John and Rufus in Mammoth. Photo/Submitted
Mammoth resident John Stavlo was appointed to a Mammoth Unified School District vacancy on Feb. 23. The vacancy was left after former board member Dr. Andrew Bourne resigned from the position in January.
Stavlo, an electrical engineer by training and a long-time employee and manager in the aerospace industry, moved to Mammoth several years ago and has served as a independent studies volunteer and/or contracted tutor at Mammoth High School since 2009, after receiving his temporary teaching credential.
Stavlo was one of three contenders for the position. The field also included Andrea Revy O’Connell and Melvyn Lewin.
Stavlo said he brings a strong interest in furthering math and science education to the board, an interest intensified in the past several years when he realized how difficult it was finding qualified employees to work in the aerospace industry.
“By the time I retired, it was getting harder and harder,” he said. “As I looked into it and put things together, it was disquieting. I realized that out of the top 50 industrialized countries, the U.S. was ranked 25th, and California was ranking in the bottom quartile for the 50 states. In the 50s and 60s, we were at the top.”
When he and his wife, Sue, moved to Mammoth full time after he retired (they have had a home here since 1998), he decided to get involved. He got his temporary teaching credential, which allowed him to work at Mammoth High School as a tutor in math, both as a volunteer and as a contracted employee.
He doesn’t expect being on the board will change things in a big way, but he believes his background and experience brings a unique perspective to the board.
“I’ve been in private industry for most of my life,” he said. “I know what companies are looking for, what they need, what matters when hiring new employees. Companies are taking their business where the labor force is. If we don’t provide that labor force, they will continue to do so.”
“We had three strong candidates for this board appointment,” said district superintendent Rich Boccia. “Each brought their own strength to the table, which would broaden the lens through which we view public schooling. John is an engineer and with him he brings a focus on math and science. He made mention in the interview that our students need to be more competitive, that we need to close the achievement gap and we have to do all of this with less funding.”
Stavlo will serve in the position until the term runs out at the end of December. Greg Newbry’s four-year term will also be up at that time. An election to fill both seats will be held in November.
Stavlo is married and the parent of three adult children. He is a former vice president for Northrup Grumman Space Technology’s advanced technology program, and a program manager for many projects in the aerospace industry, including spaceship system design and missile system design. He and his wife volunteer with the local American Association of Retired Person’s free, tax-aide program, are volunteers for the Nordic and biathlon race programs, and are hosts at Mammoth Mountain.
He will be sworn in at the school board’s next regular meeting of March 22, unless the public petitions for a special election.
According to district officials, the public has 30 days to petition for a special election. If they do not, Stavlo will serve until the end of this year.