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La Jolla schools group hears from SDUSD board candidates for District C

Lily Higman, Cody Petterson and Becca Williams are running for the District C seat on the San Diego Unified school board.
Lily Higman, Cody Petterson and Becca Williams are running for the District C seat on the San Diego Unified School District board.
(Courtesy photos)

The three candidates vying to become the next San Diego Unified School District board member for District C (which encompasses coastal San Diego) spoke at the La Jolla Cluster Association’s Zoom meeting April 21.

The association includes representatives of the five SDUSD schools in La Jolla.

Lily Higman

Higman (lilyforschoolboard.com) is a La Jolla resident, a parent and an advocate who has served on several school committees, councils and governance teams.

She said she plans to “be with you every single step of the way and be an active board member. I’ve always committed to visiting at least three schools a week” to speak with students, teachers, administrators and parents.

“I know at the elementary school level, you have some concerns about how you can help your students with all the money that you’ve raised. … If the parents raise it, we should have some autonomy in how we spend it,” Higman said.

She said she will work to ensure that all children get what they need.

“I know we cannot personalize everything at each school, [but] we need to respect those differences and, in the end, do what’s best for our kids,” Higman said.

Cody Petterson

Petterson (codyforsdusd.com) is a La Jolla resident and father who attended La Jolla Elementary, Muirlands Middle and La Jolla High schools.

“I’m a product of San Diego Unified,” he said.

Petterson said he plans to use his “experience, knowledge, extensive relationships to fight for [district] students, teachers, classified [and] administrators to help our students recover from learning loss to help close the achievement gap [and] obtain the state and federal funding our students deserve.”

“I have deep roots in our community,” he added, citing roles with several community groups and public officials.

A meeting to discuss math placement will be held Monday, April 25, in the Muirlands Middle School auditorium and on Zoom.

Becca Williams

Williams (beccaforschoolboard.com) is a Pacific Beach resident who said her experience teaching at a charter school in Texas gave her “the boots-on-the-ground experience of working with” teachers, principals and parents.

As the founder of a network of charter schools with her husband, she said she understands “what goes into the larger-scale economics of a school. … I’m a huge stakeholder in what that looks like and how to help kids.”

Given that the La Jolla Cluster has “the highest-performing schools” in SDUSD, “I don’t want some of the practical consequences of the equity agenda to start picking away at that and taking away from what you’ve worked hard to build up,” Williams said.

Current board member Mike McQuary, who has represented District C for eight years and is not seeking reelection, said “being a school board member is an incredibly important position. … We have a very complex district [and] our challenge is to reflect our constituents [and] always be mindful of our students.”

He said he will work with the newly elected board member to “pass the torch.”

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 7. Mail-in ballots will begin arriving the week of May 9. The two candidates with the most votes in June will advance to a Nov. 8 runoff. ◆