The following is a questionnaire sent out by The Bee to candidates for the November 2009 election. Candidates supplied the answers, and they are being published it their unedited form.
What is your full, legal name?
Kerry Brian McWilliams
What name do you prefer be used in print?
What office do you seek?
School Board Member, Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District (NCLUSD)
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I have been committed to this school district and this community for 30 years. It’s important that we continue to offer a quality education to students despite budget cuts, and get back to putting the needs of the students first when decisions, programs and staffing issues are discussed.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
My most important priority is to make sure that we offer the support needed to all students in all areas in order to prepare them for college and a career.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
What sets me apart is my experience in education. I am a former teacher, coach and administrator in NCLUSD, working 21 years as a teacher, 29 years as a baseball and basketball coach (also 12 years as an athletic director), and 8 years as an assistant principal at Orestimba High School. I am very familiar with how schools run and what steps a school and district should take to be successful.
What position do you hold regarding the removal of “Bless Me, Ultima” or other works?
While teaching English at Orestimba High School, I taught “Bless Me, Ultima” as part of the sophomore curriculum. It was a book that all students related to and enjoyed. As with many high school literature selections, it had some controversial parts, but the overall theme and the connections students made with the book outweighed the sampling of profanity found in the book. As an assistant principal, I handled parental complaints concerning literature selections. We followed a process where parents would meet with the teacher and me to discuss their concerns, and then offer them an alternative novel if they still felt strongly after meeting. The main issue I have with the superintendent’s and board’s decision to remove it from the curriculum is that it denied a vast majority of students access to the novel where they would receive instruction from very qualified, sensitive, and caring teachers. I spoke at the December 2008 board meeting under “Public Communication – Non-Agenda Item.” * I have attached the comments I made to the board that evening with my e-mail.
Where do you work and what is your job title? (If retired, list position before retirement)
I am an assistant principal at Creekside Middle School in Patterson. I also serve as the commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference of the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section.
What date were you born and where?
I was born on June 6, 1956 in Vallejo, California.
What is your spouse's name, if any?
My wife’s name is Kathleen McWilliams.
What are the names and ages of your children, if any?
We have two children; Aaron (28) and Kasey (23) both attended NCLUSD schools K-12 and are Orestimba and college graduates.
Please list the schools and colleges you attended, the degrees you attained and when.
Graduate of Vallejo High School – 1974
Attended Solano Community College – 1974-1976
Graduate of U.C. Davis, B.A. in Physical Education – 1978
Earned Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Physical Education and English – 1979
Earned Administrative Credential from National University – 2005
Have you ever held an elected or appointed public office? (Include dates and office title)
Have you run before for an elected public office? (Include dates and exact office title)
Approximately how much money do you expect to spend on your campaign?
Have you ever been convicted or charged with a crime other than a minor traffic violation? If so, please explain and include dates and locations.
Have you or a business you owned or had principal interest in ever filed bankruptcy? If so, please include dates and the location the bankruptcy was filed.