By Barbara Wood
Special to the Almanac
Scott Hinshaw, co-president of the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation and an investment banker, was unanimously selected by the board of the Menlo Park City School District on Feb. 10 to serve the remainder of retiring board member Laura Rich's term.
"How lucky our district is to have five so highly qualified people applying for this position," said school board president Joan Lambert. "I feel like any one of you could do this job and do it well."
Ms. Rich resigned in January after serving on the board for 15 years. That term and those of Terry Thygesen and Joan Lambert end in December.
Mr. Hinshaw has three daughters in the district in kindergarten, 4th and 5th grades. Fellow board candidates Stacey Jones, co-chair of the MPCSD District Council and co-chair of the recent bond campaign, has three children in district schools and Caroline Lucas, an educator at La Entrada School, has two children in the district's middle school.
The other two candidates to replace Ms. Rich do not have children currently in the school district -- Carol Cunningham, whose two children are still in preschool, and Jim Eakin, who served on the board from 1996 to 2000.
All five candidates were interviewed at a public meeting on Feb. 10, and the board conducted all its deliberations in public as well.
Board members appeared to be impressed by Mr. Hinshaw's time on the foundation's board, where he worked with parents as well as the community, school board and district administration.
"That on-the-job training is the best vetting that individual can get," board member Maria Hilton said. "I appreciate that he is interested in wanting to take that next step."
"Our family's going to be here a long time," Mr. Hinshaw told the board. He lives close to the school, and said he cares about "what this district will look like 10 to 15 years from now."
He said the Menlo Park district can serve as a role model for other districts and "I look forward to helping our district become a leader in the state."
When asked how he sees the role of the board and board members, Mr. Hinshaw said, "Most importantly, board members should be advocates for the students."
Board member Terry Thygesen nominated Mr. Hinshaw. "I could work very happily with any of these candidates," she said. However, she said, for the specific tasks the board is facing, including the construction of a new school, "as hard as it is to select one person, I think that the person who would bring the most immediate 'hit the ground' and the ability to help with the things we need to get done, is Scott."
After the vote Superintendent Maurice Ghysels congratulated the board on its process. "This was an astounding feat of team building," he said.