PEF hosts donor events for longtime school supporters

School board member Megan Pillsbury addresses the group.

Last Thursday was a reunion of sorts for longtime Piedmont school supporters who gathered at the home of home of Eileen and Chris Kwei (Eileen is current PEF board chair). Organized by Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF), the planning committee, which included PEF board members Cathy Glazier, Mary Lou Righellis, Eileen Ruby and Molly Ashford, along with the Host Committee of Ann Chandler, Anne-Marie Lamarche, Sue Smegal, Dave & Brynne Staley, and Cameron Wolfe, Jr., the event brought together community members who have, over the years, worked together to help build and sustain PEF and the Piedmont school community. 

Guest Speaker, Superintendent Randall Booker, shared his vision for PUSD 2030, which included a look at the tools and skills that this year’s 1st graders would need by their High School graduation. He spoke of the complexity of planning classes and curriculum in a rapidly changing social and technological environment and the innovative methods the teachers and administration are using to give their students what they need for success.

Booker also spoke about the new high school building and theater, payed for by voter-approved bonds, with a planned opening in August 2020. The high school will have space specially designed for next generation science standards, as well as labs for computer science, media arts and more. The theater will be modernized and made more accessible and include additional seating and classroom space. 

Booker introduced Megan Pillsbury, a former PUSD teacher and current PUSD School Board member. Pillsbury shared some stories of the innovation she has seen in classrooms, including examples of project-based learning and classes that integrate sciences, English, and visual arts to help students fully express themselves and develop their potential. She mentioned funding challenges, on which Booker expanded, pointing to a flat state budget and increased costs. Both shared their appreciation of a community that both pays parcel and bond taxes while donating their time and funds.

PEF Executive Director Heather Frank expressed gratitude for those in the room that helped build PEF and pointed to the increased professionalism and community profile PEF has worked toward since the merge with APCP (Associated Parent’s Clubs of Piedmont). Frank shared news about the $2.8 million raised during this year’s Giving Campaign, and spoke about the upcoming parcel tax campaign, encouraging everyone present to support both campaigns and to continue to act as ambassadors for the schools. “We hope that you will all vote for the parcel tax next November, and that you will share with your friends, family, and neighbors why a yes vote is important.”

Eileen Ruby reiterated the need for all community members to learn about what’s happening in the schools, and to act as ambassadors. She went on to share that some of what the community has helped accomplish, including the building of the Endowment Fund, now valued at $6.5 million. “My husband and I remembered PEF in our will, so we can continue to support the community we love,  just as we have always done,” said Ruby., “If you have done the same thing or are intending to, please let us know so we can recognize you as a member of our Exedra Society.” 

Frank wrapped up by thanking the hosts and attendees, and inviting everyone to stay, talk, and ask questions over a mug of mulled cider.
The next community conversation will take place on February 26 at 4pm. Please contact PEF at (510) 653-1816 or email info@piedmontedfoundation.orgto learn more. 

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