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Recent Granada High grad Hayden Sidun announces bid for Livermore school board

Teen vying for one of three at-large seats up for election this fall
HaydenSidun
Hayden Sidun is the first to publicly declare his intent to run for a seat on the Livermore school board.

Political newcomer and recent high school graduate Hayden Sidun has announced his candidacy for a seat on the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) Board of Education.

The district announced earlier this month that three at-large seats on the Board of Education are up for grabs in the Nov. 8 general election. The five trustees of the board serve staggered four-year terms. Currently, the seats opening up this year are held by incumbents Board President Craig Bueno, Board Clerk Emily Prusso and Trustee Anne White.

Sidun, 18, is the first to publicly declare his intent to run for the board. In a statement, Sidun said that his recent experiences as an LVJUSD student make for a unique perspective that the board does not currently have.

According to his campaign website, his priorities include expanding mental health support in schools, modernizing curriculum and updating textbooks, implementing free school meals and aligning LVJUSD's school calendar with other Tri-Valley districts, among other goals.

He also emphasized amplifying student voices as one of his values. Should he be voted onto the board, Sidun said he "will always listen to students and prioritize student feedback."

"It is crucial that we elect a recent graduate -- someone who has recently been directly impacted by this school board’s decisions -- and finally have a school board trustee who understands a student’s perspective and can truly advocate for our students. Experience matters, and the experience I have is not presently on the school board," Sidun said in his campaign statement.

One experience in particular, which Sidun cites as one of his primary motivations for running for the board, involved a "troubling" video shared with students as part of newly-implemented wellness surveys.

"The school district thought it would be a good idea to have wellness surveys that were to be conducted each Wednesday during a 10-minute homeroom period," Sidun explained. "One of these surveys included a video from a highly political media organization with absolutely no place in public schools that effectively told students facing stress and mental health issues to suck it up. Thankfully, my teacher turned off the video and moved on with class, but I found it very troubling, as I’m sure many other students did. That was definitely a motivating factor in my decision to run for school board," he said.

He also points to being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic as an experience that has helped shape his campaign priorities.

"On top of the abrupt transition to distance learning, the school district provided very little support for teachers who had to adjust their lesson plans to accommodate distance learning and for students who faced worsening mental health, a lack of educational motivation, and a decline in social skills and opportunities," Sidun recalled. "I felt the effects of that, and it was blatantly obvious that no one was getting the support they needed."

He added, "A key part of a school board trustee’s job is to make sure students and staff are supported, especially during a tough time like COVID. If none of the other trustees recognize that, then I will."

A Bay Area native, Sidun was born in Walnut Creek and spent his early years in San Ramon before moving to Livermore with his family in 2011.

Sidun attended Joe Michell K-8 School and Granada High School, where he graduated one trimester early in the class of 2022.

He is currently studying political science at Las Positas College, where he said he hopes to receive an associate degree in 2023. Two of his three younger siblings will also be entering LVJUSD for the 2022-23 school year.

"My siblings are such an important part of my life, and watching them grow has been one of the best things I’ve gotten to experience," Sidun said. "I’m definitely in this race for them. They deserve the best education, and I want to use my position to provide that for them and every other student in Livermore," he added.

This campaign marks Sidun's first run for public office but he has been active in the community in recent years. He got his start in politics by working on local campaigns with a focus on social media and voter outreach during the 2020 election cycle. He later served on Livermore’s Equity and Inclusion Working Group. Sidun is also currently a campaign staffer for Dublin City Councilmember Shawn Kumagai's run for California Assembly District 20.

The nomination period for candidates hoping to qualify for local elections on the Nov. 8 ballot opened on July 18 and closes on Aug. 12. 

For more information about Hayden Sidun and his campaign, visit sidunforlvjusd.com.




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Cierra Bailey

About the Author: Cierra Bailey

Cierra started as an editorial intern with the Pleasanton Weekly in 2014. After pursuing opportunities in digital and broadcast media and attending graduate school at Syracuse University, she’s back as the editor of the Vine.
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