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Lodi Unified School District will appoint new member when Michael Abdallah’s term ends

Abdallah plans eventual move to SoCal; no one filed for soon-to-be open seat

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Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:59 am, Fri Aug 24, 2012.

Though Lodi Unified School District trustee Michael Abdallah of Stockton will not run for re-election this year, he plans to stay involved with schools in the district as long as he is living in the area.

Abdallah has served on the board of trustees for two years and will represent Area 6 until December.

He chose not to run for re-election because his wife will retire from her job at the Bank of Stockton within two years, and the trustee job runs for four years. When she retires, the couple plans to move to Southern California to live closer to their daughter, who will soon be married.

"If I run and resign halfway, it's not fair for the schools, it's not fair to the district, it's not fair to anybody," he said in a phone interview.

But no one has filed to replace Abdallah on the board. As a result, the board will go through the appointment process to fill the seat. The same process was used last year when trustee Ralph Womack was appointed to replace former trustee Ken Davis after his resignation.

If no one applies for the seat, Abdallah said he would consider a one or two year appointment. But he would prefer that someone is appointed who can remain for the entire term.

"What if I end up leaving in one year? That makes it really hard to make a decision, and I don't feel right about it," he said.

Abdallah joined the board in 2010 after teaching in the district for 30 years. He taught math at Morada Middle School for 15 years, then at Bear Creek High School, where he retired.

"I wanted to be part of the district. I know what the kids need and I want to do what I can for our students," he said.

In his term, Abdallah said he has seen a change come over the board compared to his time as a teacher. The biggest change, said Abdallah, was that the board became more open with the public. Trustees planned the 2011-2012 budget after spending the better part of a Saturday gathering input from community members and parents.

"It's not our money; we're working for the community. Don't lock people out," he said.

After leaving the board, Abdallah will help out in classrooms and support teachers in math lessons, as well as possibly working as a substitute teacher, until he moves to Southern California.

Once Lodi Unified advertises the seat for Area 6, any registered voter living in the area can apply. The board will interview candidates in an open meeting, then make a selection. A map of the area and a written description can be found at www.lodiusd.net.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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