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Tuesday November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Sausalito Marin City School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Nathan Scripps

Nathan Scripps

Kids Media & Education Technology at Common Sense
966 votes (7.41%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Finding a financially sustainable, community inclusive solution to course correct our fractured district.
  • Redefining our mission and vision as a single district, rather than perpetuating the fight over resources between our two schools.
  • Hiring a full-time superintendent to bring our renewed mission into reality, bolstered by support from all communities in the district.



Profession:Kids Media & Education Technology at Common Sense
Sr. Director, Partnerships and Marketing, Common Sense Media (2018–current)
Vice Chair, Pedestrain and Bicycle Advisory Committee — Appointed position (2018–current)
Director of Special Projects, Womply (2017–2017)
Tutor, Bridge the Gap College Prep — Appointed position (2016–2017)
Chief of Staff, DriverSide (2010–2016)
Sr. Director of Strategic Accounts, Jumpstart Automotive Media (2005–2009)


Georgia Institute of Technology Bachelor's of Science, Mechanical Engineering (2004)


When we moved here four years ago, we figured it would be a couple years of fun newlywed “training wheels” outside The City before finding a better school system. My wife grew up here and went to private schools her whole life. I am a public school kid and, frankly, I’m not all that excited to figure out how to both pay for private school and afford to live here.


That is why we were so excited to hear about Willow Creek from parents and kids in our neighborhood. They were having a great public school experience, riding their bikes to and from school, and hitting me up for the occasional fundraiser. That really helped us decide to put down permanent roots in Sausalito. After 2.5 years of renovations, we have no plans of moving.


I love this town. I’ve volunteered at the Art Festival a couple times, will be cooking in the chili cook off tomorrow for the second year in a row (Team Youngish – not talking politics, but come for the chili!), and currently serve on the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, my first pubic post and a wild learning curve about the Brown Act and how things move so differently in government than they do in the startup world.


Along the way I heard a story about kids coloring in prime numbers during math class. I figured that was a fun thing for younger kids to do, but when the family friend told me it was 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at Bayside MLK in one room with no math teacher, I just couldn’t believe it. How is that the same district as Willow Creek? How is that preparing them for High School at Tam? I signed up to volunteer as a tutor with Bridge the Gap the next week. I was a tutor in high school, college, and a few more years after that, so it was fun, fit well into my schedule at the time, and let me learn a lot more about the big differences in our small district.


At the start of this year, I changed gigs from software startups to work for Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading non-profit for school aged kids and their families. This summer, I also became a new father to a now 12 week old baby boy named Taylor. He is going to be a public school kid here in a few years, and I am excited about being part of that experience. Earlier this summer, before Taylor showed up in late June, three different people over the course of a week suggested I run for school board. I brushed it off the first time, too much on my plate the second time, but was curious enough after the third to start asking more questions.


Among many other friends, neighbors and parents, I sought out folks that have been thinking about this and working in our schools for a while now. I talked with Jeff Knowles, a willow creek board member, smart guy, thinking about our schools for a long time, happy to have seen him around town several times since. Tara Seekins, head of school at Willow Creek, lives up to the rock star reputation she’s earned as a long time leader. David Finnane, principal at Bayside MLK, is newer to the post but has a great long term track record spending 8 years running an elementary school before another 8 running a middle school. Debra Turner, current non-WCA aligned board member, was incredibly thoughtful and passionate about providing opportunity for all students. And our interim superintendent, Tarena Mares, made time for me when she was fresh on the job after transitioning from an oversight capacity assigned by the county. Glad to have her in that post to maintain some continuity while we, as a district, find our footing again.


Which brings me to the upcoming election, since one of the first things our new board will do is find and hire a full-time Superintendent. After many conversations, and lots of reading, I just didn’t know which way to lean with my votes for the three open seats. One side has three Willow Creek aligned folks with great credentials, while the other side has two non-WCA aligned women that also have great credentials… and I was even vetted as a potential third for that slate. For me though, neither side made sense the more I thought about it.


So, with a new son bringing my months of curiosity into laser focus, I decided to run as an independent and filed on the last day possible. I couldn’t pick a side so I’m running without one. Both sides have big teams, are funded through lots of donations, and are anchored by incumbent candidates. I am doing this on my own, don’t want your money, and I’m looking at our old problems with new eyes. 


Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. – Ben Franklin


So… will I be lunch for the wolves? Will voters stick to the old sides? Or are you up for a new option? Do you think it’s time for a change? I do.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My two biggest concerns in this election are that we lose a school or lose the district all together.


Both of those structural changes will have a very long impact and seem very plausible, yet neither are being given the broad attention they deserve. With under 600 students in the district, and about 1,200 parents likely voting to support the school their kids go to, both sides of the campaign are sticking to safe talking points to attract the broad middle from both cities. Willow Creek has a much larger parent base than Bayside MLK, so it's an uphill battle for the “Two Choice Candidates” against the WCA-aligned "Team Up for All Students" group of three, and, If all three win, Willow Creek will have a four year majority control of the board guaranteed.


A structural change creating two K-8's several years ago has shifted the headlines from award winning schools to a district entangled in cultural, legal, and financial troubles. I believe a structural change is required at this point to set us on a better path. Either the county or court does it for us, or the WCA majority board quietly rolls it out, or ...and this is where my idealism kicks in... we shine a light on the conversation and vote for a different plan instead of choosing the same old sides.


I can't get excited about our “Two Choice Candidates for Two Choice Schools” when their stated goal is to continue making progress as we've seen in the past 2 years. Bonnie Hough and Ida Green are both accomplished women with myriad experience and an incredible willingness to keep negotiating a community-inclusive solution. And yes, programs have been restored at BMLK that had been lost over the course of a decade of WCA-majority board years. However, relying on the double K-8 structure just doesn't seem financially viable in the long run, nor does perpetuating the resource debate with a strong-and-growing-stronger WCA parent base. It’s also worth noting that the past two years of progress came during the latest legal oddity of our district as WCA-aligned board members consistently recused themselves from making decisions.


Nor can I get excited about our “Team Up for All Students” trio when their goal doesn’t appear to be stated on their site at all. Kurt Weinsheimer, Jen Conway, and Josh Barrow speak of “teaming up,” “coming together,” and a “unifying vision” as seeming codewords for the 2017 single K-8 school proposal from a WCA board member to the Sausalito City Council. Both Kurt, as the WCA board president, and Josh, as the district board president, were aware of this plan at the time. Assuming that is the plan, then Bayside MLK will be eliminated and all students will go to a single, independent charter school K-8. Well, all students that they admit since they won’t be a traditional public school and, as an independent charter with their own board, they don’t fall under the governance of our district board. Which begs the question: If the only school in our district is an independent charter school, why would the county support us keeping our district?


An option I’m excited to explore is revamping the old model that worked when we had two award winning schools: two elementary programs and a dedicated middle school. The elementary programs could once again share a campus in order to maximize shared resources, especially before and after school programs, social activities, and subjects like art, PE, and foreign languages (all of which had been lost or minimized at BMLK in the back and forth resources battle). Extra capacity at the middle school could attract other students from the county if we included hands-on experiential learning programs that leveraged our unique physical proximity and access to programs like NatureBridge, Marine Mammal Center, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Bay Model, YMCA Point Bonita, and more. It’s a big idea, a new option, and an admittedly difficult conversation to figure out the finances and program details.


At the very least, that structural shift (and others!) should be vetted next to WCA's single school approach and the benchmark of our existing two-school structure. We can only have that conversation if we keep the district, and vote for board members open to pursuing structural solutions that are both financially sustainable and community-inclusive. I think both sides of this election get that half right, which means either side gets it half wrong.


I joined the race on the last day possible because I just had a kid, my job at the nation’s leading non-profit for school aged kids is ramping up with back to school and the onslaught of fake news and new technology in the classroom, and I am not a political person so jumping into my first ever campaign as an unbacked independent is daunting to say the least.


Ultimately, what kept me up nights or woke me up early in the morning, besides my newborn son, was knowing that neither side provided a long-term solution that I was excited to support. My goal is to raise this conversation at the district level without upsetting everyone I respect on both sides of the situation. My son will be going to school here in a few years regardless of the results, and how he is received and what options he will have at whatever school he attends is always in the back of my mind. I believe we need to have this structural conversation as a district, during this election, in order to keep all doors open while providing long term sustainability.


Absent that conversation, we lose a school or lose the district. I’m not a fan of lose-lose scenarios, so I’m running as a third option. We are one district that can serve all students if we stop taking sides.

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