Bob Poppenga, a parent of two, an active parent volunteer, a veterinarian and a professor of veterinary toxicology at UC Davis, will seek a seat on the Davis school board.
Poppenga indicated that he will be a candidate for appointment to the vacant seat — to be made by the school board on May 8 — and also will seek one of the open board seats available in the November general election.
Poppenga said there will be many exciting opportunities in the next several years, but a number of significant challenges face the school district as well. He sees short-term challenges with implementation of both the new Common Core academic standards, and the recently adopted five-year strategic plan for the district.
He also believes prioritizing the allocation of new monies from the state will require careful consideration with community input. Opportunities include the development of a long overdue professional development system for teachers and staff, enhancement of partnerships with public and private groups to leverage limited district resources and introduction of new technology to the classroom. Poppenga believes meeting these challenges will require leadership, collaboration, good communication and transparency.
“The availability of a high-quality public education for all of our children is one of the cornerstones of our society,” he said. “A community like Davis, with its abundance of human resources and its educational focus, should be at the forefront of educational innovation and providing a world-class education for all our students with their diverse needs. At the same time, it is critical for the district to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars to assure continued community support.”
Poppenga attended public schools in Springfield, Ill., and received his doctor of veterinary medicine and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Prior to coming to UCD in 2004, he served on the faculty of veterinary schools at Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania. As a university educator for more than 25 years, he has been involved in course and curricular development, development of teaching evaluation criteria, and veterinary and graduate school admissions.
“I know what it is like to be in front of a classroom full of students and to grade 100 examinations,” Poppenga said. “So I’m incredibly appreciative of the dedication of the Davis district’s teachers. We need to make sure that they receive the support and resources to continue to do their jobs well.”
He has held leadership positions in a number of national professional organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, and has served on an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration.
Poppenga participated in the school district’s strategic planning process on the Professional Development Action Team, which met weekly from late September through January. He also has participated in Harper Junior High’s eighth-grade career day for two years.
He and his wife, also a UCD faculty member, are the parents of two daughters in Davis schools – one entering ninth grade at Harper and the other entering seventh grade at Holmes Junior High in the fall.
“The decisions we make today about how best to educate our children will have an impact for years to come,” he said. “As a scientist and university educator, I believe that educational decisions should be based on the best available evidence and best practices whenever possible. Good decisions also require a constant focus on children and open and honest input from the people who are most important in their lives: parents and teachers.”
— Visit his website, www.bob4schools.org; Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bob4schools; or follow him on Twitter, https://twitter.com/Bob4Schools