Spoke at the OUSD Board meeting tonight…

…publicly announcing my candidacy for the Board for the first time.  Went pretty well.  Here’s the notes from my speech:

Good evening board members, my name is Mike Shanahan.  I’m a homeowner in Ojai, and currently Vice Chancellor of human resources at the Ventura County Community College District. Previously I spent 10 years in the Los Angeles Community College District, and I have almost thirty years in HR altogether. I’ve represented employees as a union attorney and I’ve sat across the bargaining table from them.  

I am also a candidate for the OUSD Board.  

As you well know, the future holds tremendous challenges for the District, and tremendous opportunities.  In this election cycle, when three seats are up for election, and only one incumbent running, a significant change in the Board is inevitable. Change can be disruptive or it can be productive and exciting.  

I choose “productive and exciting.”  The Ojai Valley is filled with creative, intelligent, caring people and lots of concerned parents.  If I am elected, I will require that all major decisions have community input, and I will personally remain available to community dialog. I know from experience that when all stakeholders to the Ojai Unified School District contribute their best ideas, with the Board serving as the catalyst for intelligent conversation, this District will thrive.   And we need to keep three questions in the front of our minds with every decision:  

First, “Will it enhance student success?”

We don’t just deliver education.  That’s going through the motions.  Our mission and our goal is much greater.  Our mission is to create successful students.  Successful in their local communities, and in the larger global community.

Second, “will it demonstrate fiscal stewardship?”

The public trust requires that the District be wise and economical with its resources and that the Board focus on both short- and long-term fiscal health. 

And third, “will it increase operating efficiency?”

The majority of the District’s budget comes from tax dollars.  That means we have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers to use their money effectively and not spend one dollar more than is necessary.  And remember, high operating efficiency means more dollars for students, even with flat budgets.

Our schools are a major asset of the Ojai Valley.  They routinely produce young people of whom we all can be proud.  As a member of this community I want to put my experience in education to work to maintain and improve our schools.  I want to see them shine.  That’s why I am running for the Board.  You can learn more about me and my ideas at

thank you.

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