SBCC Computer Science chair makes a run for school board

Kathy McColm and Kathy McColm

For Dr. Dean Nevins, computer science department chair, election campaigns are nothing new.

A candidate for the Santa Barbara School District board, Nevins is currently serving his sixth term on the Goleta School Board. He is also the President of the Santa Barbara County School Boards Association, and President Elect of the City College Academic Senate .

He also teaches three classes on campus: iPhone Programming, Computer Concepts, and HTML Webmastering.

Are there enough hours in the day to be Nevins and get it all done?

“As long as I have some control of my schedule, I can juggle it all, though there are occasions when things collide,” Nevins said.

“I try to sleep eight hours a night and I’m very disciplined,” he said. “And I read really, really fast, and comprehend what I read. I consider that one of my biggest advantages.”

Nevins earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from UCSB, and a doctorate in Geological Science from UCSB. Currently, he is completing the California School Boards Association’s Masters in Governance courses.

With his extensive education, 13 years teaching at City College, and his work on policy-making teams, Nevins says he has the insight and expertise to help the school board improve its system.

Nevins, father of two soon-to-be district students, hopes to promote parent participation and an environment of safety and acceptance in schools. He would also like to focus on strengthening an understanding of school system financing.

At the forefront of decisions Santa Barbara voters will consider next month are Measures Q and R, which will fund infrastructure repairs in local schools. Nevins backs the measures and sees the importance of both proposals passing for a promising future for Santa Barbara’s schools.

“When the economy is really bad, people are hurting and they want to conserve money in every possible area of their life,” Nevins said. “If people see Q and R as an impingement on their money, then they may think, ‘I don’t have the money right now—sorry.’

“That would be a tragedy and shortsighted, though understandable,” he said. Nevins points out that overall, if passed, the measures will have little impact on cost to voters.

Teaching at City College, Nevins works with many graduates from Santa Barbara schools. “That is one of the advantages I have coming from this environment is that I know intimately what kind of students I have, I work with them—but they do need help with study skills,” Nevins said.

“We do a lot of remediation at City College—a lot. The reason why is they are coming to us unprepared,” he said. This is something Nevins said he’d hope to change if elected.

On the job of politics, Nevins said a big challenge for people is to keep sight of the facts about candidates. “When someone says, ‘I’m a this, I’m a that,’ find out how long they’ve been doing it and what they’ve actually done,” Nevins said.

“That’s in politics in general–not just in my race but in all races. There’s so much puffery in politics. I understand the strategy, but it’s frustrating,” Nevins said. “I’m very concerned that the decisions being made on election day will be more political and not be about who’s best for the job.”

Fellow senate member Kathy O’Connor, interim director of physical education, shared her thoughts on Nevins. “Dean has shown great leadership on our campus for many years,” she said. “His leadership style is inclusive of all constituents and he listens to each persons position and ideas.”

O’Connor added, “I am extremely happy that he will be our next Academic Senate President and I believe that his broad knowledge of all levels of education makes him a perfect candidate for the Santa Barbara School Board. “

Come election night, Nevins’ campaign will be over, but his work won’t be.

“Do you know where I’ll be on election night? Right here on campus—I teach iPhone programming Tuesday nights,” Nevins said.

And he wouldn’t want it any other way.