Change In SCASD Board Leadership


Esme Brandt

Jackie Huff (left) and Amber Concepcion (right) share a pose for a picture. Huff is officially replacing Concepcion’s role of the SCASD president.

Esme Brandt, Staff Writer

After 12 years, former president of the SCASD school board Amber Concepcion resigned on Tuesday, Jan. 17, due to a new job opening as the County Commissioner. Former State High math teacher, Jackie Huff, is now taking on the role of president. 

Concepcion shared her thoughts on her resignation from the school board. 

“I think that the district is in good hands because there are a lot of really thoughtful people on the board currently and we have really good administrators in our district,” Concepcion said, “I will really miss everyone because they are really great people to work with and I’ll miss being involved at this level in education.”

The president of the school board takes on a lot of tasks and responsibilities such as speaking for the whole board, ensuring communications are done well, helping district administration, and interacting a lot with the public. Taking on the role is a huge time commitment which can be  challenging to handle. Huff shared why she wanted to take on these responsibilities. 

“It’s really about my desire to serve and to be as supportive as possible to all the people in the district who are already doing all the good work,” Huff explained, “I don’t have direct contact with students, but I want to support everyone who does.”

Despite the hardships, when Concepcion reflected on the time she served on the board, some particular moments of joy came to mind.

“Passing the high school referendum to be able to build the new building was an incredibly joyful thing. This was partly because it was so strongly supported in the community that 75% of the people voted yes. It just demonstrated for me how strongly our community supports its kids,” Concepcion stated. 

Designing and building the new high school is thought of as one of the biggest accomplishments the board has ever made, and Concepcion is proud to have been a part of it. 

As Huff thought about the future of the board, she touched on her views on improving the district. “I’m really interested in looking for ways we can be better in all things. We don’t want to be happy with where we’re at, we want to strive for better in any way we can do that,” she said. 

While serving on the board brings a sense of community and fulfillment, it also comes with some challenges. When a group of people have to make a decision that will affect the whole community, it sometimes seems impossible to please everyone. After being a part of the board for 12 years, Concepcion shared mistakes she felt she made, and things she would have done differently.

 “Any time that I rushed through making decisions, I think those were the times where I felt like I had made a mistake. One small example was related to some of the design work in the new elementary schools. The architects had planned to put some prefabricated art designs on some of the walls that were pretty expensive and probably didn’t add a lot of value,” she explained.

“The board and myself didn’t quite catch it until it came to a point where we needed to make a decision about a change order to delete those. Community members who saw this were upset that there was even a possibility of spending money on something like that. This was a situation where I wish that I had realized that was in the design sooner to have avoided having that even have to be a major point of discussion,” Concepcion added. 

The public is not always happy with the board, and neither are the students and teachers. Huff hopes that her experience with teaching will help teachers in SCASD feel more understood.

 “I hope some of the teachers would be happy that a former teacher is in this role. I think I have a deeper understanding of how a school operates. By listening, I can kind of understand the context of their problems a little better,” Huff said.  

The board is in agreement that student involvement is always important, welcomed, and encouraged. Students don’t often go to the board with their thoughts and concerns, so when they do, the board tends to take it quite seriously. 

“We had students bring us concerns years ago when the high school first opened regarding having all gender restrooms available conveniently throughout the building. When students brought that concern to the board, it was something we took really seriously,” Concepcion said.  

After the concerns had been voiced, the board made sure to include gender-neutral  bathrooms into the design of the new high school.

Huff too, loves hearing from students and found that the board is extremely receptive to student voices. “We really love to hear from students whether it be by attending meetings or just sending an email to us at [email protected],” Huff stated.  

In any leadership position, there are responsibilities one must attend to such as time commitment, interacting with the community, and succeeding in being aware of different opinions around you. Helping the school community make changes that will improve students’ education experience is a necessary job that both board members and leaders should be passionate about.