Gibbons-Johnson brings years of education experience to TTUSD board
The newest Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District board appointee, Patricia Gibbons-Johnson, was clipping school-related newspaper articles from the Sierra Sun long before she moved here just over a year ago.
“I’ve always been very interested in this district,” Gibbons-Johnson said.
After more than 30 years experience in education and business as a classroom teacher, resource specialist, reading specialist, counselor, student records specialist and business owner and consultant, Gibbons-Johnson is dedicated to supporting public schools.
She fills the seat for Trustee Area 1 in Truckee that was recently vacated by former boardmember Doug Hamilton when he moved out of the area in the spring.
When Gibbons-Johnson moved to Truckee from Redwood City, Calif. to join her husband Bill Johnson, she immediately volunteered her efforts to the Measure C campaign.
The $35 million bond issue was passed in early March as a parcel tax to help curb overcrowding in TTUSD schools. She was very active in its passage.
“Redwood City had had a bond issue that had just passed similar to Measure C,” said Gibbons-Johnson. “It was a very busy time for a few months. It’s very important that the measure passed. The ability to get some matching funds for 1A was critical.”
She will be officially sworn in by TTUSD Superintendent Pat Gemma on Monday, July 26. She will sit with the other board members for the first time at the September board meeting.
Until then, she said, she will be busy catching up on heavy reading on board policy and procedure.
“I checked on how much work (being a boardmember) was beforehand. I know it’s like a part-time job, but I’m planning on doing that because it’s important,” said Gibbons-Johnson, who is now retired.
“Schools are very important to me and always have been. I grew up in a school family. I’ve had an occasion to work with school boards in various districts. I’ve always been around schools. There’s no other place that I would feel comfortable,” she said.
Besides the school district, she is involved in multiple facets of the Truckee community. She works as a crisis line volunteer for Tahoe Women’s Services and is a member of the local American Association of University Women chapter. She is a member of the class of 1999 Leadership Tahoe-Truckee.
She loves to ski, which is how she met her husband, and is learning how to play golf.
She has two children and her husband has three, all who are now grown.
Gemma commended Gibbons-Johnson for her knowledge on current school board issues.
“She is knowledgeable already about district and public school governance and has come a long way already in being able to identify the issue,” Gemma said.
On the issues
In an interview earlier this week, Gibbons-Johnson shared her opinions on some of the more recent school board issues:
– Charging for home-to-school bus transportation – “If we will be charging – if it is absolutely necessary, although I hope it’s not – I hope that we charge per family and not per student and charge as little as possible. It’s a safety issue too. If it’s going to be unsafe with parents driving their kids to school, then it’s a big concern.”
– TTUSD’s relationship with the charter school – “Quality education for any student no matter where they are getting it is the important bottom line. They (the charter school) have a lot of enthusiasm for their program and I like the parent involvement. I hope we can work together well. The district got blind-sided when they lost their funding, so it’s been a tough issue.”
– Operating under a tight budget – “In general, teachers work extremely hard and put in a lot of extra time and energy. They wouldn’t be able to have the richness of the environment with the mandated budget without putting in extra time … It’s anybody’s job in the district to make sure we are doing the best we can do with what we have.”
Gibbons-Johnson is excited about working with the TTUSD, which she considers unique.
“I really like the energy in the community. I am pleased to see the grants coming in. It’s very commendable. There’s a lot of good things going on that will create support for the district and the community that surrounds it,” she said.
“And I think the superintendent has been wonderful. I think we’re very fortunate he’s chosen to come here. He’s shown real leadership and does a tough job well. I think everyone likes working with him.”
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