In the midst of COVID-19, our community is grappling with the challenges posed by distance learning, supporting students’ mental health and a lack of racial and socioeconomic equity within our schools. This year, perhaps more than ever, the Mountain View–Los Altos District Board plays a crucial role in ensuring that students are able to succeed through what is unquestionably a difficult time.
In the upcoming election, three candidates are vying for two open positions on the MVLA School Board. The Talon endorses incumbent Dr. Phil Faillace and newcomer Laura Teksler.
Both candidates have shown a commitment to serving students and the broader community, as well as the capability to help the Board evolve; Faillace’s experience and Teksler’s firm stances on promoting mental health give MVLA the best chances in coming years.
Faillace was first voted onto the Board in 1996 and has remained a solid, affirming presence during his time there. He has made significant contributions to the community, such as passing an open enrollment policy for AP classes in 2006. In recent Board discussions, Faillace has shown a willingness to stick up for his beliefs, including his letter of dissent on the Board’s decision to institute a credit/no-credit grading policy for the spring 2020 semester. On the issue of equity, Faillace seeks to take a bottom-up approach, communicating with experts as much as possible and implementing an ethnic studies curriculum. As board chair of the CHAC and co-founder of LAEF — two important mental wellness resources in our community — Faillace has proven his dedication to balancing academic rigor with student health.
Although we believe Teksler and current Board President Sanjay Dave, who is running for reelection, have comparable strengths in many respects, Dave’s history of insensitive comments regarding minority students and AP classes are concerning — especially so as our community strives for a more equitable playing field. For that reason, Teksler is a better choice. She brings experience from serving on multiple city and school district commissions and has shown she isn’t afraid to criticize the board. Teksler will push for college preparatory classes to be as stimulating as AP classes, an issue that has arisen in balancing challenging schoolwork and other activities. She has also consistently put an emphasis on student mental health — something that is critical, particularly for those struggling in distance learning.
We believe that Faillace and Teksler are the best options to lead the District through the challenges it faces today.