DOWNEY – Downey Unified School Board members Martha Sodetani, Nancy Swenson and Barbara Samperi were all sworn in for another four-year term on Tuesday evening.
The swearing-in follows the cancellation of November’s election – in which Sodetani’s (Trustee Area 1), Swenson’s (Trustee Area 5), and Samperi’s (Trustee Area 7) seats were all up for re-election – due to lack of competition.
There are no term limits with regards to school board service. As such, Samperi has served the longest of the three having been on the Board of Education for 24 years. Swenson and Sodetani have both served for 12 years.
Dr. Mary Stauffer administered the oath to all three incumbents.
2018 Leadership: Much like the position of mayor in the city of Downey, the school board annually rotates the position of board president, vice president and clerk.
Originally, it was planned that Samperi would take the position in 2017 and Sodetani in 2018. However, complications with Samperi’s health caused a switch, leading Sodetani to take the position ahead of schedule.
Now healthy heading into 2018, Samperi says she is excited as she heads into what is likely her last time serving as president.
“I’m excited to see where the district is going, and the new things we’re doing to bring our students into this 21st century,” said Samperi. “Having more rigorous classes with sixth grade and going up every year, by the time they graduate these students will be college and career ready – A-G – and have everything they need to go to college.
“I’m hoping our graduation rates stay the same with these new rigorous courses we’re giving these kids, but I think they’re up for it. We’re not the first district to do this, so it’s an exciting time for us.”
Swenson will serve as vice president for 2018, and Donald La Plante as clerk.