school board is a way to give back to the community.
"I've really enjoyed the opportunity to give back, and I hope I'll be privileged enough to continue in the future," she said. "The board and I have a passion for education, and it's very rewarding."
As of Tuesday, no other candidate has filed for Douglas County School Board Area 5.