HAYWARD -- Hours before her swearing-in as a Hayward Unified trustee, Lisa Brunner still was undecided on whether she would seek the board presidency.
"It came down to a question of 'Why wouldn't I do it?'½" she said. "I mean, I came on to make a change and one of the reasons I wouldn't (run for board president) is because I don't know how to use the little buttons at the podium? Or that I'm afraid of looking silly because I'm new and there are some things I don't know? ... That seemed silly. I'm a fast learner and I don't mind asking questions."
Minutes after being sworn in Wednesday night, Brunner and William McGee, another freshly minted trustee, nominated each other to the top officer spots. Former board Vice President Maribel Heredia and Jesus Armas -- elected to the board after being appointed to a position last spring -- did the same, leaving Trustee Luis Reynoso as the tiebreaker.
He voted for new blood, resulting in Brunner as president and McGee as vice president. Reynoso was elected to the board secretary position.
Heredia said she was not surprised by the results -- there had been rumors that something was going on -- but added she is concerned about the possibility that the new members are forming ties with Reynoso, who often has butted heads with other trustees.
"My fear is that the new members have aligned themselves with a very negative element on the board," Heredia said. "That could start them off
Brunner's first order of action was removing Superintendent Janis Duran from the main dais. Reynoso has brought up the issue numerous times, saying Duran's seat among board members was inappropriate because it gave the appearance that she is an elected official.
"Luis may have been the most vocal about it, but having her move was something that (other board members) pretty much agreed on," Brunner said. "She really shouldn't be sitting there. And the general public said that, too. It was a perception issue."
Brunner said public perception -- along with her background in academics and budget crunching -- factored in when she was deciding whether to run.
"There was the perception that the board is not getting along or functioning smoothly," she said. "We needed some sort of change, something to show that there will be peace on the board."
Reynoso said he has no ties or alliance with Brunner or McGee, but welcomes the change.
"This is a very positive thing for the community," he said. "We'll have people with fresh eyes, unbiased, who will look at things a little different than (previous board members)."
Brunner said that going into the vote Wednesday night, she wasn't sure what would happen but was fairly confident that Reynoso would not vote for Armas or Heredia.
Heredia said she's "a little bit disappointed" that she didn't get the president spot, and said she would have had a lot to offer. She said her two years of experience on the board would have been an asset.
"When I came in, I had my eyes and ears open," she said. "I wanted to learn. Paul (Frumkin) and Sarah (Gonzales) took me under their wings for two years and I learned there's a lot to it. ... I do think board members should spend some time to get to know the ropes first."