Rami Muth

Photo courtesy of Rami Muth.

In addition to new board members, the Byron Union School District (BUSD) recently welcomed an interim superintendent.

Rami Muth steps out of retirement from a 40-year career in education to help bridge the gap for BUSD on its quest for a permanent replacement for former Superintendent Dr. Debbie Gold, whose resignation was announced in November. Over half of Muth’s career was spent in the classroom with high-needs students, and she also served as the director of curriculum and instruction and coordinator of Beginning Teacher Support Assessment, secondary literacy, PAR and GATE. 

“I think of my foundational work as a teacher for 22 years as really the heart of who I am as an administrator – I always look through the lens of an educator,” said Muth, who prides herself on positive collaborative leadership.

While she plans to remain retired, she’s prepared to see the BUSD to the end of the school year if a new superintendent isn’t found before that time. As an administrator who pulled her home district of Martinez through the Great Recession, Muth said she plans to bring to Byron her ability to view hardship as an opportunity for improvement.

“My goal is not to feather my nest but to make sure (the BUSD) gets what they need and help facilitate that transition,” Muth said. “There are some issues (the BUSD) faces as a small district with not a whole lot of leeway in the budget, but it’s also an opportunity to work together and with fresh eyes.”

Muth noted Gold and the board of trustees have been welcoming and helpful in bringing her up to speed on the district. And that board now consists of three new members, Eva Pahl, Melissa Ortiz-Gray and Joshua McMurray.

Pahl’s professional background was in business administration, during which time she honed her skills with general office procedures, accounts payable, accounts receivable, budgeting and customer service. She and her husband of nearly 20 years have one 12-year-old son in the district. 

“My goal as a trustee of the Byron Union School Board is to build a more positive community with exceptional schools to help our children flourish,” Pahl said. “We have an amazing community for which to build upon. Our community faces challenges, but we can do phenomenal things when we work together.”

Ortiz-Gray earned her bachelor’s degree in government and politics from Humboldt State University and worked in public policy conducting legislative analysis, community organization, program management and advocacy and education. She has worked on a range of issues including higher education, food access, nutrition education and affordable housing. She has been married for 15 years to Dr. Doug Gray, a Discovery Bay veterinarian, and they have two daughters in the district.

“I was motivated to serve the community as a board member because we have incredible teachers, staff, students and families that make up our community. I am very proud of the education my children have received in this district,” said Ortiz-Gray. “Right now, our district happens to be facing some difficult challenges, and I want to be at the table to work toward solutions. I have been actively engaged and serving the Byron school community for the past eight years in many different capacities such as being a classroom volunteer, serving as PTA vice president, working on various projects and committees at the schools and by attending school board meetings. I knew that, with my participation and experience as a parent and volunteer in the district in addition to my background in policy, I could make a difference.”

McMurray has worked in various municipal roles throughout California and currently serves as the planning manager for the City of Oakley. He and his wife of 15 years have two children at Timber Point Elementary School.

“I’m just one of five trustees,” he said. “I can’t make any decision by myself, but in the end, I am confident the board will work toward fiscal stability, transparency and ultimately having a district that provides an outstanding environment and education for the children that the district serves.” 

For more information on upcoming board meetings, visit www.byronunionschooldistrict.us/Minutes.