Sonoma Valley school trustee Dan Gustafson will not run for re-election

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After serving 12 years as a board trustee for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, Dan Gustafson, 72, announced on Wednesday that he will not seek a fourth term as the board representative from the Flowery School attendance area.

Gustafson said that both of his sons have finished their 13 years in Sonoma Valley schools and “this seems like the right time to move on.” His younger son graduated with the class of 2018 and his older son is currently a student at U.C. Berkeley.

He wrote of his appreciation for “the privilege of serving the Sonoma Valley Unified School District,’ and particularly his relationships with “so many dedicated teachers, classified employees, and administrators who work so hard to ensure that countless good things happen every day.”

Gustafson expressed support for the district’s new Superintendent, Socorro Shiels, and her new administrative team.

“Time is on their side,” he said. “If the board can re-focus on governance, not management, the likelihood of success will increase considerably.”

When reached by phone on Wednesday, he added that he has met with Shiels three times and that he plans to support her any way he can in the future.

“I think she is already hitting all the right notes,” he said. “I hope district can settle down and focus on supporting her and on student achievement goals.”

As for his future plans, Gustafson has spent the last three decades providing communications and public relations support to winery clients and he said that he’ll continue that work part-time and plans to keep busy with travel, some writing projects, and “some much needed home repair.”

Gustafson’s seat is one of two that are up for grabs in the November election.

El Verano Elementary School area trustee Sal Chavez was not reachable by press time to confirm whether or not he will run for re-election.

SVUSD school board races are held during the general election in even-numbered years. This year, voting will take place Nov. 6. Anyone who is interested in running for a seat has until Aug. 10 to file their paperwork.

As of Aug. 2, according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters office, no candidates have filed paperwork for either seat.

The trustee positions are four-year terms, and whoever is elected would be installed in the position at the board’s December meeting.

More detailed information about the board and the race is available at the Sonoma County Office of Education website,

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