Board Elections: Barbara Owens Profile

By Zoe Wynn

Barbara Owens is running for a 4 year position as a trustee on the Tamalpais Union School Board District. She is a retired teacher from Tam, Redwood, Drake, and San Andres. She is also the mother of a former Redwood student. “I worked at a time where [the district] was doing some great things. We know how to do it and we can bring it back.”

After 38 years of teaching, Owens is confident that she genuinely knows the student and teacher perspective. “I know the complexity of what it is like to teach and to learn…. I really am empathizing what it is like to be a student in a classroom today,” Owens said.

Mary Wuerth, AP biology teacher at Tam, knows Owens from when she taught at Tam. Owens was a mentor figure to Wuerth, as Wuerth has always admired Owens’ teaching skills and how she genuinely cared for her students. Wuerth said, “She has seen the workings of the school from the inside as a teacher, and she has also seen the workings of the school as a parent.”

Owens is very passionate about community input. She wants to make sure that parents and students are a committed and active part of the boards choices. “It’s thrilling to see this kind of community involvement, and I’m seeing it everywhere,” Owens said. Owens believes her campaign stands on the community involvement of reaching toward excellent education and healthcare for all students.

Owens is committed to restoring transparency in the school board. “Transparency is not easy…. but the people, the students, the community, everyone has a right to know.” It is important to Owens to have information open the public’s access. Owens has felt like that transparency has been an issue with the board but she knows they are working to improve it.

Owens wants to ensure that, despite the growing class size, the district will be able be able to serve healthcare and academic excellence to over 4,000 students. Class size is an issue to Owens and wants to make sure it is not affecting the students and teachers. “Both the district and the professionals have agreed that there is a ratio that supports the best possible education for kids. For whatever reason if we can’t and don’t honor those ratios then we are putting the possibility of success for students in question.” Owens feels as if the district must work to ensure that class sizes are within the ratio that California State law requires so teachers are able to do the job they are paid to do.

Owens is aware of the budget shortfalls this year in the district and is concerned about wasting the money. She wants to make sure that every dollar is used for student learning. “I think the question is how you use the resources no matter what the dollar amount is.” Owens said. She wants to be able to have an authentic assessment of how students are writing and analyzing text. “We can do this, we have all the talent we need to see how these dollars are helping our students learn.”

Wuerth said, “I am excited about this election…. I think we have the opportunity to have some great people on this board.”