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I am proud to recommend two bright and dedicated fellow educators who are running for election to the Napa Valley College Board: Amy Martenson (incumbent) for Area 2 (central Napa and Alta Heights) and Beth Goff for Area 3 (American Canyon). I met both candidates at American Canyon Middle School, where we taught together for over seven years.

Amy Martenson has been devoted to education in Napa for the past 24 years. Her devotion has not stopped with her chosen profession as a high school teacher (at Vintage High School) and school counselor (at American Canyon Middle School and Valley Oak High School). Amy has also given her personal time over the past four years to her current elected position on the Board of Trustees at Napa Valley College.

Beth Goff has worked as a teacher in American Canyon for over 17 years (at American Canyon Middle School and American Canyon High School). She has modeled for her students a commitment to the American Canyon community through her volunteer work on the American Canyon Parks and Community Services Commission and the American Canyon Chamber of Commerce.

I know that these two educators have the professional knowledge and expertise to fulfill a key responsibility of the board: monitoring institutional performance and educational quality. They both recognize that the primary mission of any educational institution is to support student achievement with quality programs and services that are evaluated and improved continuously.

In their collective professions, their experiences have included several federal and state mandates, including the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the California State Adoption of Common Core Standards in 2010, and the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.

When each of these legislative mandates was passed, Martenson and Goff participated in professional development and extensive planning with administrators and fellow teachers. They are well-versed in the language of differentiated instruction, outcome-based learning, multiple measures of assessment, response to intervention, and research-based practices to increase student achievement.

In January 2018, California Assembly Bill 705 passed and will require community colleges to use high school grades and course work, instead of placement tests, to place students in college-level classes, thus increasing access to college-level coursework. Every college is required to maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and Math within a one-year timeframe.

As the college’s professors will now have students with a greater variety of skill levels within their classrooms, this new law requires leadership that is knowledgeable about best practices in teaching and learning.

Martenson and Goff have extensive experience in creating supportive, yet rigorous, academic environments for high school students of varying abilities. They are especially skilled in ensuring access for students of low socio-economic backgrounds and students of color, which is a growing population at the college and one that has been disproportionately put into remedial classes.

I cannot imagine two candidates who are more prepared to support the college in implementing this new law. They recognize the value of professional development for administrators and faculty as they continue to prepare for this new change.

In March 2016, the Educational Master Plan for the college was approved by the Board of Trustees without any goals or strategies related to student achievement (despite Martenson’s request for the Board to direct the college President to add a goal focused in this area). The Educational Master Plan will come under review again in Spring of 2019. I know that if Martenson and Goff are elected, student achievement will be the primary focus, and faculty will be appropriately supported in the development and implementation of the Plan.

I am proud to support Amy Martenson for re-election to the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees in Area 2, and I am delighted to support Beth Goff for election in Area 3. I have no doubt that these two passionate and intelligent women will continue to make a positive difference in student lives through their work on the Napa Valley College Board.

Amy Stark, NVUSD teacher


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