With just over three weeks left in the school board race filing period, longtime board member Virginia "Jinny" Dalbeck announced Tuesday night to her board colleagues that she would not seek another term on the board.
Dalbeck's name will not appear on the November ballot, but incumbent Cindy Wilcox has stated her intention to seek reelection and former board member Jeanne Broberg made the trip to Norwalk Monday morning to file her candidacy papers with the county Registrar-Recorder. Just two of the five school board seats, those currently held by Dalbeck and Wilcox, are open this time around.
Dalbeck has been a member of the local school board since 1994, when she was appointed to complete the term of a departing board member.
Dalbeck dropped off a press release at the Valley Sun on Wednesday. Phone calls to her home seeking comment were not returned as of press deadline.
However, in her press release Dalbeck said, " … as elected officials we have an obligation to nurture and encourage quality leadership within the community," and that "a generation of leadership is denied its opportunity to serve" if officials hold onto their seats too long. She said she intends to remain an active advocate for public education.
According to her board colleague Joel Peterson, Dalbeck felt that she may have become "viewed as a Board 'fixture' and people came to rely upon her." Peterson stated that "Jinny felt it was time to make room for new people to come on the board and that there were other public-spirited people who would want to contribute.
"I am very disappointed that we are losing someone who has so much capability and has devoted so much time to our community as a whole and to our board," Peterson said. "I understand her wanting to make room in her life for other things. This board takes up an incredible amount of volunteer time and effort. I will miss her very much and wish her well.
"As a board, we have tremendous respect for each other and strive to come together in all our decisions for the good of the students and the teachers. Jinny has been an integral part of all these decisions," Peterson said.
"I knew that she was struggling with her decision and I honestly didn't know what she would decide," said Board President Scott Tracy. "She has been on this board for thirteen and a half years and has devoted an incredible amount of expertise and input over the years. Of the five board members, Jinny is the only one who has been a teacher and this experience has been invaluable to us. It is good to have members with a broad base of experience on a school board, but a former teach offers a unique perspective.
"I respect her decision," Tracy continued, "but everyone has to do what is best for their family. She will be greatly missed.
"It will be interesting to see who will run, knowing that Jinny will no longer be on the board," Tracy concluded.
Jeanne Broberg previously served as a school board member for two terms, between 1993 -- 2001, and served as the president. Although the terms are in four-year increments, there is no term limit and board members may run for as many terms as they wish to serve.
"Each of us do what we do best and people serve where they are needed," Broberg replied, when asked why she has thrown her hat into the ring. "It's the way I can contribute to my community and I love doing it."
Broberg and her husband, Charles, were in the Ukraine for two years, moving on to Moscow, Russia for 18 months. They returned to La Cañada last year in time for Broberg to resume her passion and to work as a co-chairman in the set-up and organization of this year's Assistance League of Flintridge Summer School.
Cindy Wilcox, who was first to announce her candidacy in the Nov. 6 election but had not filed her candidacy papers as of press time, expressed her surprise that Dalbeck was stepping down.
"I want to join the crowd of people who will be wishing her well and missing her. It was a huge piece of news to me," Wilcox said. "She has given her heart and soul to the board and she will really be missed."
Wilcox also stated that she is aware of some people who are thinking of becoming candidates in the school board race, but did not want to give out any names at this time.
The candidate filing period for the November election began Monday and runs through until Aug. 10. Should a declaration of candidacy for an incumbent not be filed by August 10, the filing period is extended to Aug. 11-15.