PITTSBURG -- Duane Smith is the newest trustee of the Pittsburg school district after he was selected from among seven applicants to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of William Wong.
Smith, a 49-year-old software engineer, was selected by trustees after interviews of the applicants last week at district headquarters.
Smith has served five years on the school site council for Foothill Elementary and has a son who attends Hillview Junior High. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the school board in 2010 and again in November 2012.
"It's been a long road, " he said. "I look forward to working with everybody."
The vote was 3-1, with trustee Joe Arenivar opposed. Arenivar, a former trustee and retired administrator and teacher in the district, defeated Smith and another candidate, Ruben Esqueda, for a vacant seat on the November 2012 ballot created by the resignation of another trustee, Robert Belleci, last June.
Smith's priorities as a trustee include improving high school graduation rates. Another is a bigger push to get more high school students to take courses at Los Medanos College that can be applied as credits toward graduation. "If they miss a class, there's room to make it up," he said.
He would also like to see schools conduct drill exercises to test plans that have been developed to deal with school shootings.
Just as there are fire drills and earthquake drills to make sure correct procedures are followed on school grounds when those events occur, there should also be drills to make sure correct procedures are followed in the event of a school shooting, he said.
"It would be kind of a walk-through to make sure everybody knows what's going to happen," he said.
Smith is expected to be sworn in as a trustee at either the March 13 or March 27 meeting. He will fill out the rest of Wong's term, which expires in early December 2014. Wong resigned from his post because he is moving to San Mateo County.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.