Local elected officials, organizations, staff, community members and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education honored Dr. Jose Escarce for his 16 years of service to the community on his retirement from the school board, following the regular meeting held November 17, 2016.
Dr. Escarce received commendations and plaques from the Santa Monica City Council, Malibu City Council, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Senator Ben Allen, who served with Dr. Escarce on the school board prior to his election to the Senate, Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association (SMMCTA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and his school board colleagues.
In the remarks made by many people during the recognition, comments were repeated about his unparalleled intelligence, inquisitive nature, strong analytical skills, ability to problem-solve, compassion and kindness, among other valued traits, that brought a few speakers to tears over the thought of his retirement.
His accomplishments on the Board include leading the district’s move toward centralized fundraising instead of a school by school approach, so that children in all district schools are afforded equitable opportunities to program and personnel enhancements provided through private fundraising. Dr. Escarce has been an ongoing proponent of academic achievement initiatives to close achievement gaps while always ensuring that the district continues to provide better and better instruction and opportunity for all students.
“Dr. Escarce has been an incredible asset to our school district, providing leadership and advocacy that always placed the best interest of all students and families at the forefront. He also had immense respect for the educators and support staff who have dedicated themselves to public education,” Board President Laurie Lieberman said. “He is a staunch champion for equity and access for all students, and has been a tremendous mentor for all new board members. His departure represents a loss to our board and our district that cannot be expressed in a few sentences. We will be forever grateful that such an extraordinary person chose to commit 16 years to public education in our district.”
Dr. Escarce’s current four-year term expires next month and he chose to not submit for re-election.
“I was deeply moved by the commendation organized for my last school board meeting. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the board for the last 16 years,” Dr. Escarce said. “I am reassured that our district is on the right path and that our students are in wonderful hands all around.”
Dr. Escarce and his wife Eileen raised three children in SMMUSD schools and will continue to live in Santa Monica.