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JoAnn "Jody" Oliver

Mrs. Jody Oliver

Term expires 2020

Board Member Jody Oliver has been on the SMBSD School Board for nearly 20 years, but she has been committed to the children of the district for 45 years. In 1998, Mrs. Oliver retired from the school district after teaching at SMBSD schools for 38 years. She taught mostly 4th, 5th and 6th grades, spending the majority of her years at Rice School and Battles School. In 1998, she was first elected to the School Board. She was most recently re-elected in 2016.

Mrs. Oliver believes that her background as a teacher helps bring something extra to her role as a Board Member. “I think that having been a teacher gives me real insight into what goes on in the classrooms and at schools,” she says. “Having been in the classroom, meeting many of the same challenges that teachers today must meet, I understand what they face and where their perspective comes from. I always take that into consideration when I make decisions as a Board Member.”

As a longtime teacher, Mrs. Oliver feels that the most important thing she taught her students was to respect each other. “That was the backbone of everything that happened in our classroom,” she explains. “I taught them to have respect for everyone in the class and to respect people’s differences.” Mrs. Oliver brings that philosophy to her position on the Board. As a member of the School Board, Mrs. Oliver also enjoys visiting the schools and classrooms on a regular basis. She regularly accepts invitations to special events or stops by to chat with teachers and staff members on an informal basis. “My greatest enjoyment is seeing the good things that are happening in our schools,” she says. “The students are engaged in learning and the staff members are doing an exceptional job.”

Mrs. Oliver believes that one of the most important educational issues today is reading. She says that students should be encouraged to read as much as possible and to read for enjoyment. In her classroom, she often read chapters of books to her students to get them intrigued to finish the book themselves. She would also read the new books in her classroom library so she could recommend them to students who she thought would be particularly interested. She says that parents, as well as teachers, should do the same thing. She believes that if parents read to their children, and are interested in books, then the children will be more likely to pick up a book and improve their reading skills while having fun.

Mrs. Oliver would also like to encourage parents to become more involved at their children’s school. In fact, Mrs. Oliver would like for everyone in the community, whether they have children or not, to become involved in education. She invites everyone to attend the regular meetings of the Board of Education (second Wednesdays of the month at 6:00 p.m.), and she suggests that community members and parents learn about the school district through the local newspapers, television stations and school meetings. “We can all help our schools stay strong and focused if we become informed, ask questions and get involved,” Mrs. Oliver said.

Mrs. Oliver believes that building three new schools which opened 2004 has been one of SMBSD’s finest accomplishments. She was also very pleased when Jiménez Elementary School opened in August of 2015. Mrs. Oliver is proud of the collaboration among the employees of the school district. “Everyone works together and there’s a lot of trust,” she explains. “The district is also has developed positive relationships with the community and with other school districts.”

Mrs. Oliver says that the community of Santa Maria should be proud of the schools, students and employees of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. “I feel strongly that we have a caring, committed staff to educate our children,” she says. Mrs. Oliver is also complimentary of the children. “I feel nothing but pride for the students of our school district. Our students are hard working and they have caring families,” she says. “Our pride comes from more than just test scores. We are successful because everyone works together.”

Mrs. Oliver has lived in Santa Maria since 1962. She is originally from the Cleveland area and graduated from Kent State University. She enjoys spending time with her family. She likes to read and travel, and she has served on many community non-profit organization boards, including the advisory committee to the Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Commission of Santa Barbara County, the Retired Teachers Association, Mended Hearts and the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center. She is the ultimate Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians fan.

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