Glendale Unified bids farewell to Wagner, welcomes newly elected Gharpetian

Glendale Unified on Monday bid farewell to longtime board member Joylene Wagner and welcomed recently elected Armina Gharpetian.

Wagner, who has held her seat on the board since 2005, built a reputation during her tenure as a state and federal policy hawk in terms of their impact on Glendale schools.

She was also known for her advocacy of arts, music and robotics in local schools.

A reception for Wagner held before the meeting brought dozens of educators to a district board room, where an overflow crowd listened to speeches about Wagner from the hallway.

Outside of the schools, Wagner has for many years been active in a broad spectrum of community organizations, from Glendale Arts to the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board.

“There was never anything political involved,” school board member Mary Boger said later during the meeting. “What Joylene did, she did from a pure sense of service.”

School board member Christine Walters said Wanger was her “go-to” resource for institutional knowledge about education policy, and thanked Wagner for her mentorship.

“When we think of the arts, we think of you,” said Walters. “I will continue to carry that torch.”

Wagner assured the board she would continue to stay involved.

“As you all know, there’s plenty of work to be done in this community,” she said. “It will be an interesting challenge to come at it from a different perspective. I’ll miss it in this capacity, but I’ll enjoy new capacities.”

As part of the annual re-organization of the board, Nayiri Nahabedian was unanimously voted as the board’s new president and Boger as vice president.

Wagner later joined the public attendees as Gharpetian took her new seat on the board, where she thanked Wagner for her years of service, telling her, “once an elected official, you will always be an elected official.”

“This is a new chapter in my life,” Gharpetian added, “And I’m ready to give back to this great community.”

-- Kelly Corrigan,

Follow on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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