The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 27, 2010
A challenger steps up in Sac City Unified versus Roy Grimes

For a while it looked like no candidate would step forward to challenge Roy Grimes in the Area 6 seat (covering the Pocket area, and including Kennedy High School, Sam Brannan Middle School and six elementary schools) for the Sacramento City Unified school board. We took note of this in a June 25 editorial.

But a few days before the Aug. 6 filing deadline, one candidate has stepped forward to challenge incumbent Roy Grimes.

Robert Bartron describes himself as a non-politician who is putting his name on the ballot. He doesn't yet have a campaign organization behind him.

He retired on June 30 as recruitment manager for the California Troops to Teachers Program. He also served as director of recruitment for SEARCH California, helping engineers, scientists and technicians who are leaving industry to enter the classroom as math and science teachers.

He attended John Sloat and Freeport Elementary schools and then Goethe Junior High (now Rosa Parks Middle School.) He graduated from Kennedy High School, Class of 1969, and from the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1973.

A Navy pilot and director of Navy officer recruiting, he served in the military for 25 years, retiring as a U.S. Navy Commander in 1995. He turned to higher education, serving as director of corporate relations at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, the nation's oldest technological university. He was Director of the Albany, New York, branch of the ITT Technical Institute, a two-year proprietary school.

He returned to Sacramento in 2002, where he took up recruiting for the Troops to Teachers program.

His wife, the former Mary Renfree, also is a Kennedy High School grad. She's been a teacher for more than 25 years, currently working as the head of tutoring programs and a reading specialist for Mercy Education Resource Center.

In his blog, Bartron states why he is running:

I am running because I feel we should have a choice when selecting our representative from the Pocket area. The incumbent has been on school boards for 28 years (20 years on the Sacramento County school board and the past 8 years on the Sacramento City Unified school board.) During this time our schools and students have declined in performance. I feel we must make a change if we do not want to continue this decline.

Bartron says he's focused on issues of teacher performance, but believes test scores should not be the measure of accountability.

Nine more days to go before candidate filings close...The more school board candidates, the merrier.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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