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Strong Public Schools =

STRONG COMMUNITIES

As a public educator I know how we can improve the public schools. Education can change the trajectory of a child’s life. With schools in crisis we need people on the school board who understand the laws and regulations during this trying time. The stronger the school the stronger the community. Ojai is a unique and exceptional place and our schools need to reflect the community we call home. I want the schools to improve for my own children and all the students who live here. I am passionate about equity and access for all students – in fact, that’s been my life’s work. I would work to ensure all students get the education they deserve.

As an educator and teacher leader, I continually ask, “What is best for kids?” If the direction is not best for kids, it is removed from the conversation. Best for kids, means all kids. Not just the students going to college, not just the overachieving kids, but the kids who need us the most. The kids that are from lower-income socioeconomic backgrounds, the kids who are learning to speak English, the kids who are first generation, and the kids who have special needs. I stand for all of them and I want to ensure they are continually supported and receive the resources they need to give them the opportunity and choice for the futures they want. I am a first-generation college student and I am finishing my doctorate from USC. Without teachers believing in me I would have never made it this far in life.

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Issues

Fiscal Stability

Fiscal stability is my first priority. I have brought millions of dollars to Oxnard Union and Ventura Unified school districts through grant writing. Ojai is facing a massive declining enrollment and is in dire straits financially. I have the expertise in education that would help find alternative funding sources to make OUSD fiscally sound. Using my years of experience in raising educational funding, I will ensure the district is exploring all possible avenues to bringing additional funds to OUSD.

Technological Equity

I will ensure equity and access for all students to technology and high-speed internet. Due to school closures because of the pandemic, the digital divide has become the most pressing issue within education. Research shows that students from lower-income families and students of color are more likely to not have high-speed internet in their homes or access to devices and computers. Additionally, families must have the training and support to know how to use these devices correctly and support their children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, solving this crisis this is even more essential to ensure we are reaching all students. We must close the digital divide that exits in Ojai.

Cultural Diversity in Curriculum

I support the development of compelling, culturally relevant teaching and curriculum that will reach all students and make them feel valued. It is critical for students to be engaged in education, but oftentimes historically underserved students have been overlooked and cannot identify with their schools. This must change. Schools must be representative of all people. When students of color see themselves in the schools it makes them believe they are capable. I want every child in Ojai to believe they can become whatever they set their mind to.

Working with Teachers and Classified Unions

The unions are an essential partner in education. They must be involved in the decision-making process every step of the way. Teachers and staff know students’ needs better than anyone. It is essential their voice is heard, and their opinions shape the direction of the district. With a massive teacher shortage in California, teachers have options. If they are unhappy and not well supported, they will leave. Administrators and the school board must work side-by-side with union leaders to make decisions that will impact classrooms. Happy supported employees create happy supported students. This cannot be separated.

Biography

I am a first-generation college student, 12-year educator, credentialed teacher, mother of three sons, doctoral student, and the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for Ventura Unified School District.

I hold a master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Education, and I am completing a doctorate from USC in Educational Leadership. I am currently completing my dissertation in getting equitable and stable Career Technical Education funding for the state of California. I am an innovative educator and I am passionate about serving my community. I will bring my knowledge and background to help move the district forward.

I am a long-time resident of Ojai Valley and am incredibly passionate about representing the students that are historically underserved in schools. I am running for office because I want to see Ojai Valley improve the schools to meet the needs of all students. I am here for the kids; they are my first priority. I want to see all students succeed. I know I could greatly impact our students lives for the better and believe that strong public schools will create a stronger community in Ojai.

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Endorsements

Ventura County Democratic Party

Young Democrats, Ventura County

Central Coast League of Conservationist Voters 

Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters

Ventura County Women's Political Council 

Indivisible Ojai Valley

Carmen Ramirez

Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem

Jacqui Irwin

California State Assembly Member

Ted Lawrence
Principal of Pacifica High School

Sofia Rubalcava

Council Member City of Ventura

Karen Sher
Board President, Oxnard Unified High School District

Dr. Roger Rice
Superintendent, Ventura Unified School District

Sabrena Rodriguez
Board President, Ventura Unified School District

Scott Svonkin,
Board Member, President Obama’s Americas College Promise

Jonathan Abbound,
Trustee, Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees

Dr. Ramon Flores President,
Ventura County Board of Education 

Richard Urias
Principal of Oxnard High School

Mike Etchart
Teacher, Ventura Unified

Chris Murphy

Principal Matilija Middle School, Ojai Unified

Louie Chandler 

Student, Summit School

Sherlyn Wheaton

Doctor, Ojai Community Member

Marianne Ramos
Director of Education Services of Oxnard Union High School District

Shelly Griffin
Ojai School Board President

Joshua Chancer
Ventura Community College Board Member

Heather Beamer
Special Ed Teacher Mira Monte Elementary 

Tina Mahler
Teacher Mira Monte Elementary 

Dr. Terri Leon
Principal, Atherwood Elementary 

Kimberly Hoj
Teacher Nordhoff High School

Charley Moen
Student Nordhoff High School

Constina Baylor 

College Readiness Coach, Oxnard High School

Cameron Salehi

Assistant Principal, Pacifica High School

Kimberly Tresvant 

Director of Human Resources, Oxnard Union

Jim Bailey

Founder, Rock, Tree, Sky

Judy Watson

Teacher, Simi Valley Unified

Chandler Beamer 

Student, Matilija Middle School

Dr. Penelope De Leon

Superintendent, Glendora Unified School District

Carolyn Vondriska

Community Member, Ojai

Katherine White

Principal Mira Monte, Ojai

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