The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board meeting Thursday, November 20th, was the last for board member Kathy Wisnicki, who served just one term.

Wisnicki — the only school board member who resided in Malibu — chose not to seek reelection for another four-year term this month, which leaves many wondering whether she will run again for Malibu City Council in April 2010.

Wisnicki ran for council earlier this year, in April, but failed to win a seat.

Out of five candidates, Wisnicki came in fourth, losing a seat to Malibu Planning Commissioner John Sibert by just 24 votes.

At the school board meeting November 20th, Wisnicki was presented with flowers and a glass plaque bearing her name and dates of service.

Malibu parent Heather Anderson spoke on behalf of a recently formed ad hoc committee “in honor of our extreme gratefulness for her service.”

“Two words come to mind when we think of Kathy,” Anderson said. “First, energy and then dedication.”

Several school board members and administrators also thanked Wisnicki for her years of service.

“Kathy, we’re going to miss you,” said school board member Ralph Mechur, who added that he always appreciated Wisnicki’s “willingness to stand up for all our children.”

Said school board vice president Jose Escarce, “I really value your contribution tremendously to the board and your friendship.”

He added that what most stood out about Wisnicki to him was her preparation.

“I’ve been on the board for eight years and I’m not sure I’ve seen a better-prepared board member,” Escarce said.

Assistant superintendent Mike Matthews called Wisnicki “a great district advocate” and interim superintendent Tim Cuneo thanked her for acclimating him to his new role.

Said Wisnicki, “I’m touched and filled with gratitude. I have not wanted to deal with the fact that this is my last board meeting — and the moment is here.”

In reflecting on the past four years, she said she feels like she’s had an opportunity to really get to know the district as a whole, and that she trusts in her fellow board members.

“I have the belief that we’ve done a really good job and are on solid ground moving forward,” Wisnicki said. “I leave feeling that the district is heading in the right direction.”

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