MARTINEZ -- Attorney Deidre Siguenza has joined the Martinez school board, filling the vacancy left when Vicki Gordon resigned last month.

The board members on Monday appointed Siguenza to finish the two years left on Gordon's term. Gordon won a seat on the Contra Costa Community College District governing board in November.

The board interviewed seven candidates, including a former board member and several current or retired teachers. Dena Betti, who came in fourth in her quest for a board seat in the November election, withdrew her application shortly before the meeting.

Siguenza received eight of 12 votes during the first round of voting. Former board member Ron Skrehot, who stepped down in 2010 after eight years on the board, was the only other applicant to receive multiple votes. Board President Kathi McLaughlin gave Siguenza the oath of office and ushered her to a seat.

"I'll do my very best to be prepared and be ready to make decisions that I believe in," Siguenza said.

Siguenza, who grew up in Tacoma, Wash., earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Washington in 1995. Four years later, Siguenza received a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. She is a partner in an Oakland law firm, where she specializes in defending personal injury and property liability claims.


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Siguenza and her husband Dylan Radke have a 6-year-old daughter in kindergarten at Morello Park Elementary School and a toddler son. Siguenza ran for a seat on the school board in 2010 and managed Radke's unsuccessful campaign for a Martinez City Council seat last year. Radke, whose family has deep roots in Martinez, is a longtime member of the city's Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission. Siguenza, who has lived in Martinez since 1999, volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club and Foster a Dream. She also worked on the campaign for the Martinez parks bond measure voters passed in 2008.

During her interview, Siguenza stressed the importance of listening to all viewpoints, building relationships with staff and parents, understanding all sides of an issue and analyzing the long-term effects of board decisions. She said the district should focus on preparing children for the future, supporting all students and meeting students' basic needs, such as for food. Siguenza said she's invested in helping children get the best education possible.

"I'm interested in children and I'm interested in the future of Martinez," Siguenza told the board.

As an attorney, McLaughlin said Siguenza brings skills and knowledge that were missing from the board. "She thinks about what she's going to say; she has a very measured approach," McLaughlin said.

"I was particularly impressed with her comment that we need to be sure kids come to school fed and ready to learn," she added.

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.