Chris Lindsay got an early start on civic leadership, when he became an Eagle Scout.

Lindsay was a Boy Scout during his years attending Hesperia Junior High School and Hesperia High, and his children today are in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and he himself serves as the Cubmaster of Pack 152.

"Ultimately, you're learning how to be a good citizen," said Lindsay. "Leadership and civic duty. It comes down to that."

Today, Lindsay, 34, is a financial advisor in a local investment firm, and a board member of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce, which he sees as working to improve the quality of life in Hesperia.

"I started with the chamber of commerce: 'We can affect this,'" he said. "It occurred to me that school boards have a major impact on our community."

The Hesperia Unified School District's school board goes beyond the impact it has on parents, students and employees, to every other resident as well, he said.

"If you create schools that are desirable, that are the best they can be, you'll attract the kind of people you want in the city," Lindsay said. "The school district is central to this city."

Since the last election in 2006, the HUSD school board has often been contentious, and Lindsay has friends on both sides of the divide, and he believes throwing his hat in the ring has likely put him in line of fire for one or both groups.

"The fact that I've put my name on the list to run has probably alienated half the people. And that's unfortunate," he said. And the divide is doing more than just creating some uncomfortable meetings: It's also hurting the district, according to him. "We're not moving forward. There's good things happening that people are attacking and bad things happening that people are defending. And we're not moving forward."

If elected, he'd start with getting more information, from more quarters, before making decisions, such as the recent decision and then change of direction on busing for secondary students.

"The school board was presented with data ... that said they would save $800,000," by pushing back the boundaries for how close one could live to a school and still get a bus ride. The decision to push back the boundaries by half a mile was vociferously attacked by parents and ultimately rolled back as a result. "They assumed the old boundaries were enforced and that people knew the boundaries."

Lindsay's own children do not currently attend school in the HUSD -- his family is one of those that have camped out to get their children registered at the Academy of Performing Arts and Foreign Language in Victorville and his oldest child now attends Encore High School, a new charter school in Hesperia. (He's not alone in this: Fellow candidate Frank Rich's school-age children attend school in the Victor Elementary School District and candidate Anthony Riley does not have children at all.)

"It was not a rebellion against Hesperia schools. We wanted that style of education," he said. "If that was here, we'd love it."

Lindsay would like to see more programs tailored to students' individual needs, similar to those his children attend.

"I would love to see the day where we have schools to meet every kid's needs," he said. "When you have parents camping out, that's a good sign that you've got something that the community needs."

The HUSD has the people it needs, according to Lindsay, it just needs to help them do their jobs better and give them the freedom to do it to the best of their ability. (He is the son of HUSD nurse Peggy Lindsay.)

"The teachers that taught me at Mesa Grande are just now retiring. They have the skills they need," he said. "My class came out better prepared than the kids coming out now."

He's apply business principals to the schools and the district as a whole, he said.

"If you make the principal to be the business owner of the school and the teachers to be the business owners of the classroom, you empower them."

But he'd also measure their performance beyond just looking at the results of standardized tests, setting achievable benchmarks for every employee in the district.

"We need to improve our accountability to the people," Lindsay said. "The board needs to be more accountable, and everyone needs to be accountable for their jobs."

Although the two dissenting voices on the school board -- Bruce Minton and Helen Rogers -- are not seeking reelection this November, Lindsay said there needs to be a certain level of dissent for the board to do its best work.

"You need to have a board that has five points of view," he said. "If you encourage dissent as much among your friends as your enemies, that's when you get the full story."

Discussion of varying points of view has often been hostile in tone in the last two years, which Lindsay puts at the feet of all parties involved.

"It's also the responsibility of every board member to set the tone," he said. "I would imagine they're tired of it as well. ... It's important to recognize what has been, but it's also important to be able to let it go.

"If you don't have civil disagreement, you're not doing your job," Lindsay said, "Or searching for the best answers."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.