There will be a change on the Glendale Unified School District’s board after Tuesday’s election: Longtime school board member Chakib “Chuck” Sambar lost his bid for reelection.
“I have had a great ride,” Sambar said of Tuesday’s results.
There were three seats on the GUSD ballot. Incumbents Greg Krikorian, with 11,700 votes, and Joylene Wagner, with 10,889, retained their spots. Christine Walters, an accountant and former Hoover High School PTA president, won the third seat with 9,641 votes. Walters and fellow candidate Eric Sahakian were strongly supported by the Glendale Teachers Association.
“Mr. Sambar’s [departure] is going to leave a void that will be hard to replace,” said Krikorian. “He brought integrity and a full knowledge of the district to our board.”
Sambar has spent most of his life in the field of education. He taught school for 35 years, 14 of them spent at Crescenta Valley and 21 at Hoover.
That well-rounded knowledge of the diversity of Glendale’s school district gave Sambar a unique perspective, Krikorian said.
Sambar seemed to see the tide turning early Tuesday night when he and wife Lois stopped by board member Mary Boger’s home for an election reception. He was philosophical about the pending results.
“Maybe it’s time for a change,” Sambar said.
The election was a hard fought one for all candidates. It was Krikorian’s third school board run.
“It was a lot of work,” he said.
Part of that work may be due to the private and public battles between the district administration and teacher’s association over the past two years. School board members Boger and Wagner said that the general feeling of wanting a change might stem from animosity between the association and the administration.
The discord between the two parties is still a difficult issue for Sambar to leave behind.
“It is time for the district and teachers union leaders to reassess their strategies and tactics and to come to the table to collaborate with constructive and intelligent recommendations to achieve positive outcomes for students, teachers, community and the school district,” Sambar wrote in a prepared statement. “The time has come for a commitment on the part of all parties to bury the hatchet and begin a new spirit of trust, cooperation and confidence.”
Krikorian said he was ready to welcome Walters to the board and is looking forward to getting back to work for all students, adding that he is well aware that the district’s schools are all unique. Krikorian has been a strong Crescenta Valley supporter during his years on the board.
“I am ready to continue my service to Crescenta Valley as a strong advocate,” he said.
But he added that it would be difficult without the support he had always found with Sambar on the board.
“[Sambar] was a safety valve,” he said. “I could always turn to him.”
For Sambar, his electoral loss was a gain for his grandchildren, wife and golf handicap.
“I will have time to golf,” he said.
He and his wife Lois will continue their work to support students through the Glendale Scholarship Endowment and have started a new spin-off of the endowment, establishing a scholarship through the Glendale Educational Foundation.