Patrick Nagle appointed WSCUHSD trustee to fill vacancy

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, September 28, 2021

patrick nagle swearing in

Patrick Nagle is sworn in during the Sept. 22 West Sonoma County Union High School District Board of Trustees meeting.

The board of the West Sonoma County Union High School District became a band of five again after swearing in Patrick Nagle as an appointed trustee at a special board meeting on Sept. 22.

The board publicly interviewed Nagle and two other candidates who applied to fill former trustee Laurie Fadave’s vacant seat that evening. Retired teachers Steve Griffith and Bill Olzman were also in the running. While Trustee Angie Lewis nominated Griffith, Nagle’s appointment was seconded and he was elected by the board’s majority vote first, in front of the audience.

Trustee Julie Aiello cast the one vote against his appointment. She said equal representation on the board was a concern of hers and that its perception would be important in her consideration before the vote. Board President Kellie Noe observed each candidate brings different experience with the more rural region, even though only Griffith lives in Forestville.

Nagle is to serve as the provisionally appointed trustee in Fadave’s stead until the next regular board election coming November 2022, said Superintendent Toni Beal at a Aug. 25 district meeting.

Vice Board President Jeanne Fernandes said that she nominated Nagle for the provisional appointment because of his experience and understanding of large budgets, including the district’s own.

Nagle expressed confidence in crunching complex situations into less daunting steps, with experience managing an over $100 million budget yearly as an area sales manager for Mission Foods.

“I think I’m a very effective communicator,” he said. Nagle stated he expects to ask many questions before coming to his decisions and to possibly bring more clarity to the public.

The present board has many highly experienced trustees, he said, “and maybe sometimes they forget they’re talking to a bigger audience than people who understand the educational thing — maybe they need a little more of a layman’s terms of what’s happening, why these decisions are made and what the impact is of making it or actually even not making it.”

Beal invited him to join the superintendent’s budget committee in the past year, Nagle said, where his application stated he came to grasp more of the district’s budget process with former Business Official Jeff Ogston.

“He asked a lot of thoughtful questions about it, and I think got a pretty good grasp of it,” said Fernandes, considering Nagle’s experience to be “a huge plus” for the district since its budget is one main source of trouble.

Per Nagle’s application, he was able to learn from Ogston, find potential savings in the budget and work on the Analy and El Molino consolidation while on the superintendent’s budget committee. Ogston’s letter of recommendation for Nagle was included in his application.

From 1999 to 2000, Nagle served as vice president of the Village School Board of Trustees board when the charter first opened in Santa Rosa, his application stated.

Deeper west county riled by choice

Nagle’s appointment doesn’t deliver rural representation, according to Lynda Hopkins, 5th District supervisor and chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, who posted a map of the school district to her public Facebook following Nagle’s appointment.

She wrote that “Out in rural West County, an opportunity for geographic representation was missed tonight,” she wrote. “What’s worse, an opportunity to bring the community together by empowering a rural voice on the board was missed.”

Nagle lives in Sebastopol, but he grew up in the Sea Ranch over an hour and a half northwest and attended Horicon Elementary School in Annapolis with one other kid in his grade, he said.

“I know what it’s like to have to get on the bus two hours before school and be the first person on the bus and the last person off the bus every day. And to kind of know that life, I know those struggles,” he said. Nagle doesn’t hail from Forestville, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know west county schools, with Analy and El Molino alumni in his family, he said.

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