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VENTURA : Harriman Chosen to Lead School Board

A retired high school English teacher who volunteers as a reading tutor in local elementary schools was elevated Tuesday to the yearlong term as president of the Ventura school board.

Diane Harriman, 64, became president of the Ventura Unified School District’s board with the unanimous support of her four fellow board members.

The vote to fill the one-year leadership role came after newly elected board members Velma L. Lomax and Cliff Rodrigues were sworn in to replace retiring trustees May Lee Berry and Terence M. Kilbride.

Harriman taught English at Buena High School and Balboa Middle School for 24 years before retiring in 1991. She was elected to the board five months later--in November, 1991.

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As a former school employee, Harriman has abstained from board votes on retiree issues, such as the district’s efforts to avert a projected financial crisis by revamping its retiree benefits plan.

The board is expected to make decisions on the retiree benefits issue in the coming year.

But board member Jim Wells said he does not believe that Harriman’s status as a retiree will interfere with her duties as president.

“She’s a good team player,” he said. “Her main objective is what’s best for the kids.”

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Although now retired, Harriman still volunteers in the schools, including tutoring reading at Sheridan Way and other elementary schools.


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