Candice Anvari staff writer
Split reporting with Will Harris, staff writer and Gina Toore, staff writer
Three candidates were voted into the BHUSD Board of Education as polls came to a close on Nov. 3. Among the current board members, incumbent Noah Margo, Amanda Stern and Mary Wells will fill the three open seats once the election results are certified on Nov. 30.
In this election, Beverly Hills residents were allowed to cast their votes. According to Patch, Wells won the most votes with 5,931, Margo came in second with 5,852 votes and Stern came in third with 5,400 votes. The election process is managed directly by Los Angeles County.
Since Margo was elected in 2015, his win this year marks his second term. He feels “elated” to have won the support of the Beverly Hills community once again.
“I worked very hard for a long period of time following some family issues, but we were able to overcome our difficulties,” Margo said. “My wife really stepped up to make sure that during the whole process we were going through that we were still able to accomplish this, so I feel very fortunate to have won such immense support.”
Similarly, Wells is “thrilled” to see that her campaign resonated “so well” with the community. As a board member, she hopes to “ensure” the best education for students, starting with the reopening plan.
“My first goal would be [for] a very thoughtful and safe return to school and that we are making sure that students are receiving the best quality of education to meet the benchmarks that are necessary for this school year,” Wells said.
Although Margo “doubt[s]” that students and teachers will be back in school before the new board is sworn in, he believes that the reopening issue is the most “pressing” matter.
“The real decision to be made is what is going to be the safest way to get staff and students back into the classroom,” Margo said. “We really need to take a look at how we can best serve the continuous needs of our students while they are displaced because that is going to be something that has to be looked at and modified next semester.”
Throughout his term, Margo hopes to push for the completion of many structures that are currently under construction in the district.
“I would love to see progress with buildings B1, B2, B3, B4 and El Rodeo,” Margo said. “Before my [second] term ends, I’m sure that we will be starting site work at the high school in terms of the fields and athletics. I don’t expect those to be done in four years because we have to open the rest of the school and move the construction program down to the new athletic building area, so that’s going to take some time.”
Amid the pandemic, both Margo and Stern noticed a shift in morale among students, teachers and parents. Stern hopes to increase morale by “showcasing a flipped classroom.” To Stern, a “flipped classroom” is a classroom that is “completely” digital and modernized.
“I want us to emerge with our new understanding of how we can collaborate on digital platforms to the point where we can be spear hunters of remote and online learning,” Stern said. “If we can showcase that we really took this opportunity to increase our abilities to be 21st century learners with a flipped classroom, I think that can really boost the morale in our community, and I would honestly love to see [a morale] boost because we’ve emerged from this pandemic having grown and shown that we really can succeed with many digital applications and capabilities for learning.”
Similarly Margo believes that the “constant” issues of morale in the district cannot be changed with outside influence.
“If we have a problem with morale, we have to be the reasons that it changes. A change is going to start with one person or one group that’s going to take a stand against this pouting and mopiness that’s been going around, and address that it’s time to be proud of who we are, be proud of what we can do and be proud that we can accomplish more,” Margo said. “It’s a little hard to address this problem now because of COVID, but when we come back we all have to come together and be there for each other because everything is going to feel a lot different. I honestly think that change will do wonders for our community.”