Cardiff School District honors outgoing trustees Dave Clark and Siena Randall

Siena Randall and Dave Clark (center) were honored by the Cardiff School District.
(Renee Mullen)

Two longtime Cardiff School Board trustees have departed after years of service to their community: In November, Dave Clark finished up 12 years on the board and Siena Randall completed nine.

Their replacements, new trustees Ash Swaminathan and Andrew Howard, were sworn into office on Dec. 13. As they were the only two candidates for the vacancies there was no need for an election.

Clark was elected to the board in 2010— he had taken an interest in what was happening on campus and as a board member wanted to work toward effecting change and policy. When his term ended, he decided his 12-year run was plenty. He is looking forward to transitioning from his role on the board to spend more time with his family and on personal goals and hobbies.

“Of course, my biggest accomplishment is this remarkable reconstruction project,” Clark said of the Cardiff School rebuild. “It’s been a Herculean effort especially with all of the obstacles.”

He said the multi-purpose room that was the crux of many of the issues on the campus rebuild is a highlight. Now that the building is nearing completion he thinks about the years to come of student assemblies, plays and shows that the whole community will be able to enjoy: “That’s what I’m most proud of.”

His advice for the board going forward is to maintain positive community relationships, to stay the course and not get pulled away or distracted by special interests. If you always do what’s right for the kids, the families and the community, “you’ll do alright”, he said.

“The best part about Cardiff is just a great, community neighborhood school. We worked really hard to make it that way and make everybody feel a part of it,” Clark said. “It’s like a private school, but it’s free.”

A Cardiff School graduate herself and a volunteer with the Cardiff SEA, Randall applied to serve back in May 2014.

“It was a way to be able to give back to the community because I treasured my elementary school years at Cardiff,” said Randall, who served as board president from 2016 through 2021.

Her original intent was to serve one term as her oldest child was in the sixth grade at the time but she became determined to see the Cardiff School rebuild project through to its completion.

“I was really very proud to be a part of that whole project,” Randall said. “To see it finished is a huge, huge accomplishment.”

She said her favorite part of the new school campus is how they were able to open up the playground and connect the north and side together into one combined space. She loves the improved classrooms and teaching spaces and the cohesive kindergarten area that used to be more separated: “It’s a really special place,”

What she also sees as a big accomplishment is the board being able to build consensus and remained focused on students first.

“We didn’t always agree but to listen and understand opposing sides and views is necessary to find the best thing for the students,” Randall said.

Randall believes it is a perfect time to be stepping off the board as two new board members are current parents, as is Shad Thielman. She believes Swaminathan and Howard will bring new energy to the board.

Randall said she does not have aspirations to pursue any other office. Her children are in high school now and she’s looking forward to enjoying the last few high school years and focusing on her family as they transition into the college years.

“It’s been a ride, I’ve learned a lot. Cardiff School promotes lifelong learners and I’ve spent a lot of my life learning through Cardiff. It feels good to close that circle,” Randall said. “I really feel good about where I ended.”