Race for La Cañada school board heats up

This post has been corrected. See details below.

With the deadline to file candidacy papers looming, the number of potential and declared candidates vying for a seat on the La Cañada Unified School District board as of Wednesday had grown to seven.

Since last week, two more parents who have children in the district — Tim O' Hair and Kaitzer Puglia — have shown interest in running for one of three open seats on the board. Puglia and three other candidates — Karyn Riel, Dan Jeffries and Kevork Kurdoghlian — have filed their nomination papers for the Nov. 5 election.

Joe Layton, who ran for a seat on the City Council in March, and Warner Bros. executive David Sagal earlier announced their intentions to start campaigns for the election, but as of Wednesday had not yet filed their nomination papers, according to county records. Jeffries and Sagal also have students in district schools.

Current board members Scott Tracy and Susan Boyd have both said that they will not seek another term after years of serving the district, while fellow board member Joel Peterson is undecided about running.

The original deadline to file is Friday, but will be extended to 5 p.m. on Aug. 14 because at least one incumbent is not seeking relection, according to the county registrar’s office.

Puglia, wife of Valley Sun columnist Joe Puglia, said she feels that that she has a strong background as a parent and an educator.

She is a professor at Pasadena City College, where she teaches classes on education and child development. With at least two incumbents deciding not to run for reelection, she said the board needs someone with experience in education.

“I think I have something to offer to the district, the students, the families and the community,” she said.

O'Hair, a film producer and executive, said in an email that he is mulling a campaign. Like Puglia, he emphasized that it is important to keep parents on the board. He has two children entering La Cañada Elementary over the next year, with another at La Cañada High School.

Riel, Kurdoghlian and Layton are all under the age of 30, with no children. Current board member Andrew Blumenfeld, who was elected in 2011, is 22.

“My potential candidacy is fueled by a desire to see adequate board representation of parents (and/or past parents) of students in the district,” said O'Hair. “The schools are a cornerstone of the LCF community, and mature, responsible leadership by the Governing Board is of paramount importance.”

[For the record, Aug. 9, 2013: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information about the filing deadline.]


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.


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