Name: Nicola Weiss
Birthplace: Paderborn, Germany
Residence: Fountain Valley
Occupation: trustee, Fountain Valley School District and full-time mother of five
Education: bachelor’s degree in child development from Cal State Northridge with a minor in business
Experience as an educator: none
Previously elected or appointed positions: trustee, Fountain Valley School District
Community organizations you belong to: I have volunteered with our school PTA for many years and held several board positions, including president. I am a board member for the PTA’s regional Huntington Union Council. I am an active member and hold a board position for the Fountain Valley Educational Foundation and the Superintendent Parent Council. And I have been active in the Action Committee for Education. Outside education, I am a board member, volunteer referee and coach for AYSO 117 and a treasurer for Cub Scout Pack 455.
Why should constituents vote for you?
The success of our schools is what I am passionate about. I am a mother of five all in the Fountain Valley School District, so I have a very personal perspective of what is successful for the students in our district. I am committed to being a strong voice for the children and parents. Because I don’t come from an education background, but from a business and psychology background instead, I do not accept the status quo on how education operates, and I’m unafraid to ask tough questions and look for new, common-sense solutions.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing your district and how do you plan to address it?
Financial turmoil and budget cuts are a reality for the foreseeable future, so we need to work to keep the cuts out of the classroom. Knowing very directly what programs and funding most directly influence the students, I will work to find smart ways to use our resources, and cut when necessary, that limit the direct affect on children and their educational success. We cannot do this alone and need to listen to our community. Eighty-six percent of our residents are without children in our district, and we need to do a better job communicating with them as well.
In the last year, what is one issue that you think the sitting board members handled well and why?
The issues of the request to amend a textbook for seventh grade. The school board has no authority to adopt new textbooks. There is a process and procedure in place for reviewing and changing textbooks, and correctly respected that. The board is not a policy-making entity and we withstood the pressure to go outside our responsibilities.
In the last year, what is one issue the board got wrong and what would you have done differently?
I am proud of the way the board has handled many tough decisions. I would like to see how we can avoid cutting from the teachers and the classrooms.