The Atwater Elementary School District has convened a Community Leadership Council to explore issues affecting the Atwater area and look at ways to combine resources to address local needs.
Sandy Schiber, district superintendent, said the group’s first monthly meeting focused on discussion of its mission. She hopes the group can help change the culture of Atwater by working together.
“There are a lot of things planned,” Schiber said. “We will look at our goals, what we value and what our identity is. We want to bring different leaders together very informally.”
Steve Hobbs, Buhach Colony High School principal, said that during the group’s first session participants brainstormed about what resources are available and how they can work together.
“It’s such a powerful opportunity to bring all our resources together to really improve the city of Atwater,” Hobbs said. “It’s powerful when you have relationships with the community.”
Atwater Mayor Joan Faul is a member of the council and called it a great idea. She said the city of Atwater is interested in forming partnerships with the schools.
Faul said the city and school district are talking about lighted school crossings and working on a water conservation project.
“The main thing is communication,” Faul said. “The lack of sitting down and talking with each other gets us in trouble. It’s going to be a wonderful program.”
Frank Pietro, the city’s police chief and city manager, said he’s happy to be selected as a member of the group and that the first session went well.
A few more people may be added to the group, he said.
“The potential is there,” Pietro said. “For me, I feel so much support in my role as police chief and city manager. We are going to go far with this.”
Jenn Handy, principal of Bellevue School, said the leadership council is a great opportunity not only for local leaders but also for people who are passionate about the community.
“It’s an opportunity for us to refine goals so we all are on the same page,” Handy said. “We are the facilitators of that movement.”
The group will explore what can be done to boost community pride, she said.
Schiber said principals from Atwater’s two high schools and two middle schools are part of the group, which will meet monthly. She said students from the schools will be brought in to tell the group what they want to see accomplished in the area.
Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@ mercedsunstar.com.