I am a civic-minded scientist, parent, and community leader dedicated to educational excellence in PUSD. Since my three young daughters attend PUSD schools, I am fully invested in high-quality public education. I am focused on putting education first for Poway Unified School District.
My top three priorities continue to be student equity and access in educational programs, social-emotional wellness for our students, and advocacy for adequate public school funding.
Read below for more details!
Since being elected to the PUSD Board of Education in 2016, I’ve been working effectively every day:
Trusted · Dedicated · Experienced
* I am trusted by students, parents, staff, and community: In every role I stepped into, I fulfilled my responsibilities, pushed organizations to higher standards and had the strength to voice my concerns. My background as a research scientist brings valuable STEM expertise to the Board. I am committed to ethically fulfilling my board responsibilities and will continue to work collaboratively and effectively with students, staff, administration, and the community.
* I am a dedicated community leader: I have served on The Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council, Park Village Elementary PTA, and PUSD Advisory Committee. In addition to being an elected member of the PUSD Board of Education, I serve on the Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board (member of the Land Use Committee), SDPD Police Captain’s Advisory Board Member – Northeastern Division, and as an Advisor on the Park Village Elementary School Foundation. I understand the role of a school board member and have a demonstrated passion for engaging the community.
* I am experienced in Board Leadership: During my first term as trustee, I earned my Masters in Board Governance, served as the Clerk, Vice President, and President of the Board. I currently serve on the California School Boards Association as a regional delegate and Vice Chair of Legislation. My impact as a leader and advocate has been recognized by the San Diego School Boards Association though the First Term Board Member of the Year Award. My extensive experience working on civic boards makes me an objective problem-solver who can effectively manage resources.
Our children’s education is my top priority.
Equity and access for all students:
In Poway Unified, our Vision is Creating culture and conditions to empower world-class learners. This Vision is not possible without providing equity and access for all of our students. There continues to be areas in need of improvement ranging from racial justice and special education to access to career technical education programs and partnering with our community colleges.
Systemic racism and bias needs to be confronted, and as a first step, Board Resolution 116-2020, Reaffirming Poway Unified School District’s Commitment to Fight Racism and Correct Systemic Inequity that I co-authored with Board colleague Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff, lays the framework for real changes. I will continue to hold the district accountable to the direction laid out in Board Resolution 116-2020 and will keep open channels of communication with students, families, and staff in the district to ensure we are making meaningful and timely progress towards those goals. Our resolution specifically ask the district to examine and confront bias in hiring practices, curriculum text selections, discipline disparity and academic opportunity gaps, for example.
My priority on equity and access includes programs for students who access special education services. I have a consistent track record for increasing resources and improving programs for our students with disabilities. I supported the creation of a new Associate Sup. position specifically devoted to SpEd and student services. I have joined parents advocating for deaf and hard of hearing, supported new measures to meet the needs of dyslexic students, and the Specialized Academic Instruction model expansion to additional schools. I show my site level support and verify accountability by visiting programs across the district focused on SpEd, including the new BASE program at Blue Apple Ranch and the Ability Awareness Celebration at Adobe Bluffs Elementary. Since one of my own daughters needs some learning accommodations, ensuring our students with disabilities get their services is near to my heart.
For the special education funding angle, see the public school funding section below.
Social Emotional wellness for students at all grade levels:
In Poway Unified, there continues to be a need to balance our high academic achievement and opportunity with social-emotional wellness. I have been a vocal advocate supporting programs such as expanding student services, No Place for Hate (a 2020 Golden Bell recognized program), Sanford Harmony, and SOLE Effects SWITCH program. The need for addressing social-emotional wellness concerns has increased due to COVID-19 physical distancing health policies, includes bringing PureEdge in for social-emotional learning with the added specific lens of special education. In this arena, I am inspired by the work developed by Challenge Success, a programed developed by an advisory board of interdisciplinary experts who “created a research-based organization that develops practical curriculum, conferences, and programs for parents, schools, and kids looking for a healthier and more effective path to success in the 21st century.”
By maintaining social-emotional wellness as a priority, we can tackle challenges on campus due to race, identity, ability, socioeconomic status, or other unique quality. I have a goal to expand social-emotional programs and lessons through our second step program at the primary level all the way to a comprehensive homeroom program series at the high school level. In addition, as a board member, I have supported realignment of school counselors, psychologists and student services all managed under Student Support Services, for better coordination, collaboration, and continuity of support for our students.
Advocacy for adequate public school funding:
With the COVID-19 Pandemic and looming state budget crisis, the experience I have advocating for public school funding will be essential to securing and increasing funds to the school system. It is clear now, more than ever, that public education is essential to a strong economy, not just in the short term, but in preparing our future innovators, skilled employees, and caretakers.
Through my position as a member of the Poway Unified School District Board of Education, I am a delegate to the California School Boards Association, Region 17. In my Region 17, San Diego County School Boards Association (CSBA), I serve as the Vice President of Legislation. In all three roles I actively lobby State elected officials for increases in base level of school funding. When Proposition 98 was passed in 1988, it established public school funding guarantees which were then further regulated through the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula enacted by the second administration of Gov. Jerry Brown. While these measures improved funding for under-served communities, it did not create a funding model that would keep up with rising costs of pensions, health insurance costs, or special education needs. California, while being the 5th largest economy in the world, is still 38th in per pupil funding nationwide. In addition to my work with CSBA, I participate in a lobbying group called the California Suburban School Districts where we advocate for COLA, increased base funding, as well as other types of public education supports.
The root cause of many of the specific challenges PUSD encounters with educating our students with disabilities is the significant, chronic underfunding of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by the Federal Government. IDEA was passed in the 1970s to provide a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities. This means that the school district will find students in need of special education and provide them with the services and supports they need at no cost to their parents. Although Congress committed to fund cover 40% of the extra cost of special education, in actuality, they are not even funding 15%. In addition, CA is not adequately increasing base funding to meet the rising costs associated with special education services. If the programs and services were adequately funding, we could have the staffing, tools, and training necessary to meet the needs of our students with disabilities. As an individual and through my role as a School Board Member and CSBA Delegate, I have continually advocated our state and federal leaders for fully funding IDEA.