Three parents were elected to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board Tuesday night, pushing out a longtime incumbent, while a Pasadena economist will fill the District 1 seat on the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees.
In the La Cañada school board race, David Sagal, an executive and attorney for Warner Bros., was the top vote-getter with 1,724 votes, or 24.55%. Sagal also raised and spent the most money among the eight candidates.
Kaitzer Puglia, a professor at Pasadena Community College, and Dan Jeffries, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, were nearly tied with more than 19% of the vote each. Puglia had a slight lead on Jeffries, with 1,374 votes. Jeffries won 1,364 votes.
Jennifer Rubendall, owner of Urban Fitness Pilates Studio, incumbent Joel Peterson, counselor and doctorate student Karyn Riel, Glendale Community College student Kevork Kurdoghlian and recent Harvard graduate Ian Mirisola trailed behind.
Sagal, Puglia and Kaitzer will fill three open seats on the school board. Current board members Susan Boyd and Scott Tracy decided not to seek reelection. Peterson, who served two four-year terms on the board, was questioned about his residency and a possible conflict of interest with an education consulting business over the course of his campaign. As the only incumbent, he ran a campaign focused on his experience.
Peterson did not return phone or email requests for comment about the election results.
Three candidates under the age of 30 also tossed their hats in the ring, saying that they would bring a fresh perspective to the board. But in the end, voters chose to elect three parents who have strong ties to the community.
The 58-year-old Sagal, who celebrated his win on Tuesday night with friends and supporters at Flintridge Proper, said he was looking forward to serving on the board.
He also praised the other winners and current board members.
“I think it's going to be a very strong board,” he said. “It's a good day for the schools of La Cañada.”
Puglia, 51, celebrated with family and friends at her home on Tuesday night with chili and corn bread. She said everyone was very supportive.
“They were ecstatic for me,” she said. “My daughter said to me, ‘Mom we know you’re going to do a great job.’”
“I’m looking forward to working on behalf of the students and the families and the teachers and really trying to focus that student learning is essential to anything we do,” Puglia added.
Jeffries, 55, said that he was proud of the “outpouring of people who care about our schools and our kids.”
He knocked on doors in La Cañada to talk to people about his campaign and issues facing the school board. He said would bring the same dedication to the community as a board member.
“I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to it,” said Jeffries.
Real estate economist Ross Selvidge, 67, won the open seat on the PCC board with 2,430 votes, or roughly 46%.
Dianne Philibosian, the director of the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing at Cal State Northridge and Alex Keledjian, a recent La Cañada High School graduate and current Pasadena Community College student, followed behind.
The PCC seat, currently occupied by Geoffrey Baum, represents a district that includes La Cañada Flintridge, West Pasadena and West Altadena.
“I’m pleased with the outcome and I look forward to representing all the constituents,” Selvidge said on Wednesday, adding that he wants to focus on the students and the quality of the instruction at the college.
In an emailed statement, Philibosian thanked her supporters and said the people she met in La Cañada embraced her candidacy.
“Though we lost by about 200 votes, we won great interest and support for Pasadena City College and the importance of our community colleges in our regional system of education from cradle to career and lifelong learning,” she stated.
Keledjian said that although he did not win the seat, he still plans to remain active in the community. He congratulated his challengers.
“We all ran a very strong campaign,” he said. “I’m glad we all had the same goal: what is best for PCC.”