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ORANGE COUNTY FOCUS

HUNTINGTON BEACH : New School Trustee Appointed by Board

August 18, 1990|JOHN PENNER

A divided Huntington Beach Union High School District Board of Trustees has appointed a consultant in early-childhood development to become its new member, overriding two trustees' pleas to add a business executive to the board.

Bonnie Bruce, who also heads up an anti-drug abuse foundation, will join the board at its next scheduled meeting, a closed session Sept. 5. She succeeds David Warfield, who resigned in June.

Board President Linda Moulton-Patterson and Vice President Charmayne Bohman strongly backed Bruce among a field of seven finalists for the post. The board majority said they believe she will bring to the board a combination of sound, creative educational ideas and business savvy.

Bruce, 46, who lives in Fountain Valley and has one child attending school in the district, runs her own consulting firm, working through preschools countywide to advise parents in the educational development of their young children. She is also the former chairwoman of a special education consortium and now chairs the No on Drugs Foundation, which raises money for drug-abuse prevention programs in Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Westminster.

As a trustee, Bruce said she plans to carry forward many of the policies the board has started, such as the district's management partnership among administrators, teachers and board members.

"I feel the bottom line is what happens in the classroom," she said during an interview Wednesday. "The student-teacher relationship is our foremost concern.

". . . I have no hidden agendas. I think this board is strong, and I like the direction this district has taken in the last few years."

Throughout candidate interviews the past two weeks, trustees--faced with an ever-tightening budget crunch--have discussed the need to bring a business-oriented member onto a board dominated by education professionals.

Board members Bonnie Castrey and Jerry Sullivan each favored candidates with extensive backgrounds in fiscal management. But after Sullivan failed to win other trustees' support behind his nominee, he cast the decisive vote to appoint Bruce.

Bruce said she is confident she can help with the district's fiscal concerns, given her background in running a business and interacting with the community. She stressed that the district should consider tapping into educational foundations and establishing business partnerships to help stretch its dwindling funds.

As an appointed member of the board, Bruce's term will expire at the next board election, in November, 1991, when she will be eligible to run for a full four-year term. She is the district's first appointed member since 1978, when Steve Smith and Brian Lake were appointed to fill board vacancies.

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