Thursday, September 29, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 31

Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on September 20th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 30

Lompoc school board candidate Jerri Thiel has what it takes to help local education


Ms. Jerri Thiel is running for an at-large seat on the Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD) board of trustees. 

She says, “We need to get back to the basics: reading, writing, math, history, civics, and science.”

There are a lot of issues that the LUSD board of trustees must deal with during each meeting, but the primary concern of the LUSD should be the education of our children and grandchildren. This is where properly motivated trustees can make a difference.

She goes on to say, “I am concerned that students are not getting what they need to succeed. Test scores are dramatically down, we have more students in crisis than ever before, curriculum is not easily available for parents and community members to review upon request, and we’ve had mass resignations of certificated and classified staff, including the top two leadership positions at the district office.”

When graduating students lack basic math, English language, and communication skills they are unlikely to succeed in life. Employers, including service industry businesses, want employees who can understand printed instructions and warning signs on dangerous equipment. And, if in customer service roles, how to explain the meal choices to customers.

But most of those jobs pay minimum wage, and there is little opportunity for job progression. To get higher-paid jobs in construction, engineering, science, aerospace, or other specialized industries, the applicant needs to be able to figure out complex problems with minimal supervision.

Ms. Thiel has a lengthy résumé of service to children and the LUSD. Besides her two daughters, her grandchildren also attend and graduated from LUSD campuses. She has served multiple roles in local, regional, and state level Parent Teachers Association organizations including president, 15th District (Santa Barbara County), and 2nd vice president leadership, assistant convention chairman, scholarship chairman, reflections chairman, California State PTA.

So you see she not only talks about the education of children, but she has also taken an active role in organizations that seek to improve the learning experience. The LUSD needs her help; if students are failing—yes, I’ll say that if they are ranking well below the national average in many categories of basic learning that the district is failing the community it serves—then someone of Ms. Thiel’s qualification may be able to help.

She says, “I know that the Lompoc Unified School District with strong leadership can help boost our students to new worlds.” 

If elected, she will be arriving just in time to contribute to the selection of a new district superintendent. This person would be inheriting problems left by the previous superintendent and must be able to figure out how to improve learning skills.

It sounds to me like Ms. Jerri Thiel is the type of person needed for this position.

Ron Fink writes to the Sun from Lompoc. Send a letter for publication to

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