BUSD President Terry Doran Leaves With Warm Wishes

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 17, 2006

Students, parents, educators and city officials gathered at Old City Hall Wednesday to bid farewell to School Board President Terry Doran, who is retiring after eight years on the board. 

Doran, who has been in public education for the last six decades, said that his retirement did not spell the end of his public service. Land use, he said, was the issue he wanted to serve the community in next. 

“I am really not ready to run away,” he said. “Some people go to retirement homes, others go on long vacations. But I am not there just yet. Land use is one of the most exciting and contentious areas of concern in the city and it’s the direction I would like to go in.” 

As school board president, Doran had been involved in the school district’s Construction Advisory Oversight Committee and had worked with the mayor and City Council on the warm water pool and South Campus. 

Councilmember Darryl Moore told the Planet that Doran would make a great addition to the Zoning Adjustment Board. Moore’s current ZAB appointee Raudel Wilson ran against District 4 councilmember Dona Spring in the recent elections. 

“I would love to see [Doran] more involved in city politics. I think he would be an asset,” Moore said. 

When asked about why he had decided not to continue after his second term on the school board, Doran said he wanted to honor tradition.  

“For the last 40 years the informal term limit to serve on the school board has been eight years,” he said. “I made the commitment when I ran that it would be at the most for two terms. It’s time for new people, a fresh pair of eyes.” 

Also, according to tradition, the director with the most votes in the school board elections is nominated for president. 

School board vice president Joaquin Rivera, who won the most votes in the last school board election, would be nominated for president. Director John Selawsky, who received the second highest number of votes, would become vice-president. 

“Nothing has been decided yet but I am definitely excited about the possibility of serving as president,” Rivera said. 

A decision could be announced as early as Dec. 6, the day the new and re-elected school board directors would be sworn in. 

Speaking about the areas that still needed work in the school district, Doran focused on unequal achievement levels in the schools.  

“The school district’s funds need to be used more wisely to meet the needs of all our children,” he said. “We need to focus on closing the achievement gap when it comes to children of color. I am afraid we haven’t been as successful as we’d like to be in that direction.” 

Doran added that Berkeley High School would be best served if it was broken down into smaller schools.  

“That was my goal when I first joined the board,” he said. “I envisioned small schools that would have 500 students or less where each child would get the benefit of a small learning environment.” 

Doran was successful in getting the very first federal grant available for planning small schools when he joined the board in 1998 after serving the school district since 1966. 

Friends and colleagues who had spent time with Doran in the school district described him as a father, a teacher and an administrator. 

“His humanity came across at every school board meeting public hearing,” said district superintendent Michele Lawrence. “Since I have been on the board, Terry’s strong advocacy for equality in classrooms and humanity has helped guide my decisions.” 

Doran was given a proclamation by the Berkeley Unified School District, which noted his efforts at passing the school parcel taxes Measures BB in 2000, Measure B in 2004 and Measure A in 2006, the improvement of the food quality in the Berkeley public schools, his defense of the Student Assignment Plan and his commitment and affection towards students. 

Doran also received the Alameda County Board of Education Public Education Award and a proclamation by the City of Berkeley. 

Many also praised Doran for his contributions to the operation of the Berkeley High newspaper—The Yellow Jacket. 

“In my first year as advisor to the Jacket, the newspaper got its first computer,” Doran said. “Desktop publishing had just started and the earlier advisors were having a tough time meeting deadlines. I promised the students that I would show them how to bring out a newspaper in two weeks time and worked hard to make that happen. It never missed a deadline since then.” 


Photograph by Mark Coplan 

County schools supervisor Shelia Jordan hugs Terry Doran at his retirement ceremony from the Berkeley school board Wednesday.