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Learning and caring

For incoming Board of Education President Ketta Brown, Laguna Beach schools aren’t just a place for learning: They’re a place for caring.

The three-year board member was named to the position in early December, replacing Jan Vickers.

The yearlong term will require Brown to run board meetings, set agendas and act as the spokeswoman on behalf of the board, which should make for some entertaining meetings since she is known for her bubbly personality and quick wit.

The 20-year Laguna resident and mother of three, who has long been involved in the district since her kids all attend schools in town, said she has held nearly every elected PTA position possible at Top of the World Elementary, Thurston Middle and Laguna Beach High Schools, and PTA Council prior to joining the board three years ago.

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“The most rewarding thing has been to see the district moving with such momentum toward a truly great education for the majority of our students; things don’t move quickly in education, but we have probably beaten the odds there a bit,” she said. “The teachers and staff have really embraced using data to inform our educational decisions, and each student is treated as part of a whole so that no teacher is [solely] responsible for him or her.

“In addition, we are making great strides in common assessments across grade levels and within disciplines, which allows us to have quantifiable data for teachers and administrators to use for planning and remediation purposes. This has probably been the biggest single step forward in the past few years.”

Brown said she has a deep-seated respect for what the teachers, administrators and support staff do for children.

She is especially fond of those at TOW who she said have been a surrogate family for her and her husband, Jeb, for the past 16 years.

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Her passion, she said, comes from the support that the school showed her oldest, Michael, when he experienced the devastation of losing the family’s home to a fire and the death of his younger sister, Sarah, at the age of 7.

“His world was turned upside down more than once, and he could always count on school to be there,” she said. “The depth of caring that I felt for our entire family was true and remains so.

“We are not unique in that, however. We are very lucky in this district to have the opportunity to be known by those who have responsibility for our children at every stage and who are willing to step in during tough times.”

It is for these reasons, that Brown said she is so “rabidly” supportive of the district and wants to be involved.

Over the years, Brown has also served on the board of the Friendship Shelter, Laguna Presbyterian Church, and Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation. An avid cook, she teaches an after-school cooking class to first- and second- graders at TOW.



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