Portola local Joleen Cline has been sworn in to serve as the new Plumas Unified School District Governing Board representing Portola and Graeagle and took a few moments to introduce herself to the community in an interview with this reporter Jan. 25.
“My husband and I moved to Plumas County from San Diego in 1990,” Cline said. “We spent months looking for a community with the greatest opportunity to build a home, raise a family and grow our careers within a small town framework. We were quickly drawn to the beauty of the mountains and all of the outdoor recreation available here, which is perfect for our four sons, ranging in age from 14 to 23.”
Prior to her appointment to the board, Cline gained much experience in a variety of positions, graduating from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1990. Shortly after that, she was employed by Plumas County and worked on grant projects for the Public Health and Drug and Alcohol departments.
She was later employed by Environmental Alternatives as a social worker and was responsible for managing the placement and care of foster children in Portola, Loyalton and Truckee. Next, she was hired with the Plumas County Office of Education as a grant writer and special projects developer.
Cline continued, “During those years, I was able to participate in trainings on budgets, program development, human resource management and evaluation. Those skills were instrumental for me in building my current career and preparing me to launch my own business. I currently own a bookkeeping, income tax preparation and home owners association management firm in Portola.”
When asked about her inspiration to take on this new role, Cline answered, “I really didn’t know anything about the school board until I was hired by the Office of Education when I was in my early 30s. About six months ago I received a phone call and was told that the board seat for my district was open, and was asked if I had ever considered serving on the board.”
After careful consideration, she described this as an opportunity to come back to the school district, this time as a volunteer, and to give back to the district that previously had given her a job, training and experience.
Cline will be representing District 1 for a term that goes from December 2016 to December 2020. During this time, Cline has her sights set on some plans for the betterment of the community.
“I am one of a five-member board entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the students in our District receive the best educational opportunities for the tax dollars we receive. This is a very exciting time for the district. Voters recently confirmed support of our schools through the passage of Measure B. Over the next few years we will be making much needed improvements to our school buildings.
“I also hope to be able to expand our district’s ability to attract, hire and then retain the best teachers to our schools. Staff retention and stabilization is good for our kids, our staff and our community.”
PUSD is currently prioritizing specific projects, preparing request for proposals, and soon will begin drafting contracts for repairs starting with the highest priority projects as determined by each community.
Cline went on to speak of her love for the partnerships that exist in Plumas County. “There are some disadvantages to being a small district/county, but one of the big positives is the opportunity to function more as a family than an institution. Networking and drawing on the knowledge and strength of each other makes all of us better able to serve our students and communities,” she said.
In closing, Cline spoke of her main goals over the course of her term. “My goal is to represent families well, to be conscientious, and to critically consider every vote I make. When I think back on my own education, I remember people who made a lasting impression on my life (not programs). Programs are tools for our front line staff, but it is the people (staff and volunteers) who make the difference in kid’s lives. I always want to remember that. A ‘program’ has no influence without a passionate person driving it.”