Trustee Area 3 DSUSD Board of Education candidates talk reopening, accountability, aspirations

On Tues., Nov. 3, La Quinta residents will vote for a new Desert Sands Unified School District school board candidate representing Trustee Area 3—after an open seat left by departing school member, Gary Tomak.

Celeste Fiehler, Doug Hassett, and Tricia Pearce are the candidates looking to represent Trustee Area 3 for the next four years—after Tomak’s term ends in December.

Board members Linda Porras and Wendy Jonathan’s terms are also set to expire this December; however, they are running unopposed.

Trustee Area 3 encompasses four elementary schools—Benjamin Frankin, Harry S. Truman, Amelia Earhart, and Carrillo Ranch, two middle schools—La Quinta and John Glenn, and La Quinta High School—and portions of La Quinta and Indio.

As Trustee Area 3 directly affects the Blackhawk community, the Hawkview staff interviewed Fiehler, Hassett, and Pearce to help inform voters and a new generation of students.

Question 1: Who are you, and what do you do?

Question 2: What work experience do you have, and how can you apply that experience to public education?

Question 3: You are running for a Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education Seat for Trustee Area 3. For our peers who may not know what this position entails, can you explain what this means?

Question 4: Why are you the most qualified candidate? What sets you apart? 

Question 5: If elected, what are the school issues you hope to pursue, and how exactly do you plan to approach these issues?

Question 6: What do you specifically hope to accomplish in Trustee Area 3 during your term, if elected?

Question 7: How do you plan to be accountable and accessible to constituents—especially during the pandemic?

Question 8: How would you balance teacher, student, and family input with credible scientific data before making a decision on future school reopening plans?

Note: Please refer to Question 5 for Tricia Pearce’s response to school re-opening plans. 

Question 9: On a lighthearted note, what’s a personal interest or passion that people might be surprised to learn about?

Question 10: Finally, what are you hopeful about in public education?

Question 11: Is there anything you would like to add that we didn’t ask you?

To find your nearest polling place, visit the California Secretary of State website’s Voter Information Tool. To find early voting locations or ballot drop-off locations, visit the Early Voting and Vote-by-Mail Drop-Off Locations page.