Full name: Katrina Foley
How long have you lived in the Newport-Mesa district and where do you live exactly? 14 years, Mesa Del Mar
Occupation (or former occupations): attorney at law; chief executive of the Foley Group PLC; Costa Mesa City councilwoman
Previously elected or appointed positions: Costa Mesa City Council 2004-08; Costa Mesa Planning Commission 1999-2004; chairwoman Measure C Oversite Committee for Coast Community College District; chairwoman of the Orange Coast College Presidential Search Committee; alternate on Measure F Equity Committee
Community organizations you belong to: Sonora PTA; Costa Mesa High School PTSA; Costa Mesa Community Athletic Foundation, aka Costa Mesa United; Orange County Bar Assn.; Orange County Trial Lawyers Assn.; Celtic Bar Assn.; Hispanic Bar Assn.
Why are you running (for challengers) or running again (incumbent) for office?
I pledge to make Newport-Mesa School District even better for taxpayers and families by cutting waste and overhead, maximizing resources, demanding excellence across the district, and keeping our students competitive with new technology. To meet these goals, the district needs professional, responsive and proactive leadership.
My husband, Casey, and I are Mesa del Mar homeowners. Our two boys attend Costa Mesa public schools. Casey is a teacher, volunteer sports coach and Estancia High School graduate. We are active in our PTA and neighborhood association.
As PTA president for two years at Sonora Elementary School, I was instrumental in finding funds to improve our computer labs, arts instruction, afte- school programs, and support for our 65-member band. It is not a coincidence that test scores increased dramatically. I am active in the Costa Mesa United Foundation, which helped find funding to build Scott Stadium and the new Costa Mesa High School Aquatics Complex. Our Youth Sports Council continues to help fund facility improvements for Costa Mesa schools, Pop Warner, Newport Harbor and Costa Mesa baseball leagues, and AYSO. I am president of the new OC Skateboarding League. I am a businesswoman and own a Newport Beach law firm.
Our district is falling short in meeting the goals of the Strategic Plan. I will provide proactive leadership necessary to achieve the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Strategic Plan’s goal of “providing a world-class education for every child, every day.”
As a parent, homeowner, business owner, PTA president, Youth Sports Council member, and city councilwoman, I bring all of these qualities to the job. There is much work ahead to raise the the quality of education for our Newport-Mesa families.
I'll get the job done.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing Newport-Mesa right now?
1. We must do a better job partnering with the our cities and businesses to reduce costs, improve our sports and theater facilities, and ensure our curriculum and courses challenge our youth and provide them opportunities to compete for college or in the marketplace.
2. We must protect against any further increase in class size.
3. We must communicate better with our parents and greater community about district plans, decisions and successes.
4. We must modernize our technology. The technology world is changing fast and we are not competitive. Our teachers and students need the technological tools and training to succeed in college and the marketplace. Our IT systems and department should be a top priority.
What is one decision in the last year that you feel the board voted correctly on and why?
Changing the leadership in the administration at Costa Mesa High School. For three years the school continued on a downward spiral with no leadership to identify, evaluate and create a plan for success. Parent complaints were ignored and families were lost to other schools and districts. There was little to no response or representation for the Costa Mesa High School Zone. While the ultimate decision was correct, it was too long delayed at a serious cost to the school in terms of lowered test scores, fleeing families and a degraded facilities. Fortunately, the new administration is proactively working with parents, teachers, staff and students to create an aggressive roadmap to lift up Costa Mesa High and thereby the rest of the district. Great things are happening now thanks to the community, parents and students working with the new administration.
What is one decision in the last year that you feel the school board could have made a better decision?
All new buildings, especially buildings that consume large amounts of energy, should be built with solar technology. The board chose not to include solar technology in any of the new buildings at Newport Harbor High School, Estancia, Tewinkle and Costa Mesa High. That was a mistake because grants are available to pay for the solar equipment and installation. Savings to taxpayer dollars was lost for years to come.