Early in his career, when Jerry Dannenberg presided as President of the Escondido Teacher’s Association, he never imagined he would someday rise through the ranks to become a school district superintendent. He would like to take it a step further now by announcing his candidacy for the Ventura USD Board of Education, Area 4.
When asked why he would wish to jump from recent retirement to the school board, Dr. Dannenberg says “I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve the community that my family has lived in since 1986. Not only did this district employ me in several senior management positions but educated my children and now my grandchildren. I want to give back to the community that has been such a big part of our lives.”
He knows the distinct difference between being a superintendent and a board member and where the line is drawn. “I will not cross that line” he says. Jerry believes he has a lot to offer our local school board, most notably the experience gained in guiding the Hueneme School District nine years ago when the district went through a horrendous on-campus murder of a student at E.O. Green Middle School. Dr. Dannenberg recounts the shock and reality of what was to quickly become national news. “Within a day or two I felt it was very important to call the community together, meeting in the Hueneme HS auditorium. Along with the press, there were parents, community leaders and staff. That day marked the beginning of a long healing process.” Since then, Dr. Dannenberg has been a frequent speaker at community and education groups on lessons learned.
Because of the impact that event had on the district, a focus by Dr. Dannenberg on campus violence was launched. Last year Dr. Dannenberg was pleased to hear that E.O. Middle School received the 2017 GLSEN Respect Award in NYC for the school’s efforts to eradicate campus hatred and violence. “With this experience comes a responsibility to share what we learned. Bullying and hatred have become too much a part of our society. We must do more,” Jerry says.
In his quest for a seat on the school board, Dr. Dannenberg will focus on an aggressive approach to campus bullying, equitable learning opportunities, academic rigor, fully staffing school counselors and employee salaries to attract and retain the best.