A Guide to the 2020 BHUSD Board of Education Elections

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Your 2020 candidates for BHUSD Board of Education (left to right): Top Row: Amanda Stern (above), Donna Tryfman (below), Noah Margo, Robin Rowe. Bottom Row: Frank Chechel, Benjamin Liker, Mary Wells.

Alya Mehrtash co-editor-in-chief

Eva Levin copy editor

Candice Anvari staff writer

Emma Newman staff writer

Defne Onal staff writer

Gina Toore staff writer

Will Harris staff writer

This election cycle, three seats on the BHUSD Board of Education are up for grabs. Below is a guide that will allow voters to further familiarize themselves with the seven candidates hoping to get your vote on Nov. 3. More resources, including candidate forums and debates, are available on the KBEV 6 YouTube channel.

 

Benjamin Liker – Educator/Safety Advocate

Top priorities (The Big Goals, according to the Liker campaign website)

  • “I’m a candidate for change. My whole platform is based on creating change and changing, not just the way that education is performed, the way that it’s just delivered, you know, whether that’s curriculum, changes to the curriculum, whether that’s changes in classroom structure. But more importantly, and, especially at Beverly, the change in the culture, change in how students, parents, administration, teachers–how they all look at education”
  • Education Innovation
    • The 9-12 Plan
      • Introduce a Practical Skills “Civic” Program
      • Offer a dual enrollment program that allows students to gain UC-accepted credits
      • Increase vocational/technical career training
      • Destigmatize non-4-year-university plans
    • The K-8 Plan
      • Increased emphasis on civics in K-5 classrooms
      • 21st century K-8 policies and standards
      • Implementing “pod” learning
  • Safety
    • COVID-19 safety of students, educators, and families
    • Sexual violence and mental health initiatives
    • Construction and oil rig oversight
  •   Environment
    • Net zero waste by 2030
    • Student-led environment initiatives
    • Foster community strength
      • “Designating students to be at the forefront of these types of projects would cultivate leadership skills, greater community involvement, partnerships, and innovation.”
  • The Future
    • Attract more families to Beverly Hills schools
    • Become a national model of innovation

 

 

Q&A

Q: What made you decide to run for school board?

A: “In terms of why I’m running, it’s really a sense of frustration. I feel like a lot of the other candidates may see it as, ‘Okay, this is a way I can help my children,’ or for some other candidates, they might be doing it as a springboard, politically, which I think isn’t quite the best reason. But for me, it’s out of frustration that nothing has been done. And now, I’m kind of at a position in a point in my life where I feel like I can be taken seriously and I can be put in a position of power and privilege; where my skill set, my personality, my capabilities–I can really make a difference. And really, it’s about that. It’s about wanting to make a difference, wanting to change the way things are done…I went to BHUSD schools for 13 years. I know what’s wrong, I know the deal. There were just so many there were so many things which I found so frustrating that I wished I could fix. And now I can. Essentially it’s about that. It’s about saying, ‘You know what? I can fix these things. I know how to do it.’”

 

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue our school board is faced with right now?

A: “I think that the number one thing is that right now, students who graduate Beverly aren’t ready…I don’t think most students are adequately prepared to succeed—whether that’s you start in elementary schools and you transfer to a private school and then go from there, or you graduate from Beverly—you don’t have these life skills…We ,the school, as a public institution, I believe we have an obligation to prepare our students, prepare our children for the next step for the rest of life. And right now, we’re not doing really well, if at all, and that’s the number one thing to change.”

 

Q: What is your plan to address that issue?

A: “I’m going to start at the very beginning. When you’re in kindergarten, essentially, what we’re going to do is we’re going to do teacher evaluations of students and how they work, what their best learning methods are—we’re going to focus on socialization, focus on analytic thinking, because these are really when the start of the impressionable years, these are really where students form, where were children kind of grow the most. When we move into elementary school, you know, firstly, fifth grade, what I propose is the pod system. This is a proven method, they work in schools around the country, where students are placed in pods of between four and six people who essentially learn similarly…the whole point is to really grow them together and facilitate them learning real developmental skills beyond just the typical American education system. And then moving on to middle and high school—when you go to school, you kind of know from the get go what you want to do, not necessarily exactly what you want to do, but what direction you want to go in and to waste four years at Beverly—that’s why a bunch of people get their GED and leave very early to go to SMC and transfer, because they don’t see their time as worth it. My point is a time [that] is worth it at Beverly, it is worth it to be there for four years–it’s fun. High school is an experience that every child should be given the opportunity to enjoy. By offering the resources, like dual enrollment—where there is an SMC satellite campus at Beverly, where you can be enrolled in Beverly and still get college credits where you can go to college already being halfway done; where the APs are expanded; where we offer an IB program where, say, you want to work internationally, you have those qualifications; say you want to do a white collar trade, you want to be a CPA or an EMT or a realtor, you can get training while you’re still in high school so you can go right away—you have a two year advantage on your peers to get ahead in the business world. We’re really being adaptable, and making sure this fits in with our community. We got to move in a direction, where we’re giving education to our community that the community wants and that’s really been ignored.”

 

Q: What makes you a qualified candidate for BHUSD?

A: “Right now, I think the number one thing that most people’s minds is COVID. What to do, you know, just last week, [BHUSD] announced they have a 130-page return-to-school manual. I looked that over—it looks great, honestly, but it mostly has to do with procedural things, it has to do with classroom configuration, has to do with looking at air circulation, has to look at making sure students can exercise while socially distanced. That’s a great plan, but the implementation of that is the difficult part. And I have experience in finding these things. I worked in Washington, DC, on pandemic legislature before the pandemic even happened, back in 2018. What I worked on specifically is making sure that suppliers of PPE are capable of mass producing them, I worked on liability waivers for that. I know legal jargon. I was the one who wrote the actual wording of the amendment to the law…Just being in this generation, I know how to deal with these things. I know what we need. I’m the only one who’s worked at length on sexual violence prevention and  survivor support programs. I’m a director of an organization at UCLA that’s working on getting legislation passed for that. I have worked with educational labor unions in the past. When I was with the State Senate Majority Leader we worked with UCLA’s AFSCME labor union. These qualifications that other candidates provide aren’t unique to them. You can be a jack of all trades at 20. I am…You want a lion in there, you don’t want a sheep. You want someone who’s going to be a fierce advocate for students, for parents, for the teachers and you don’t want someone who’s just going to roll over and be okay with whatever the board president says. You don’t want someone who’s just going to sit quietly, when there are allegations of racial profiling in this city. You don’t want someone who’s just going to stand by quietly when things happen, like Aries–I would never let the board reimplement that. These are things that you need someone who’s going to say no and stand up for what’s right. You need someone who has that demeanor, that fierce fighter and that’s really what I bring…I’m something different. I’m someone new. And that’s really what we need.”

 

Q: What sets you apart from the other candidates?

A: “What I’m saying they don’t provide [is] they aren’t this advocate, this champion of students. They aren’t this person who’s been there, they don’t know what’s really wrong, and they aren’t having the right conversations… I’m closer to the problems that exist than anyone else. I have brothers in the district, I’ve actually been a student there in the past 13 years, even though I was there two years ago. I’m intimately familiar with the problems that plagued this district. And I know the solutions… I think I’m capable of delivering more to this district than any of them. I’m capable of being that lion. I can be that empathetic person… I have this relatability and this level of understanding that quite simply, none of the other candidates have. I think that’s definitely my greatest strength.”

 

Noah Margo – Governing Board Member

Top five priorities: 

  1. Safety of students and teachers 
  2. Transforming Education
  3. Construction
  4. Mental Health
  5. Negotiations 

 

Q&A

Q: What made you decide to run for the school board? 

A: “The pandemic pushed me to run for the school board. When schools were closed, I had not thought about running again. Around that time, we had to start thinking about ways to deliver education successfully. It folded into my philosophy of transforming education, which is changing how we teach, not necessarily what we teach.”

 

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue our school district is facing now? 

A: “The clear and present danger is getting kids and teachers safely back to school. By far, that is every school district’s biggest problem right now because we’re at the whim of the state and county. It’s uncharted territory for everybody, and it’s going to happen in baby steps when it happens. The community should understand that it’s not going to happen in one day, which is why it is important for us to manage online learning.”

 

Q: What is your plan to fix that problem? 

A: “When we go back to school, students will be in cohorts. Many safety measures will be put into place to ensure the safety of both our students and our teachers. As for now, we have to manage our BHUSD Live and make sure that our students are getting the best educational experience possible under these circumstances.”

 

Q: What makes you qualified to be a board member? 

A: “My experience is my number one qualification. Before my experience, I would have to say the fact that I was both a public school teacher and a building contractor. However, I don’t think anything substitutes for experience in this case because I get to put on that badge as a two-term board member. I’m happy to show everyone what I have done successfully and everything I have managed from when I first started out as a board member.”

 

Q: Why do you think transforming education is important?

A: “It is important to not hold on so tight to the traditional public school framework of delivering instruction, and become more cross circular. Critical thinking and problem solving play a great role in that because I think that those skill sets are much better used in today’s world and we call that a 21st century education.Those are the skill sets that support students and guarantee success in a 21st century environment and economy.”

 

Q: What sentiment do you want voters to resonate with? 

A: “We need to do what’s best for our district at this moment in time. This moment in time is demanding that we solve the issue of getting kids back to school, getting teachers back to school and making sure everybody feels safe. It is my hope that the community recognizes that my track record, my experience and my knowledge are very necessary elements to continue serving on the board.”

 

Mary Wells – Construction Manager

Top priorities:

  1. Number one is to provide a sage and constructive in-person learning environment, during and post-Covid for all students and stakeholders.”
  2. “Effective delivery of quality education.”
  3. “Meeting the needs of all student’s during and post-Covid.”
  4. “Expertly managing the massive construction projects and budgets currently impacting the school system.”
  5. “Addressing declining enrollment in the district.”
  6. “[improve] board governance and communication with all stakeholders.”

 

Q&A

Q: What made you decide to run?

A: “I decided to run because I can bring my professional expertise in construction management, my business acumen, and financial background to serve and represent the students and parents and taxpayers through responsible governance and commitment to excellence for BHUSD. I have been serving on the [BHUSD] Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the past four years. I have been involved with the district after my daughter graduated for four years. I have been looking at the budgets and oversight of the bond Measure E, which is over 700 million dollars for school construction projects. Bringing that experience as well to the board and seeing it from that point of view. That’s really one of the things that spurred me to be on the board. Sitting on the COC for four years [made me] realize my background and experience is a skillset that the board really needs to be effective moving forward. This is a time where they really need me.”

 

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing our school district right now?

A: “The biggest issue facing the school district is to support academic excellence in the school and for the district to deliver the best educational experience and ensure that all students are able to meet or exceed the educational milestones. I think that, no matter what the district is facing—there’s always challenges that the district will be facing—the biggest challenge right now is COVID, and being able to return to school in a thoughtful and safe manner as soon as possible. But still, the focus is about delivering academic excellence and delivering that educational experience, even during this time COVID. There has to be that focus to make sure that that’s happening.”

 

Q: What is your plan to fix the problem?

A: “I think there’s three things, really. The first thing is about returning to school and being able to do that in an effective way, and evaluating with the teachers what that delivery looks like, what that outcome looks like, and having an ongoing dialogue with the district to ensure that the teachers and the departments are talking to each other, getting feedback from the students and the families and really iterating that program while we are in this remote learning mode and making certain that those goals are being met. I think it varies by department. The arts, performing arts, versus math—they’re all different. So, the departments need to talk to each other and see what’s working, and also see what’s not working and really evaluating that. I think the assessments have to be more often and the dialogue with the teachers have to be more often, because they’re really delivering education in a new way and in each of those areas. The other thing is about this strategic plan, and that’s a bigger, longer picture view. It’s really important in everything—it’s important in construction, it’s important in running a business and it’s important in education. You need a strategic plan that’s long term, so you can see where you’re trying to get to, and really evaluate that plan and adjust it as you need to. Then, align your budget to make sure that you have the funds to support that plan so that you can put into place what’s necessary, be it staff, or different materials, or equipment, depending on the department to establish that you can meet those goals. If it’s performing arts, do they have what they need to be able to be successful in that area? Does athletics have what they need to be successful? Does the math department? Does robotics? The district hasn’t had a strategic plan for over 10 years. It’s really important that we have that plan, which [the board] have now recently approved a three year plan, but what’s really important about that plan now is actually using it. [It’s like] you make a list of what you want to get done. The list is great, but if you don’t work the list, or what your plan is, it’s just a great looking plan. It’s really about holding the district accountable, and making certain along the way that we are having regular check-ins and that they are accountable for delivering the plan that everybody has agreed to, because that’s how you get to success. And it’s not any different in terms of construction, which would be the third thing I think that’s really important:making certain that our construction project projects are being managed in a really effective and efficient manner. There are massive projects going on all over the campuses, and it’s affecting this school, it’s the community, it’s affecting the morale. In many ways, I believe it’s affecting the enrollment. I think that we want to be sure that we are identifying our priorities and using those funds efficiently so that we can get to the end of that project, and get everybody back onto campus with beautiful buildings and great facilities because it all ties in again to that strategic plan and meeting those goals. I think that other tie into that is really about addressing enrollment and declining enrollment and all of those things if we deliver an excellent education, regardless of the challenges, if we are fiscally responsible and supporting our long term strategic plan. We are finishing the construction, then I think we’re going to address the enrollment issue, because that’s going to bring more people back to the school or attract people to stay in the school. I also think that we should do surveying with the families that have chosen to opt out of the school system in Beverly Hills and find out exactly why, and see what those issues are.If they’re specific issues that should be addressed, or sometimes it may just be about communicating what are the attributes of the school because some of these other things might be interfering with seeing all the great benefits of being in the school district.”

 

Q: What makes you qualified to be a BHUSD board member?

A: “I think I’m the most qualified candidate to be on the board right now because I lived in Beverly Hills for over 13 years and I’m a resident. I’m married and I have three children. My daughter went to Beverly. She went to Beverly Vista and then she went to Beverly. She graduated in 2016. But my children are now grown, so I am a candidate who has no conflict of interest. I’m able to really advocate for every student. However, I’ve had a student that has gone to the system, so I understand it. I really feel I represent all stakeholders in this regard. My background as a construction manager and my expertise in that area as well as my business background and financial acumen, I have a business degree from USC and finance in accounting. So I really am the candidate with a business construction management expertise and financial background that can really bring those skills to the board right now and I think it’s really important. The other thing that makes me very qualified to be on the board is in my work experience as a professional construction manager and as a manager working at The Walt Disney Company. I understand what it takes to be a leader in that environment to work with many different experts in different fields to be a team leader and bring people together to problem solve and build consensus. You really need that type of leadership and understanding in how to govern under these conditions for the board to be successful. I think I really bring that.”

 

Q: What do you bring to the table that gives you an edge over your opponents?

A: “My business and construction expertise. My background. With that expertise comes that wisdom and the ability to be an effective leader and team builder, as well as my expertise in those specific areas. Understanding business, understanding construction management, it’s all of that background and skill set that comes with it. That’s what really distinguishes me from the other candidates, as well as the fact that I don’t have a conflict of interest, so I can really represent all stakeholders. I think that that is really important.”

 

Donna Tryfman – Attorney

Top five priorities:

  1. No one is in school. 
  2. Problems with declining enrollment. 
  3. Problems with existing litigation. 
  4. Bringing back the Constitutional Rights Mock Trial program back to the middle school and high school. 
  5. Expediting construction. 

 

Q&A

Q: What made you decide to run?

A: “I felt that right now was probably a really good time for me to jump in and lend in some qualifications and my skills to the school board.”

 

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing our school district right now?

A: “No one is in school, and I am a proponent of traditional delivery of education and that means in person learning.”

 

Q: What is your plan to fix the problem?

A: “When the county guidelines and the state guidelines are met, and that we’re prepared to do that, I do think that we have to go back to school probably in a hybrid fashion. At first, sort of like what was described in the summer. But I think that we could make that work until we ride out the rest of the wave of the virus.”

 

Q: What makes you qualified to be a BHUSD board member?

A: “I’m a deputy public defender for Los Angeles County. I handle the most complex felony cases, including but not limited to capital litigation which is death penalty work. I am very, very familiar and adept at dealing with a lot of different kinds of personalities because that’s what I do in my everyday work. It’s almost 25 years now. I bring a lot of certain professionalism to the table, and a certain reasonableness to the table, and I’m able to work with a lot of different people who might have differing ideas, and I humanize people for a living, I tell their story. That’s a skill that I think is going to be very, very important on the school board.”

 

Q: What do you bring to the table that gives you an edge over your opponents?

A: “I think that I can quickly pinpoint an issue, and I think that I am a very quick learner, and I can think on my feet. And I think that I have an ability to present a cogent presentation and present my side without being emotionally embroiled in it. I’m a commissioner for the city of Beverly Hills and the Rent Stabilization Commission as well. So I know how to work in groups. I also volunteer in some other legal organizations as well.”

 

Amanda Stern – School Psychologist

Top five priorities

  1. Opening school on some level
  2. Figuring out why there has been a decline in enrolment and how to fix it
  3. Continuing to look at the financial solvency of the district
  4. Examining advanced placement attendance success
  5. Protecting against further litigation

 

Q&A

Q: What is the biggest issue the school district is facing?

A: “The biggest issue is the pandemic and remote learning.”

 

Q: How do you plan on solving this issue?

A: “Collaboration with different members and their respective expertise. I want to create a successful culture of learning. And to think outside the box, so that we can do as much in person, learning, and pool events as possible.”

Q: How will you achieve this goal? 

A: “Work with the teachers to come up with a way to evaluate how the kids are doing academically, work with the principal, and administrators to come up with a way to supervise and share expectations with the educators so that remote learning is working out to everyone’s satisfaction.”

 

Q: What makes you qualified to be a BHUSD Board member?

A: “My doctorate in education is in Educational Leadership, but I’m also someone who’s known to bring people together. I have a temperament that is very calm. And I deal very well with stress and conflict and I am an exceptionally good listener.”

 

Q: What do you bring to the table that gives you an edge over your opponents?
A: “I am the only school professional at this time.”

 

Q: Why is this more important?
A: “My professional experience has given me a bird’s eye view of virtually every part of how a school functions. I’ve had oversight of many different operations that concern school in a professional capacity. So I’m very well prepared to make a number of important decisions that will impact our school district.”

 

Robin Rowe – Retired Educator

Top priorities

  1. “We need to stop misdirecting the budget. If we put our taxpayers’ money into stuff that doesn’t advance education, then that doesn’t do us anything.”
  2. “We need to increase our academic ranking. It used to be that Beverly Hills had some of the best schools in the world. People moved here because our schools were great and now we rank number 54 not nationally, but locally. Our school academic rating is in the basement and we’ve got to fix that.”
  3. “Our teachers are underpaid. Some of our teachers do not make a living wage and we’re the richest school district in the world. Our school board has an adversarial relationship with teachers; we’re deliberately underpaying them. We need to stop doing that and we have a way to pay them if we wouldn’t waste it on stuff that wasn’t for education.”
  4. “There is a potentially huge scandal [with] IEP abuse in the school. If you go to a private psychologist and get your kid certified as having special needs, then you can put your child in the AP or Honors class and your child has twice as much time to take the test as the other kids do. There’s no checking that these kids are actually special ed and, while nobody likes cheaters, the big problem with the IEP abuse is that these kids think they’re special ed when they’re not and they’re going to be low achievers potentially their whole life because they’ve been told that they deserve to have twice as much time as other kids to do the same task.”

 

Q&A

Q: What made you decide to run?

A: “I read an article about how the budget is spent by the school board and it upset me that $16,000,000 has been redirected out of education into school board politics. Then, I was speaking at an event in the high school and one of our former mayors asked me to run so that really cinched it.”

 

Q: What do you think the biggest issue facing the school board is right now?

A: “The school board is being sued for diverting $16,000,000 and are trying to hide it. Nobody knows how much the real amount is because they refuse to be audited…I don’t know if [the system] is corrupt, I mean maybe people had good intentions, it’s certainly not transparent. I had nothing to do with the lawsuit so it’s all hearsay at this point. All I know is the school board is being sued for doing things that sound pretty bad, but that lawsuit has not been decided yet. The school board has been stalling it from what I have seen, trying to push it past when the election is and have succeeded in doing so because it is still out there but they have not been able to get it dismissed which they have tried very hard to do so. The court feels like there is enough stuff there for it to be taken seriously. There is no denying that money has been taken out of education and has been used for political lobbying, and that’s on the record and in newspaper articles.”

A: “I think that there are so many holes in the boat to try and prioritize them makes no sense, we need to plug all of them…I’m here to fix the school and if we keep spending money on stuff that isn’t education then that certainly doesn’t help. We just need to stop doing that and focus on paying our teachers a living wage and having the best technology in the world and all of the things we should be doing with this money”

 

Q: What separates you from the other candidates?

A: “I have not accepted any campaign donations or any donations and the reason for that is because they are reciprocal, which means the candidate will endorse the person who endorsed them…I am well rounded, I have the budget, the education and I am on the side of the teachers. Many people running for the board boast about their negotiating skills and how they are going to force teachers into another bad bargain during the next teaching negotiations. I think that is a bad thing because we should be focusing on having the best teachers not focusing on having the cheapest teachers.”

 

Frank Chechel – Actuary

Top five priorities

  1. “[An] issue which is really important to me is about having the right temperament for the job. I have a lot of business experience. I’ve done a lot of volunteering within the community in AYSO mainly, so I’m really comfortable in terms of getting different perspectives, bringing everybody to the table. We won’t all agree, so how do we get together and really make the best decisions for the district [that] everybody can feel comfortable with? We all compromise and we move forward.  I feel like I have the right temperament, the right experience, to really bring that to the board and to the district. Temperament is really important because I have it last but maybe not least in my mind. In terms of leading through a transformation, having the right person with the right temperament to make the right choices and not get frustrated when folks disagree is really important. In some ways, I feel like that last one is potentially the most important.”
  2. Transformative change — “Making good decisions and setting good policy for the administration, for the teachers, for the community, is so critical right now. There’s so many questions to answer so that’s really critical. I feel like my skill set is really helpful in terms of answering those questions. 
  3. “One sub piece of that is [that] the district, for the first time, built a strategic plan. One of the key parts of leading through the transformation is reviewing that, getting clear with everyone within a district around the metrics around that, refining it if we need to, and making a living document that. While I’m on the board for the next four years, we really focus on that and we really execute on that strategic plan, and we are transparent about how we’re doing versus what’s in it.”
  4. Communication and transparency
  5. Partnership with the community

 

Q&A

Q: What made you decide to run for school board?

A: “I got much more heavily involved with the school district this spring and summer with the coronavirus. I’ve been involved with PTA and other things before that.  I joined the Return to Learn Task Force, which helped with trying to figure out recommendations for how to return to school safely. As part of that, [I] really recognized how hard everyone was working and how much was going on with the school and how important this board election was. Some folks approached me, saying, “Hey, it’d be good if you ran for the board.” I had thought about it at various times and I felt like now was really a really essential time for the school district and I felt like  now was the time to put my skill set out there and at least offer that opposite choice to the voters.”

 

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing our school district right now?

A: “I think it’s really just about getting steady strong leadership, actually. We’re here to deliver great education for you kids. That is why we’re all here; that’s why this school district exists. That is obviously the key issue. In order to do that, in order to deliver a 21st century education, we need smart, experienced, thoughtful, nimble leaders at the board level, at the administration level, that can empower students, empower teachers, empower other folks to make the right decisions, and ultimately deliver great education.”

 

Q: What makes you qualified to be a BHUSD board member?

A: “First, I’m an actuary by background. I work in financial services. I’m a risk manager, so I understand risk; I understand probabilities. At the end of the day, my deep business experience. I know how to read a financial statement. We’ve got a $80 million budget, so understanding where that money is going and where it’s being spent is really important so that financial background is really  helpful. I’ve negotiated lots of different contracts and I’ve bought technology solutions. I’ve managed multi year initiatives, which is a lot of what we’re doing as a district with our infrastructure projects and things like that. All of that experience is really going to be important for our board. The second thing is…I’ve had a lot of dedication to volunteering within the community. I’ve done a lot of work with AYSO over the years. I’ve been a ref, I’ve been a coach, I’ve been a board member, and also a division director. I’ve gotten to interact with the community through that. I’ve been yelled at plenty of times by Beverly Hills parents and it’s okay. I always keep my cool and I think everybody’s really enjoyed working with me over the years. I would also mention the Return to Learn taskforce. I’ve been involved with the school district and passed through PTA the Return to Learn Task Force, so I’m really a dedicated volunteer within the community. Last but not least is combining those two things, and really bringing a temperament the right temperament, to the school board. I always try to make the right decision.I won’t always make the right decision, but I’m always going to try to do what’s best for the students for the parents for the community and balance all these different stakeholders, which is really tough to do. My experience over the years as both a volunteer and as a business person really lends itself well to being a board member.”

 

Q: What do you bring to the table that gives you an edge over your opponents?

A: “I think it’s that diversity of backgrounds. It’s interesting, so I’ve seen…a lot of the folks that I’m competing against for the board seat…for instance, one person is a lawyer by background. Now, they’re a public defender right now, so they work mostly in criminal cases. Frankly, I think my legal experience in terms of negotiat[ing] hundreds of contracts worth tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, that’s the expertise that the board really needs. That’s something that I bring to the table and honestly, I probably am more comfortable with contracts than any of the other candidates given my background. I’ve got the financial background, in terms of being able to read a profit and loss statement or read through our budget, and dig through and understand where our dollars are going, and be able to understand that piece as well. Helping the district in terms of their purchasing decisions is something that I also bring to the table. It’s really just that diversity of skill set I think there’s a lot of ways they can leverage my background to ultimately help make the right decisions for everybody.”

 

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