CSBA honors Atascadero USD trustee Donn Clickard with first Board Member of the Year Award
The inaugural Golden Gavel Award recognizes an individual school board member who exemplifies best practices in effective governance and boardsmanship.
Atascadero Unified School District trustee Donn Clickard is CSBA’s inaugural Board Member of the Year. Clickard has spent most of his life in service of children. He taught special education classes at Atascadero High School for 34 years, where he also served as athletic director. After his retirement in 2004, Clickard was elected to the Atascadero USD Board of Trustees, where he has now served the Central Coast community for 14 years.
“I believe that board members hold the most important elected position in every community in our state, working together to always do what is best for our students.”
Donn Clickard, Atascadero USD
Board of Trustees
Clickard is an outspoken and proud advocate for public education and Atascadero USD. He is also a champion of local control and believes in the importance of stakeholder and community engagement when it comes to providing direction for the district.

A beacon of hope in his community, Clickard knew he had to do something when parents from the district talked to him about the death of two former Atascadero students due to heroin overdoses. He is one of the founders of Lighthouse Atascadero, a nonprofit aimed at preventing substance abuse by youth in the community through awareness, prevention, intervention and education. Beginning with providing counselors at the district’s continuation high school, the Lighthouse project has grown to include a wellness center on the district’s main high school campus, a mentoring program, a student-run coffee company, after-school programs and resource centers in the community.

Golden Gavel Award
“Trustee Clickard is truly a believer that all students can learn and excel academically and behaviorally,” said Atascadero USD Superintendent Tom Butler. “He fully supports, encourages and appreciates the dedication of our staff and parents. In addition, Donn has been a unifying voice on the Board of Education, resulting in a student advocacy and student-first approach. Donn truly values and respects his fellow trustees — this has resulted in a true governance team in AUSD.”

Clickard has continued his lifelong learning journey through various CSBA trainings, including the Masters in Governance program and attending every Annual Education Conference since 2005. He understands and embraces his role as one of seven trustees who together set direction for the district. Additionally, Clickard has shared his expertise as a mentor to new trustees on the Atascadero USD board and to board members in other districts by working with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education.

“Donn exemplifies the qualities that make an effective trustee,” said CSBA President Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez. “He supports learning for all students and understands the importance of community input. He has demonstrated his dedication to supporting the whole child through the Lighthouse program and shown great leadership in his roles as mentor to new board members.”

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized with this meaningful and incredibly humbling award,” said Clickard. “I believe that board members hold the most important elected position in every community in our state, working together to always do what is best for our students. I’d like to thank my superintendent, Tom Butler, for always meeting expectations and my fellow trustees in Atascadero Unified — we always make each other better.”

Call for entries for the 2020 Board Member of the Year Award open this spring. Check for details.