Todd's focus as a Board member will be on putting kids first and getting the key things right:
"Thank you for your consideration, and I hope I can earn your support."
TODD'S PRIORITIES & ISSUES
Strong Fiscal Management and Oversight – Especially in light of our recent budget shortfall, after record revenue, we need diligence and responsibility in making sure taxpayer's money is well spent. I will work to maintain our strong financial position, prepare for inevitable shifts in our funding streams, and ensure we spend and invest wisely on the things that matter.
Academic Achievement for Every Student – We have outstanding student achievement overall, but we need to look at our students as individuals, not averages. We should strive for at least 1 year’s academic growth for every child, every year. Closing the achievement gap for minority and low-income students must also be a central goal.
Mental Health & Emotional Well-Being – This has become a mainstream value at our schools, and we have to continue to build on it. We particularly need to increase access to mental health services for our teens. Finally, we need to explore ways to reduce student stress and achieve a healthy balance between fun and achievement.
Data-Driven Decision Making – Debate without data is usually a waste of time. In fact, it's worse, since it can drive people apart. We need to insist on good data to make good decisions, and bring a spirit of cooperation and constructive problem solving to every issue.
Transparency & Trust – The success of the District relies on a foundation of trust with parents, the community, and all our stakeholders. Maintaining that trust requires openness and candor in everything we do, and an unfailing effort to follow through on our commitments.
Todd Collins for School Board 2016
I have served for 6 years on the bond program’s Citizens Oversight Committee, 4 years as its chair. Recently, I chaired the elementary strand of the Superintendent's Enrollment Management Advisory Committee (the EMAC). Along the way, I've gotten to know most of our school sites and had the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of district leaders, principals, teachers, parents, students, and community members.
I'm particularly proud that, as an off-shoot of my work on the bond oversight committee, I was able to identify an opportunity to save taxpayers over $800 million in interest costs on our bond program. I helped form a group of community experts to vet and support a plan to capture these savings, and in 2012, the Board adopted our recommendation. By gathering data, considering a broad set of options, and bringing in the community, we achieved enormous savings while strengthening the District’s financial foundation.
We have three children. Two are now in college; they attended Briones, Terman, and Gunn. Our youngest, now 16 years old, is severely autistic, and after a few years at Barron Park School, now attends the Morgan Autism Center in San Jose. Our experience with the challenges and opportunities of a special needs child gives me empathy and insight into this critical area of our District’s work.
My parents were educators. My mom taught junior high English and later became a principal. Working in the Syracuse, NY public schools was the only job she ever had. My dad was a young lawyer who got hired to teach a class at Syracuse University; he stayed for 40 years and never practiced law again. In my home growing up, teaching and learning were the most important things a person could do.
TODD'S COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
- Palo Alto Girls Softball - board member and coach
- Juana Run (Barron Park), course monitor (10 years!)
- Gunn PTSA - Treasurer
- Terman PTA - Treasurer
- 2008 School Bond Citizens Oversight Committee, Member, ex-Chair
- 525 San Antonio Ad Hoc Committee, Chair
- Superintendent's Enrollment Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) - Chair, elementary school sub-committee
- Building Futures Now (EPA), volunteer adviser
- DreamCatchers (Palo Alto), volunteer adviser
- Founder and spokesperson, Strong Schools Bond Tax Rate Committee, which in 2012 successfully urged the PAUSD Board to reset tax rates for the District's bonds. This action saved our taxpayers over $800 million in interest costs, while increasing the District's fiscal strength for future bond programs.
TODD'S PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
Professionally, I am an investor, and most of my work the last 15 years has involved being an active board member in mid-sized companies. I know how to be an effective board member: set goals, follow-up, enforce accountability; develop an informed point of view and don't be afraid to speak out; ask important, even "dumb," questions, and insist on good answers. I know how to both challenge and support senior leadership, with a balanced approach focused on getting things done.
Earlier in my career, I worked for several years as a management consultant, working with a wide range of companies. Prior to business school, I worked in enterprise software and survey research. You can learn more at my LinkedIn Page.
Todd Collins for School Board 2016