Why I am running, what are my priorities for LBUSD, and why my experience makes me the best candidate for LBUSD Area 4.
Why I Am Running
I am running because I know that education has a powerful impact on students. I have been preparing for this moment my entire adult life. My professional work has always aligned with what is in the best interest of students. Please watch the videos below to hear more.
A Little About Me
I was born and raised in Long Beach, attended Long Beach Unified Schools and graduated from California State University, Long Beach. My husband is also a graduate of LBUSD and California State University, Long Beach. We are parents to three adult children who attended and graduated from Long Beach Unified Schools.
For over 25 years, I have had the honor to work with Long Beach students.
- I am a former teacher in Long Beach Unified School District.
- I currently substitute in the classroom.
- I am a former PTA President at Horace Mann Elementary and Signal Hill Elementary School.
- I am a former LBUSD AmeriCorps Site Supervisor.
- I am on the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition Board.
- I am a former member of Rick Rackers.
- I am an auxiliary of the Assistance League of Long Beach.
- I am a longtime member of First Congregational Church of Long Beach.
Since 2004 I have served as the Executive Director of DAYS Long Beach, a nonprofit that annually serves hundreds of students in Long Beach providing supplemental educational opportunities throughout the year. Early in my career I worked at a Long Beach halfway house for incarcerated women. While there, I partnered with Long Beach City College, to provide the first ever court recognized parenting course for residents who were on parole to help prepare them for reunification with their families.
I have always leveraged the power of education to improve the lives of Long Beach students. Over 72,000 students from a wide variety of backgrounds attend Long Beach Unified—the 3rd largest district in California. Superintendent Steinhauser and LBUSD are recognized nationally as leaders that others look to for guidance. And yet, there is still more we can do. With your support and your vote, I want to help as a member of LBUSD board.
Cultivating A Culture of Inclusion
Anti-bullying training must start early for students and also include teachers. I will work to promote, strengthen and expand a culture of inclusion and a climate of caring in our schools. Our schools need to be safe for students, teachers, and staff. I would like to see every school adopt a relationship building program, teaching students how to show empathy and caring to others. We need to continue and increase partnerships with California Conference for Equality and Justice, the LGBTQ Center Long Beach, and Californians for Justice providing implicit bias and restorative justice training to our teachers and support staff.
Working To Enhance Schools’ Response To Individual Diverse Student Needs
Gifted students as well as students that need specialized learning need to be identified early so they can thrive. I will work to enhance our response to individual diverse needs. I want to ensure students receive a high quality, engaging education and teachers and staff receive support to meet the needs of every student.
For example, our district has approximately 10,400 students with Individualized Education Program plans or IEPs. These plans establish accommodations that include short- and long-term measurable goals. Parents of students with IEPs organize monthly Community Advisory Committee meetings in partnership with LBUSD to share concerns, develop strategies and policies, and learn how best to support students. We need to expand this engagement and reach out to more parents.
Working To Promote and Expand Language Learning Opportunities
Long Beach needs to be on the cutting edge in training the next generation of learners for the global economy. That means expanding language learning opportunities.
I will work to promote and expand language opportunities. I want to see LBUSD increase the availability of Pre-K through high school programs and classes in many different languages. Offering more language programs and classes makes sense for Long Beach.
Working To Increase Teacher Participation in Decision Making
I will ensure that the professionals in the classroom every day who really know what's going on with students are part of the overall strategy development for their schools and the district.
I will work to continue and increase the participation of teachers and staff in the decision-making process to improve schools. I want to see that their recommendations are included in the school site and district plan.
Working To Enhance Parent Engagement
Long Beach Unified School District must increase its outreach to parents to make them an integral part of their child's learning experience. I will work to strengthen parent engagement. I want to increase parent workshops at school sites, focusing on how the school system functions and responding to the recommendations they make for their children’s education.
My Leadership Style
My approach and leadership style is to attend meetings, listen, ask questions, find where I might be helpful, make connections and then bring the issues to the board and the administration to seek solutions. To ensure that I represent the needs, hopes, and desires of families in Area 4, I am meeting with parents, teachers, support staff, attending local PTA meetings, and walking the district, listening carefully to learn more about the challenges faced by students in the district. I want to work with all members of the board to provide all children an opportunity to achieve their dreams.
I have been endorsed by many organizations and individuals including:
- California School Employees Association (CSEA) Long Beach Chapter 2
- Yes We Can!
- Dr. Juan Benitez, PhD, LBUSD Board Member
- Gonzalo Moraga, Woodrow Wilson High School Principal (2011-2019)
- Hon. Betty Karnette, Teacher/California State Senator (retired)
- Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, Executive Director of Californias Together
- Dr. Paul Boyd-Batstone, Ph.D, CSULB (retired)
- Dr. Naida Tushnet, PhD, Education Researcher (retired)
- Dr. Norma Chinchilla, PhD, CSULB (retired)
- Dr. Kris Zentgaf PhD, Chair/Professor, Sociology Department CSULB
- Linda Plexico, LBUSD Teacher
- Julie Lie, Executive Director of Urban Community Outreach
(Titles and affiliations of each individual are provided for identification purposes only)