I ran for the Board of Education because I saw an opportunity to make a difference by amplifying the voices of our community, improving educational opportunities for all students and bringing transparency back to the District.
I am proud to say that with the input and support of the community, combined with the hard work of our teachers, staff and students, our District has evolved from good to great over the last 17 years. Now, despite the challenges that are to come in the near future, I believe our District is still on the path to becoming outstanding.
During my tenure on the School Board, Bonita Unified School District has:
- Passed Measure C, which modernized all our schools
- Passed Measure AB, which funded the Bonita Center for the Arts, new and remodeled the gyms at both high schools, added gyms at both middle schools, added a lunch shelter to Ramona Middle School, rebuilt and modernized the District Office, and rebuilt and modernized the stadium at both high schools
- Increased our academic scores to place Bonita in the top 10% of all unified school districts in California
- Established a dual-enrollment program, offering high school students the opportunity to jumpstart their higher education and earn college credit at Mt. SAC
- Expanded and modernized our career technical education programs, offering students relevant hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to earn certifications
- Established a partnership with University of La Verne to increase access to a college education and offer guaranteed admission to qualified students
- Established a partnership and scholarship opportunity with Life Pacific College
- Maintained our robust arts programs across all levels of the District as many other districts cut their programs
- Been named one of the best places to work in the San Gabriel Valley
- Strengthened our relationships with both the cities of San Dimas and La Verne
- Developed a level of trust and transparency with both the Bonita Unified Teachers Association and CSEA, which represents our classified employees
- Become a sought-after place to work for educators across Southern California
- Created an Equity Officer to ensure equity in all areas within the District
- Improved communications with our parents and community stakeholders
- Increased parent and community involvement at all levels
- Maintained steady enrollment while other districts faced declining numbers, which is a testament to the strength of our academic programs and course offerings
- Operated in a fiscally responsible manner, allowing us to create a reserve to see us through tough economic times
- Added mental health professionals at each school site
- Issued no blanket pink slips during economic downturns
Looking Ahead: Goals for the Future
As we look to the future, there are both immediate and long-term goals for us to reach. We cannot settle for the status quo or simply hold our position; we must continue to strive for excellence while following our principles of equity, mastery and a focus on results.
- Safely reopen all our schools
- Anticipate and prepare for future budget shortfalls due to economic conditions resulting from decreased tax revenues and an economy struggling to rebuild itself
- Provide the best education possible for our students regardless of the delivery model
While the when and how of opening will be largely dictated by the State of California, the LA County Office of Education and the LA County Health Department, the District is and has been working very hard to develop contingency plans that cover everything from a phased opening to a complete reopening.
In-person education and enrichment activities such as sports, band or clubs are vital to our children and will return when the dangers are mitigated to an extent that our children, staff and families feel safe to return, and when we are permitted to do so.
Having served on the School Board during the recession of 2007-08, I have the experience to help guide us through the financial issues we are going to be facing in the future. Transparency, proper planning and budgeting and a great relationship with both our bargaining units will enable us to weather this storm as we did in the past with minimal impact on the classrooms and educational process.
We are planning for all contingencies when school reopens – distance learning, a hybrid model, full in-person teaching or any combination of what is approved.
- Continue to strive for our goal of 80/70, in which 80% of our students proficient in English language arts and 70% proficient in math (We are currently at 70/60)
- Improve from being among the top 10% of all unified districts in the state to being among the top 5%
- Maintain strong fiscal responsibility
- Maintain transparency with our staff and community
- Continue to increase and diversify our career technical education offerings
- Continue to upgrade our technology for students and staff to provide a competitive edge
- Continue to prioritize the safety of our schools and students
- Continue to improve and expand resources to support students’ social-emotional wellness
- Work to improve salary and benefits packages for our employees while maintaining a strong reserve and spending within our means
- Continue to offer our students a world-class education, while increasing and diversifying the classes available, to reflect the changing technology and demands of the real world
- Work to increase and strengthen our partnerships with our cities, local colleges/universities and businesses
- Seek grants to help fill any gaps in future funding
- Maintain/improve our relationships with our employee bargaining units
- Ensure all our students, staff, parents, stakeholders and community partners feel valued and listened to
My 17 years of experience as a Board member and my 35 years of fireground experience have equipped me to help guide this District to the strong position it occupies today, and will enable me to continue to make the tough decisions necessary to take our District to even greater heights in the future.