LONG BEACH PENINSULA — A new school board member will be a familiar face to many.
Anna Taft will join the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors. She and John Holtermann are running unopposed to fill upcoming director vacancies.
Taft is co-owner of Taft Plumbing and Septic in Ocean Park. She’s also a dedicated volunteer within the district and local sports.
Taft is a longtime peninsula resident, and a graduate of the Ocean Beach Alternative School. Her two kids are OBSD students.
CO: Why did you apply to be on the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors?
AT: “Honestly, it’s about the kids. It’s all about all of our kids in the community, whether you’re in Chinook or whether you’re in Surfside or Oysterville. I just want to do anything I can to help make our kids successful in the community. And I mean all of our kids.
“I’m very big on equality. My favorite quote is ‘Everybody’s a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ Not everybody learns the same.
“That’s why I decided to run; just to help. I’ve been on the Boys and Girls Club Board for a couple of years and I feel I did good there. It’s like a step above that. I’m really excited.”
CO: What qualifications will you bring as a director?
AT: “I’m a parent in the community. I’m very involved in our community, as far as volunteering where needed. I do our youth sports. I’ve been working on youth sports for probably 10 years. We’ve sponsored sports as a business. I like to donate and volunteer.
“Also, on a personal level, I think I’m qualified just by being out there watching. I have the drive to help the kids, whether that’s from the sports connection or even band. It’s not just donating, but even showing up to help or just being there. I like to be there. I’m that mom. The kids call me Mama Taft.
“I did the PTO for a couple years at Hilltop. I’ve done plenty of other things. I love to do team dinners for the kids.
CO: What issues do you think the board should focus on?
AT: “Community support. They have been working on that this year, trying to fulfill promises made. If you tell the community you’re going to do something, you have to follow through with it. That’s a big one. That’s hard, and behind the scenes, obviously it’s a different thing going on that the community per se doesn’t always know about.
“Helping smooth out the transition of the schools that we’ve just done. I’m excited that we did. It’s a great thing. I pushed for it.
“A big thing is the divide between the school board and the community. To help our community understand the school board is there for you, not against you.
“I don’t know much about our alternative school yet, but I would like to dive into it a bit. I went to the original alternative school here. I’d like to talk to [Superintendent] Amy Huntley about that. I’d be interested in diving further into it because that’s the background I come from.
“I really want to make sure that all of our kids are learning the same and have the same opportunities. Whether it’s the kid who struggles with behavioral aspects, whether it’s the kid who struggles with not having lunch or breakfast at home, or whether that’s the kid who is excelling and has two parents and an amazing life. They all need to have the same availability and the same opportunities to learn.
“My biggest thing is equal opportunities. I want the whole community to understand that all kids deserve the same. Whether that’s in sports where you don’t stack a team where one is full of all the rock stars and MVPs and one’s not. Or whether that’s in a classroom where kids who maybe have disabilities or struggle are secluded or separated. Put them in general ed. Like my Einstein quote says, you can’t teach a fish to climb a tree.”
CO: What do you consider to be a board director’s role?
AT: “I’m going to help the district help the superintendent. You’re there to provide checks and balances to a point for the district and the superintendent. The school board is also there to help bridge the divide between the district and the community.”
Taft’s interview has been edited for clarity and space.