June 19, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

SMMUSD, SMC Candidates Vie For Last Minute Votes:

As part of Mirror Media Group’s election forum season, all candidates running for positions on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education and Santa Monica College Board of Trustees met the public Wednesday night at the Santa Monica Main Library’s MLK Auditorium.

The evening was co-sponsored by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

Following an interesting question and answer series, candidates were afforded one-minute closing statements.

SMMUSD Board of Education (Four seats available)

Oscar de la Torre

“We’re talking about reshaping the way we look at public education in our community, we used to focus on K-12, we don’t want to do that any more. We want to look at P-16. Every person in this community should have the opportunity to go beyond high school…Parents should have accessible and affordable childcare.

“I am very excited… all we had been doing is cutting, now we’re building.”

Laurie Lieberman

“As we move forward in addressing the many issues that are facing our school district, whether we’re talking about implementation of the Common Core…how to make sure our schools are healthy and safe places…or how to imbue students with a lifelong enthusiasm for learning…I’m a collaborative problem solver who puts good ideas first, not personalities or politics.

“I have a thoughtful and inclusive style of leadership and a broad-base of support.”

Ralph Mechur

“My dream for our communities has always included having the best public schools providing all of our children with the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to be successful as adults… [and] closing the achievement gap.

“With parity of program we will begin to see significant gains in our most under performing groups as well as high levels of achievement from all of our students.

“We are on the path to truly supporting every student everyday.”

Dhun May

“I hope to collaborate with fellow board members to help our district get proper value for its assets and to implement wise policies that empower all children to reach their full potential.

“I am uniquely qualified in terms of my strong math background and very extensive, varied teaching experiences. Being a Zoroastrian, my presence on the board would enhance its ethnic diversity.”

Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein

“We need a fresh voice on the school board, I am that fresh voice. I am a leader who is uniquely qualified, I am a parent who has been deeply engaged… I will bring something new to the school board.

“Rooted here…I am a hard worker, I am a doer and a dreamer, and we together can find greater excellence in our community.”

Craig Foster

“What you see with me is what you get – I am fighting for kids everyday, I have a vision for what it [the future] looks like. There are so many incredible people who are thinking about how to educate our kids for the 21st century.

“On that school board, I will do one thing, I will spend every day making every decision ‘what’s best for these kids’, I will work to structure a vision that can lead not only our kids in our community but other people who are interested in doing the same thing.”

Patty Finer

“I have a life-long love for and experience with children.

“I’ve worked with children who have come out of family court, I’ve worked with children in foster care, I’ve worked with children who are in shelters, I also have to work with the rich kids, who to have special issues that have to be addressed.”

SMC Board of Trustees (Four seats available)

Barry Snell

“I’m the only trustee who currently has children matriculating at the schools. I have a vested interest to see that we serve our students.

“I realize that education is the one way that many of our students will be successful and become great leaders in our community.”

Dennis C.W. Frisch

“Community colleges were established to provide higher education to all California residents regardless of socioeconomic status and/or income… For 28 years I’ve stood by that mission, it’s been the fundamental on how I’ve worked with students.

“I will continue to stand by that mission and to oppose anything that seeks to reduce access to higher education via the community colleges.”

Louise Jaffe

“I am fully immersed in the work of the college, pursuing my passion for increasing students’ access and my passion for excellence in public education…strong stable and strategic management and dedicated and talented faculty and staff.

“We have a wonderful thing here in the community.”

Andrew Walzer

“The college faces precarious financial times moving forward…we need stable leadership, proven leadership…I’ve shown that leadership. In the past, during the great recession, SMC maintained its stability with no major layoffs, we continued to do well by our employees… I would like to continue that.”

Nancy Greenstein

“SMC changes lives. I am a leader, a facilitator, a problem solver, a team player and a community advocate. As a board member I have always tried to reach out to every community so all voices are heard.”

Maria Loya

“I’m running to provide a progressive voice on the college board and to ensure Santa Monica College continues to provide access and affordability.

“Only four percent of the student population that are taking accredited courses come from our local schools. I believe that we can do better.”

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