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School

Poway Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area A

Photo of Darshana Patel

Darshana Patel

Poway Unified School District Governing Board Member
13,972 votes (61.2%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Student equity and access in all school programs - with a priority on racial equity and inclusion
  • Social-emotional wellness for our students at all grade levels
  • Advocacy for adequate public-school funding

Experience

Experience

Profession:Poway Unified School District Governing Board
Governing Board Member, Poway Unified School District — Elected position (2016–current)
Board Member, Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board — Elected position (2015–current)
Parliamentarian (Past Legislation and Advocacy Chair), Park Village Elementary School PTSA — Elected position (2016–current)
Advisory Board Member, San Diego Police Department, Northeastern Division, Police Captain's Advisory Board — Appointed position (2015–current)
Board Advisor (Past Vice President, Science and Technology Chair), Park Village Elementry Education Foundation — Elected position (2016–current)
Project Manager, Oncology Late Stage Research, Genentech, Inc. (2008–2010)
Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Genentech, Inc. (2002–2008)

Education

California School Boards Association Masters in Board Governance, School Board Governance (2018)
University of California, Berkeley California Certificate in Project Management, Biopharmaceuticals (2010)
University of California, Irvine California Ph.D., Biophysics (2002)
Occidental College, Los Angeles California Bachelor of Arts, Major: Biochemistry; Minor: Religious Studies (1996)

Community Activities

Farmer's Market Committee, Rancho Family YMCA (2015–2017)
President (Past Fiesta, Web and Print, Education Chairs), Rancho Peñasquitos Town Countil (2011–2016)

Biography

I am a believer in effort. As a first generation American, I quickly learned that success comes primarily from effort, coupled with ability and planning. It consistently has been a combination of these three qualities that helped me achieve my goals, even during very challenging times.

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1974; the only daughter of Urmila and Ramesh Patel. At an early age, my elder brothers taught me how to be resilient and face challenges head on. My mother regularly reminded me that, because I was an American, and as long as I put in consistent effort, I could be anything I wanted to be. Although she passed away when I was 14 years old, her words continue to inspire me to this day. My father was an active Rotarian until he passed in 2009. His service to the community showed me how strong an impact one individual’s service can have in a community.

I received a scholarship and grant to attend Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA), where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry with a minor in Religious Studies in 1996. During my undergraduate education, I studied abroad for a year at the University of Sussex in England. Following graduation, I interned at Monsanto (St. Louis, MO) and then earned an intramural training award at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. I was awarded my Ph.D. in Biophysics by the University of California, Irvine in 2002. I joined the Department of Protein Engineering at Genentech, Inc., (South San Francisco, CA) as a postdoctoral scientist and then received a Project Management Certificate from UC, Berkeley. I continued at Genentech, Inc., as a Project Manager in the Department of Translational Oncology managing therapeutics moving from research into development. By the time I left the biotech industry, I had eight years of professional experience.

I love learning and challenging myself in diverse settings. My experiences have given me a unique breadth and depth of knowledge that I use to turn my effort into excellence.

My interests in civic responsibility started in Girl Scouts, continued through Key Club, and matured into leadership roles in organizations in college, graduate school and my professional life. Since moving to Rancho Peñasquitos with my family in 2010, I have served on: 

·      Poway Unified School District Board of Education (serving as President, Vice-President, and Clerk)

·      California School Board Association (serving as San Diego Region 17 Delegate, Legislative Chair)

·      The Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board (Vice-Chair, member of the Land Use Committee)

·      SDPD Police Captain’s Advisory Board – Northeastern Division

·      Park Village Elementary School Foundation – Advisor, Executive VP, Science and Technology Director

·      Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council (served as President, and Chairs of Education, Web&Print, Fiesta and Safety Committees)

·      Park Village Elementary School PTA – Parliamentarian, VP Legislation, Reflections Chair

·      Poway Unified School District Advisory Committee, School Site Council

I am married to a very supportive husband and we have three daughters in 10th, 8th and 5th grade. I am invested in PUSD for years to come. Let’s work together to ensure that our children are given the resources they need to pursue their dreams.

While serving as VP of Legislation on our PTA and on the District Advisory Committee, I realized that I could better serve my community by ensuring that PUSD fulfills its mission for Excellence in Education. I decided to run for Poway Unified School District Board of Education. I have been serving on the PUSD Board of Education since 2016.

TRUSTED · DEDICATED · EXPERIENCED

I am trusted by students, parents, staff, and community: In every role I stepped into, I fulfilled my responsibilities, pushed organizations to higher standards and had the strength to voice my concerns. My background as a research scientist brings valuable STEM expertise to the Board. I am committed to ethically fulfilling my board responsibilities and will continue to work collaboratively and effectively with students, staff, administration, and the community.

I am a dedicated community leader: I have served on The Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council, Park Village Elementary PTA, and PUSD Advisory Committee. In addition to being an elected member of the PUSD Board of Education, I serve on the Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board (member of the Land Use Committee), SDPD Police Captain’s Advisory Board Member – Northeastern Division, and as an Advisor on the Park Village Elementary School Foundation. I understand the role of a school board member and have a demonstrated passion for engaging the community.

I am experienced in Board Leadership: During my first term as trustee, I earned my Masters in Board Governance, served as the Clerk, Vice President, and President of the Board. I currently serve on the California School Boards Association as a regional delegate and Vice Chair of Legislation. My impact as a leader and advocate has been recognized by the San Diego School Boards Association though the First Term Board Member of the Year Award. My extensive experience working on civic boards makes me an objective problem-solver who can effectively manage resources.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Poway Federation of Teachers
  • San Diego County Democratic Party
  • Poway School Employees Association

Organizations (1)

  • Run Women Run

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My name is Darshana Patel. I am a first generation American, civic-minded scientist, parent, and community leader dedicated to educational excellence in PUSD. Since my three young daughters attend Poway Unified schools, I am fully invested in high-quality public education.

My top three priorities are student equity and access in all educational programs, social-emotional wellness for our students at all grade levels, and advocacy for adequate public-school funding.

Since being elected to the PUSD Board of Education in 2016, I've been working effectively every day. When I was elected to the Board of Education, we were facing many challenges: a corrupt Superintendent, poor fiscal oversight, and an education system that was not meeting the needs of all of our students. In the last four years, we have made significant progress by hiring a new Superintendent, adopting best practices with our finance and governance policies, implementing anti-bias training for our staff and students, and building modern educational programs for our students. I’ve served as the Clerk, Vice President, and President of our board, and currently I serve as a delegate to the California School Boards Association. I’m dedicated, trusted, and experienced.

There are some critical issues the board will face this year and in the coming years – like implementing a green schools plan, improved food and nutrition, partnership with community college, and retiring Mello-Roos early to save taxpayers money. Also, there are more immediate challenges like using science to inform our decisions regarding COVID-19 related school plans and confronting systemic racism. Poway Unified needs an experienced community leader to guide the difficult decision processes.

The work is not done, and the needs are growing. The challenges we face require proven leadership by an elected official with a track record of understanding complex issues, listening to families and students, and making informed decisions under difficult circumstances. I’ve been recognized by the San Diego County School Boards association with the First Term School Board Member of the Year Award for my leadership and advocacy and I’m already endorsed by Poway Federation of Teachers and the Poway School Employees Association.

I’ll leave you with this last thought – public education lays the foundation for life-long success – we all agree on that. However, the service we provide has a mandate whose scope of responsibility is constantly widened, and resources are increasingly thinned. In a situation like this, a highly effective leadership team needs members who will draw from their life experiences, be open to hearing the ideas of others, and put the needs of those she serves first. My leadership experience, collaborative problem-solving approach, and dedication to my community is evidence that I am the right person to continue this work.

I would be honored to earn your vote to continue serving our students and community.

Videos (1)

I am running for a second term on the Poway Unified Board of Education because this is a time where proven leadership by an elected official with a track record of understanding complex issues, listening to families and students, and making informed decisions under difficult circumstances is a must on a Board of Education.

My top priorities:

* Student equity & access in all school programs

* Social-emotional wellness for our students at all grade levels

* Advocacy for adequate public-school funding

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