RANCHO SANTA FE — In a 3-2 vote, the Rancho Santa Fe School District voted Sarah Neal as president while Tyler Seltzer shifted gears from outgoing president to vice president.
Neal, who served as clerk, was voted in as president during a special board meeting on Dec. 13.
Seltzer recommended Scott Kahn as president, while newly sworn-in board members Jee Manghani and Kali Kim recommended Neal.
“Scott has done a fantastic job as vice president of the board,” said Seltzer, noting that Kahn’s showed exceptional qualifications with his business and academic background.
While Seltzer noted Kahn’s board experience in both the private sector and foundations, the nomination fell short with the other members not agreeing.
“I’m sorry about that Scott — I think you deserve better than that,” Seltzer said.
Seltzer then opened the floor to other nominees, and Manghani said a few words.
“First of all, I’d like to thank you, Tyler, for stepping up to be president during these last six months,” Manghani said. “Your expertise and experience have guided the school through a tumultuous time.”
Manghani said Seltzer’s presidential leadership always allowed other board members to speak first. He also added that usually school boards rotate these leadership positions and the next senior board members to fill Seltzer’s role would be Neal or Kahn.
“Both of them would do a stellar job as the position of president,” he said.
Manghani said a newly appointed president should be someone who could ideally serve during a transitional year with the district’s new superintendent, Donna Tripi, who was the former principal at La Jolla Elementary School.
Manghani said in a recent conversation Tripi credited La Jolla Elementary’s Master Plan for students achieving high academic results and said it served the students well.
As Manghani listened to Tripi, he said he remembered how Neal had been asking for a master plan for the past couple of years. He thought there would be good synergy between Neal and Tripi, who may be working on a master plan for the district.
He also thought that Kahn should continue to serve as vice president. Kahn declined the offer explaining how the board was probably looking for a “fresh new look.”
Kim also supported Neal.
“Sarah has not been given an opportunity to lead since she has been on the board,” Kim said.
Kim went on to list Neal’s strong support from the community, her desire to push for a governance calendar and goal setting. Kim then nominated Neal as president with Seltzer and Kahn opposing.
Seltzer congratulated Neal for securing the seat.
“I’m definitely honored for the support. I regret not having the support of my other two board members, but I hope to earn yours over the next year,” Neal said. “Tyler, I wanted to highlight that you do such a good job keeping the meetings moving quickly and forward and I definitely will work to do that — that will be a learning curve.”
Neal then restated a commitment for an effective governance team.