• Mike Niccum steps down from school board

    by Michael Sizemore

    cropped-BThe November 21 meeting of the Pacific Grove United School District Board was Mike Niccum’s last as a member of the board. After 10 years as a school board member, of which four (2007-2011) were served as president, Niccum felt it was time for him to step down.

    Part of  the reason that he stepped down, he said, was the fact that he no longer has a child in the system. His daughter was a powerful link to the schools. He said that after Allison graduated from PG High in 2011 he found he “didn’t have the pulse” as much as before. “You don’t have the chance to talk to as many people,” he said.

    Niccum feels that one of the most important things that he was able to do during his term was work with the Measure D bond issue. The funds from those bonds helped the board bring the various properties in the school district up to the proper level of maintenance. There had been a great deal of wear on the various school buildings through the years. The newest site in the system, he said, was Forest Grove School, “and that was built in the fifties.”

    First the district started with the basics, including heating for the schools; then they went on to other projects: science and photography laboratories, the football stadium and athletic fields, the performance center and the music room at the middle school.

    The district offices, he noted, were for many years in temporary buildings beside PG Middle School, until they used Measure D funds to build new offices at the end of the school’s athletic field. He points out that the new office building is a basic, serviceable building that contains essential office space and a conference room large enough for public meetings. The district also built a maintenance building in the same compound.

    Another important improvement recently made was a fiber-optic networking of all active buildings in the system. “Technology is the wave of the future,” he said.

    Niccum said he has been honored to work with Superintendent Ralph Porras. “We’re very lucky with the superintendent we have,” he said. He explained that, during the hiring process, Porras “blew the doors off” in his interview. He had worked with only one school district before PG, but had worked as an administrator, a teacher and in office work, so he knew a great deal about how things work in a school system. Porras is very good at motivating administrators. And he thinks strategically, so that he can quickly re-act to emergencies that come up, such as the recent resignation of the Forest Grove principal.

    “The superintendent is key,” Niccum said, and added that principals are also primary parts of the system. All the district’s principals, he noted, are from within the system. The key to running a school district, he said, is “being fair to everyone” and “fiscal responsibility.”

    Niccum will look back with his time on the board with a lot of joy. “It’s really been fun,” he said. He said he wants to thank his wife Alyce and family for making his service possible. “They put up with a lot of meetings,” he added. He also notes that his employer was extremely supportive.

    Niccum works with the Pebble Beach Community Services District. He has been with the company for around 20 years, serving as an engineer and then for six years as general manager.

    “Pacific Grove is such a neat place to raise kids,” he said. “How many places can you say, ‘My kid gets to march in a parade twice a year’?”

    posted to Cedar Street Times on December 5, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News, Schools

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