Q&A with CUSD Board of Trustees Candidate Area 4 Jonathan Holt

Jonathan Holt, CUSD Board of Trustees Candidate Area 4. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

What motivated you to run for the CUSD Board?

I have always felt a calling to give back to the community in which I live. Growing up in Clovis, I was afforded the great opportunity to attend Jefferson & Clovis Elementary, Clark Intermediate and Clovis High (from where I graduated in 2009). In addition, I have two bonus daughters who currently attend elementary school in Clovis Unified. Clovis Unified shaped who I am today both professionally and personally. 

As a former Clovis Unified student, I feel it’s my obligation to help uphold the standards and values that have made the school district what it is today. 

What is your career experience background in and how will it help you with a potential role with the CUSD Board? 

I graduated in 2014 from Cal State University Fresno with a Bachelor of Science. In 2018, I obtained my Certified Financial Planner credential from the American College of Financial Services.

I have worked with individuals, families, and businesses the past five years helping them achieve their financial goals. During this time, I have also served in various leadership roles for Rotary and other civic organizations that have taught me the importance of collaboration. As a CUSD Board trustee, working collectively with colleagues, administrators, and school site staff is critical. 

As a professional, I work to help people identify their goals, develop a plan to accomplish their goals, and implement and monitor the plan to ensure they are on track to reach their goals. I feel this process is applicable and relevant to the responsibilities of a CUSD Board Trustee. In addition, my age and having two bonus daughters in CUSD positions me to successfully fill the role of a CUSD Board Trustee. 

Graduating just 10 years ago from Clovis High, I am fairly in tune with the challenges that our students face on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, having two bonus daughters that attend elementary in CUSD gives me a bird’s eye view of the challenges our parents in the community face regularly. Moreover, I would submit that my age is an appropriate reflection of the typical age of a parent with a child in CUSD. 

You mentioned in GV Wire that you want to focus on suicide and mental awareness, as well as tackle the opioid problem. Can you elaborate on that and how you want to tackle those issues? 

It’s heartbreaking and appalling that there have been several students in CUSD that have taken their own lives. During the 2016-2017 school year there were four CUSD students who committed suicide. 

This is tragic and it is a serious problem that needs more attention. Taking care of our students’ well-being is a collaborative effort. It is not a school issue or a home issue. It is a community issue that is going to take a village to address. These CUSD suicides are not highly publicized, nor are they routinely communicated to parents of children enrolled in CUSD. This needs to change.

If there is a suicide in the district, parents need to know. This is a responsibility that CUSD needs to shoulder more directly, particularly by clearly and swiftly communicating to parents so they can be on high alert. Suicide can be difficult or even taboo to talk about, but we need to bring forward more awareness and acknowledgment. Clovis Unified has worked diligently to provide resources to students and I think it is vital we take it one step further in partnering with the community to develop effective initiatives both on the prevention and “postvention” side. 

The level of opioid usage among CUSD students is alarming. I saw addiction personally affect friends of mine 10 years ago when I was at Clovis High. Today it is still present and plaguing our children. I know parents in CUSD who have students that have substance abuse issues or have overdosed. 

PAIN – a local nonprofit that specializes in rehabilitative services and support for substance abusers and families – has treated thousands of patients and over 80% have been students at CUSD. Like suicide, this is neither a school nor a home issue, but a community issue. CUSD plays a vital role in the community. As a school district it is critical we take an upstream approach in tackling this issue by ensuring parents have appropriate and accessible resources to identify and treat the problem. An example of this is partnering with local agencies to educate parents on identifying warning signs to look for that indicate their child may be using. 

Can you talk about your family and the role they play in your life? 

Family is everything to me. I am the youngest of four with one brother and two sisters. My father has worked with the City of Clovis in the City Manager’s office for over 20 years and my mom was tasked with the challenge of being a stay-at-home mom and raising myself and my siblings. She did a phenomenal job! 

Growing up in a VERY tight-knit family (don’t get me wrong, we have our problems and issues like every family) taught me that at the end of the day you must always be there to support and love one another. I have carried this value system to my own family now. I have been with the love of my life for over 3 years and have helped raise her two daughters. My family has always supported and pushed me to better myself. I would not be the man I am today if it were not for my family standing firmly behind me. 

Can you define the Clovis way of life and how much that means to you? 

The Clovis way of life is the continuous pursuit of excellence in our community. When we do things in Clovis, we strive to be the best at it. This is paramount to me because this is the same philosophy I apply to my life. Whether it is being a family man, managing my financial services practice, or being involved in the community, I am always pursuing excellence.