Written by Clara Kieschnick-Llamas
Todd Collins has served as Secretary of Treasury on the Parent-Teacher Association at both Terman Middle School and Gunn. He also spent four years on the Strong Schools Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee.
With many years of experience on committees, Collins was inspired to run for school board when he witnessed sharp divisions within the school board. “What I saw in terms of the way the board and senior district management worked together was not the way that I was used to,” he said. “I thought, ‘this is is a situation in which my skills and experience may be useful.’”
As a member of the school board, Collins wants to focus on data-driven decision-making. “If two people look at the same data, they often reach the same conclusions—or at least understand why the other party reached the conclusion it reached,” he said. “I find data really helps drain the emotion out of a lot of debates.”
Another focal point of Collins’ campaign is achieving academic success for every student. He has noticed that although Palo Alto students perform very well as an average, low-income students perform worse than comparable school districts. He hopes to change this by making sure that every student has one year of academic performance increase, no matter his or her level.
Having spent the last 10 years working on school committees and having two children graduate from Gunn, Collins believes he is prepared to be on the board. “I think I’ve got a good understanding, from a school, student [and] district system side, what it is to be Palo Alto Unified,” he said.
Collins’ ultimate goal is unity and understanding between the members on the board. “In our community, when it comes to the schools, we’re all on the same side of the table,” he said. “Everybody wants what’s best for our children.”