Dec 8 2022

On December 8, 2022, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters published the final certified results of the November 8, 2022 Piedmont Election. 

Members, Piedmont City Council –

Andersen, Ramsey, and Long elected to 4 year terms.

City Council Contest Votes Percentage

Betsy Smegal Andersen

4,683 30.48 %

Tom Ramsey

3,921 25.52 %

Jennifer Long

3,902 25.40 %
Bridget McInerney Harris 1,675 10.90 %
Jeanne Solnordal 982 6.39 %
Sunny Bostrom-Fleming 200 1.30 %

Members, Piedmont Board of Education –

Medhekar and Thomasson Elected to 4 year terms.

School Board Contest Votes Percentage

Ruchi Medhekar

4,291 43.20 %

Lindsay Thomasson

3,951 39.77 %
Shirley Hooi 1,692 17.03 %


Swearing in is expected on Monday, December 19, 2022.  A notice will be published. 

The Piedmont Civic Association thanks all who participated in the election process. 

Nov 29 2022

The Curative COVID-19 testing kiosk in the Community Hall parking lot will close permanently on Friday, December 2, 2022.

The kiosk has provided over 11,000 tests in Piedmont since opening in November 2021. Originally open only two days per week, the site expanded to Monday through Friday service in January 2022. Demand has waned in recent months, and Curative has cited low use numbers as the reason for the site’s closure.

“I’m proud that we’ve been able to provide this service to our community for over a year at no cost to the public,” said Fire Chief Dave Brannigan. “Bringing a test site to our civic center last winter – when testing lines stretched around the block throughout the region – gave Piedmont residents a critical tool to navigate last year’s Omicron surge. Since then, the site has supported thousands of community members as they resumed elements of pre-pandemic life, including return to offices, attending large events, and enjoying long-delayed travel plans.”

In contrast to when the site opened last year, COVID-19 tests are now widely available through many sources:

At-home tests: Home antigen tests are now easy to purchase at pharmacies and online. Additionally, the FDA has extended the expiration dates for many brands of home test kits, so tests you already have may still be good even if the printed expiration date has passed. Information on extended expiration dates is available on the FDA website.

Public testing locations: Use the California Department of Public Health interactive map and search tool at to find local testing options. This site provides information about community clinics sponsored by Alameda County Public Health as well as sites run by private testing providers. The tool allows you to filter results to display only free testing sites, or locations that offer both testing and treatment.

Your healthcare provider: Health care providers are required by law to provide testing when you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Health officials continue to advise getting tested before attending a gathering, staying home when sick, and getting vaccinated or boosted to provide the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19.

Community members with general questions about COVID-19 can call the Alameda County Public Health community support line (510) 268-2101.

Those seeking medical guidance related to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider, or call the 24/7 California Medi-Nurse line at (877) 409-9052,  if uninsured.

2022-11-29 Piedmont COVID-19 Testing Kiosk to Close December 3rd ?

Nov 15 2022

On November 15, 2022 at the Special Council Meeting on the Housing Element, the Council unanimously voted to:

“Approve the attached Resolution authorizing staff to finalize and submit the City of Piedmont’s Sixth Cycle Draft Housing Element to the California Department Of Housing And Community Development For Review.”

 No Council changes were made to the proposal. 

All participants appeared to understand the necessity of moving forward on the Housing Element in meeting the January 31, 2023 deadline and responding to the Housing and Community Development Department.

A number of speakers wanted additional consideration of housing on city property in the center of Piedmont.  Others were supportive of the changes made to the November 15, 2022 proposal.

Interest was expressed regarding evaluating public safety facilities in conjunction with housing in Central Piedmont, recognition of safety issues related to adding housing next to schools in the congested center of Piedmont, need to support recreational spaces given the increase in population, potential of isolating low-income families in Moraga Canyon, and renewed planning study of Central Piedmont.

READ the authorized Housing Element >HERE.


Nov 14 2022

With additional votes added to the totals, the elected candidates remain the same.  See updated voting totals for the City Council and School Board positions below.

City Council – Three Seats Up for Election – 3 Candidates with highest number of votes are considered elected pending final official certification.

Candidate No. of Votes
Betsy Smegal Andersen 4,679
Tom Ramsey 3,917
Jennifer Long 3,898
Bridget McInerney Harris 1,674
Jeanne Solnordal 982
Sunny Bostrom-Fleming 200

Board of Education – Two Seats Up for Election – 2 Candidates with highest number of votes are considered elected pending final official certification.

Candidate No. of Votes
Ruchi Medhekar 4.288
Lindsay Thomasson 3,946
Shirley Hooi 1,691

These results were posted to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website at: 9:17 p.m. on Monday, November 21, 2022.

Nov 12 2022

At the request of the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education, this is to inform families and the community that a Forum has been scheduled with consultants from Leadership Associates to provide input about the desired personal and professional qualities anticipated in the incoming superintendent.

Your comments will be used in the development of the candidate profile, recruitment process, and reference checking. The consultants will also compile a summary of all comments received during these sessions and share the report with the Board and with the new superintendent.

Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Time: 6:00-7:00pm

Location: PHS Theater at 800 Magnolia Ave.

During the session, consultants will share an overview of the process, and then ask two primary questions:

  • What are the desirable qualities, characteristics, background and professional and personal experiences for the next superintendent?
  • What do you see as the strengths of the district and the major challenges facing the district in years ahead?

There is no need to RSVP. If unable to attend, you will still have an opportunity to provide your feedback and responses to these same questions via an –

>anonymous online survey open from November 14-21, 2022.

Oct 31 2022

If you have not already voted in the November 8th School Board Election, below are listed, in random, not priority order, some of the pressing issues the new School Board members will face;

  • Hiring a new superintendent
  • Teacher contracts – compensation and conditions
  • Open enrollment – out of Piedmont admissions
  • Student and teacher retention
  • Budgetary controls
  • Communication with parents and the community
  • Diversity, inclusion and opportunity
  • Safety on campuses 
  • Excellence in education for all students
  • Healthy learning environment
  • Counseling for all students
  • Completion of new facilities
  • Working collaboratively with the City
  • Open transparent governing

Three candidates are seeking election to two seats on the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Directors. Voters can vote for up to two of the candidates. The election is on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

The candidates are listed below in alphabetical order along with their photographs and ballot statements.

Shirley Hooi

Shirley Hooi


My education and qualifications are: COVID-related online learning has forced PUSD students to endure an unprecedented period of educational losses and mental stress. Now is a crucial period to help our students get back on track. I believe that parent, student and community member involvement in school board decisions is critical. Their opinions should be considered in the selection of the superintendent, along with issues regarding school curriculum and teacher retention/recruitment. As a product of the Oakland Unified School District, PUSD was regarded as the epitome of an exceptional public school education. Families strived to move to Piedmont to raise their children in a community in which a public school education was comparable to the local private schools. Unfortunately this has changed and PUSD continues to lose students to local private schools every year. My immigrant parents instilled in their children the belief of education and hard work as a path out of poverty. Now as a PUSD parent, it is my role to instill the same beliefs upon my children. If you support this philosophy, now is the time for me to be your voice on the school board. Get Involved:

Ruchi Medhekar

Ruchi Medhekar

Healthcare Executive/Parent

My education and qualifications are: I’m running for school board for four primary reasons: i) to strengthen district academics at all grade levels, ii) to foster curiosity and creative thinking in our students; iii) to strengthen positive relationships between teachers, administrators, and parents; and iv) to provide equitable opportunities that promote students’ emotional well-being. I have benefited tremendously from a strong STEAM education – graduating from MIT with undergraduate degrees in biology and chemical engineering, and a PhD in microbiology from UCLA. Currently, I work for a healthcare IT company, responsible for product and strategy. I grew up in the Bay Area and have lived in Piedmont since 2016. My husband is a local physician, and our daughters are in kindergarten and 4th grade at Beach. I’ve volunteered in many capacities at Beach, for PUSD, and our city: as classroom parent, VP and president of the Beach Parents Organization, on the Tri-School Site Council, Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Committee, and the district’s Budget Advisory Committee. I am on the board of the Piedmont Education Foundation and on the Piedmont Recreation Commission. These opportunities have helped me understand the needs of different stakeholders in the district, which will be invaluable in achieving my goals.

Lindsay Thomasson

Lindsay Thomasson


My education and qualifications are: As the parent of students currently at PMS, Havens, and in preschool, I have held numerous volunteer roles over the past five years, giving me a robust understanding of how our district works, its strengths and weaknesses. I served as Havens’ Parent Club President, on the LCAP Committee, Superintendent Community Advisory Committee, and Wellness Center Committee, to name a few. As a member of PUSD’s Board of Education, my priorities would be to ensure PUSD has the leadership and resources to provide students an excellent, well-rounded academic experience, including the hiring of a superintendent aligned in our goals, and attracting and retaining well-qualified, diverse, engaged educators. This will allow PUSD to truly equip students with the essential critical-thinking, STEAM, and language arts skills needed to succeed at the universities and in the careers of their choosing. I have attended California public schools my entire life, culminating in degrees from Cal Berkeley and UCSD. Piedmont schools are the foundation of our community, yet the past three years have been divisive. To move forward we must engage in meaningful community dialogue, be pragmatic and creative, ensure all stakeholders are engaged in our decision-making processes, and always put students first.

Oct 26 2022

Piedmont students demonstrated remarkable achievement overall on the CAASPP, ranking second among California unified school districts in English Language Arts (ELA) and third in Math.

(Piedmont, Ca., October 26, 2022) – Students in the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) rank near the top of the list among school districts in California taking part in the California Assessments of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).

The CAASPP is a collection of computer-based assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy, Mathematics and now, Science. The CAASPP replaced the paper-based Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program beginning in 2014.

Last spring, Piedmont students in grades 3– 8, and 11, participated in the 2021-22 CAASPP for English Language Arts and Math. Students in grades 5, 8, and 12, participated in the Science test “CAST”.

The California Department of Education released school, district and state aggregate results on October 24, 2022.  Piedmont students demonstrated remarkable achievement overall on the CAASPP, ranking second among California unified school districts in English Language Arts (ELA) and third in Math.

Click below to view comparisons, scores, and links:

CAASPP Release.docx

PUSD Students Show Improvement in Local Reading Assessments (Piedmont, Ca., October 26, 2022) –

The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) reported local reading assessment data collected this fall to gauge the progress students made at all grade levels and where intervention and support may be needed. District reading benchmark assessments assess students’ progress toward end-of-year learning targets, inform teachers’ instruction, and provide valuable data for teachers and specialists to design intervention and extension lessons for students.

A summary of results is available by grade (View slidedeck).

When compared to 2021, PUSD students in grades 7-12 showed improvement in the combined percentage of students assessed as ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient,’ and in all grades but one, showed gains in the percentage of students assessed as ‘advanced.’

“With the many challenges students have faced over the past three years, to see these types of numbers and how, in many cases, they are increasing, is very encouraging,” said PUSD Interim Superintendent, Dr. Donald Evans. “That being said, our teachers and staff remain focused on ensuring every one of our students is reading at a high level and will continue working toward that goal.”

Fall Reading Data collection is an essential part of the process for providing intervention for students not meeting grade-level benchmarks. Using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), teams of educators at each school site are able to develop a plan for how to support students and ensure they make the appropriate progress each year. PUSD is in its second year of developing systems of support districtwide and reading is the area of focus for 2022-23.

Reading Assessments

Piedmont Unified School District Press Release

Oct 22 2022

Here’s my perspective on School Board Candidate Shirley Hooi’s Public Records request:

The school district is planning and in the process of making many changes to the curriculum and educational materials as part of anti-racist, anti-white privilege, and pro equity directives from their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Director and Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  Obviously, Shirley Hooi, or any candidate for school board, might find it useful to obtain educational materials from the school district.  Her request was a legitimate request made only a few days after announcing her candidacy.  The school district anticipates dozens of California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests throughout the year and allocates the appropriate resources to fulfill them in a timely manner.

In this digital era, where entire Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) textbooks are online, it’s reasonable to expect that the requested educational materials existed in digital format and thus would be producible via email.  Or that at least one physical copy of such materials is maintained in the district office.  So, it’s not obvious that the CPRA request was inordinately burdensome.   When Shirley became aware that her request was burdensome, she did reduce the scope of her request to just the most recent year.

There are excellent reasons why reasonable people are concerned about the quality of education at Piedmont schools. The California test scores, the state and national rankings, declines in enrollment, reports from various parent clubs, and the contents of Piedmont’s School Board meetings all indicate that Piedmont’s schools need to refocus their efforts on academics.    From my personal conversations with each of the school board candidates (over thirty minutes each), and from their presentations in various public forums, they all aim to have PUSD refocus efforts and return to the high-quality education previously produced.  The key difference among them is that Shirley Hooi believes the curriculum is delving into too many social areas that are traditionally the domain of parents.

Dai Meagher
Piedmont resident and PHS graduate

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 11 2022

Candidates Who Tick All the Boxes

We live in a town with a wealth of talent and we are very lucky to have people who want to step up and volunteer for important civic positions. The work is hard. These volunteers have to listen respectfully to myriad opinions, work in partnership with many different stakeholders, pay careful attention to the regulatory landscape, and, ultimately, think holistically to make a lot of decisions that range from routine to especially thorny

I’ve done a lot of hiring in my career and there are four criteria I look for to make a successful hire: relevant work experience, capacity to learn, ability to be collegial and collaborative, and no bullies or creeps (see the Robert Sutton book for the more colorful reference). I use this same list when I vote. For me, the candidates who score highest in all my criteria are: Betsy Andersen, Jennifer Long, and Tom Ramsay for city council; and Ruchi Medhekar and Lindsay Thomasson for school board.

My husband and I have been in Piedmont for almost 25 years and I’m about to end my tenure on the school board after nine years. I know these candidates because I’ve worked with them or have watched them at work. To a person, they are smart, insightful, measured, respectful, and collaborative. They have significant skills from their professional and volunteer work that will serve us. They are thoughtful servant leaders who will ask good questions and will seek to find the best solutions given the many competing interests/viewpoints and the complex regulatory landscape.

These candidates are who I would like to see lead us in the next four years, who will honor the work and responsibility and will be respectful of the offices and staff who support these roles. I hope you will join me in voting for them.


Amal Smith

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 10 2022

Lindsay shows tremendous leadership abilities, dedication, and work ethic in advocating for all students. 

Dear Editor:

We couldn’t be more thrilled to unequivocally support Lindsay Thomasson in her campaign for Piedmont School Board. As elected parent representatives on the Superintendent Community Advisory Committee (SCAC), we have worked closely with Lindsay over the past year and have experienced firsthand her tremendous leadership abilities, dedication, and work ethic. 

Lindsay’s stellar communication skills, her inherent ability to listen to and connect with people, and her commitment to bridging the recent divisions in our community, lead us to believe there is no better person for the job. Lindsay holds herself to a very high standard and we have no doubt that she will have equally high standards for PUSD, ensuring we have a district that consistently pursues excellence for all.

Lindsay has been a strong leader in our community for many years, serving as president of Havens’ Parent Club, as parent representative on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and as a Wellness Center Support Committee member, in addition to the SCAC. With such extensive volunteer experience, she is well prepared to take on the important role of school board member, bringing valuable knowledge about our community, our schools, and the challenges and opportunities in front of us. 

We are particularly excited to endorse Lindsay because she is an advocate for ALL students. She brings a unique and refreshing perspective as a mother of three children in various phases of their PUSD education, including a current elementary student, a PMS student, and a preschooler (future Havens student). With such a personal stake in seeing our schools thrive, we know she will be a thoughtful and transparent leader, weighing the many different stakeholder perspectives in all decisions.

Please consider joining us in endorsing Lindsay, donating to her campaign and signing up to have a lawn sign at your home. Visit her website at to learn more.

Keri Elmquist
Michelle McGilloway
Linda Wendel

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.