Election 2020, Gilroy Unified School District: Nirza Starks sees need to support students

Hopes to bring parent’s perspective to board

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Nirza Starks. Submitted photo

Nirza Starks sees the need for continually supporting children in the educational setting. That’s why she’s running for the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees Area 2 seat. 

Starks, 42, has two sons, one of whom is a special-needs student. 

“As a parent, you start to see how some of these processes are quite frustrating in trying to get kids the best education possible,” she said. “I want our community to get to a point where everyone feels supported. I come as a parent really wanting to bring my love for kids and working with them. (Should I get elected), my first action point would be getting our teachers in a better situation.”

Starks emphasized that teachers in Gilroy are underpaid, overworked and undervalued, and said she would do everything in her power to reward teachers appropriately. Starks sees a need to provide extra support for kids who struggle in school, whether academically or socially. 

As a former treasurer and the current President of the Board of Directors at Morgan Hill Parent Child Nursery School, Starks said her breadth of experience has given her a unique perspective on how to find balance between administration, teachers and parents while getting things done. 

“I really like the idea that I can be a board member and help the community without necessarily being attached to a political party and being influenced in negative ways,” she said. “It’s time to bring some fresh blood to this (the GUSD Board of Education) and bring some new ideas that will help everyone in the educational system in Gilroy. I think I can be that person to do it.”

One of Starks’ sons has dyslexia and issues with his speech, and to best facilitate his development, it takes a collective effort of his parents, teachers and principals to navigate the delicate process of providing him with the proper tools to better his future. Starks’ love for kids and passion to help them has driven her to run for the Area 2 seat. 

“The time came when I asked myself if I actually want to do something and make tangible changes within the system to help them, or am I just going to complain,” she said. “So I decided to stop complaining and decided to run. It was time to jump on it. You never know if you don’t take that leap of faith.”

At Morgan Hill Parent Child Nursery School, Starks said she has gained experience working with board members, directors, teachers and parents to find common ground. 

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