It’s hard to believe it was only five months ago that I took note of this most recent La Cañada school board election. The admiration I had for her helped me contain my frustration at losing board member Cindy Wilcox, who decided not to run for reelection. Wilcox had decided it was time for the community to re-imagine its expectations of the board, and felt one way to contribute to this was to introduce new faces.
As a recent student in our district, and as a student of the national education reform movement, I was confident there were important conversations yet to be had in La Cañada. But as we approached the filing deadline for candidates, we faced the possibility of a canceled election: Two individuals were seeking two open spots.
So I filed.
I sought to give La Cañada access to the powerful and transformative experience that a meaningful campaign could represent for a community. On election night, I felt that this had been successful, regardless of the electoral outcome. But after a roller-coaster vote count, the county this week certified results that put me on the school board.
I ran on the premise that our board could be most effective if members campaigned for students the same way they campaigned for themselves when running for office. I will serve by this philosophy.
To this end, I launched an Education Action Campaign in the hope that it would be a tool for bringing about policy-level changes in our district.
With this campaign, the conversation began; with this EAC, I intend to make sure it doesn’t stop, and that it turns into action.
I need your help.
I am taking this opportunity to ask that you join me in refocusing the service of our schools back to students and families. I ask that you join me in demanding a recommitment to exploring areas that need improvement. We know it serves no one to pretend these needs do not exist.
You can get involved in this effort by signing up for EAC newsletters on my website, www.ajblumenfeld.com. This will be the primary mechanism by which we rally around the important issues the board is taking up, or not taking up, as the case may be. This list will inform and mobilize. We are a community far too committed to education to lack effective organization around education policy.
In the coming months and years, we need to host events, mail out fliers, write letters to the editor, and otherwise endeavor to extend the impact of our voices beyond any one election.
I strive to be accessible. Please put my phone number — (818) 970-0129 — in your phone. Find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter (@AndrewJasonB), and jot down my email address, email@example.com. It is through these means, among others, that I will publicize drop-by opportunities to come and chat.
I want to alert you of one now: Please join me for appetizers at Dish on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. I would also like to invite La Cañada Unified students and parents, in particular, to chat over pizza at a private residence immediately following, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Please send me your RSVP for more details.
I began by mentioning outgoing board member Cindy Wilcox, but I wish to conclude by noting my gratitude for the many years of service of another outgoing member: Jeanne Broberg. I wish her the best going forward, and am certain we will continue to partner in our shared goals of serving our community.
Thank you to all who have participated in this journey. But hang on tight — it is only the beginning. I am honored and humbled by my new role, but as passionate and ready as ever. This is an exciting time for education around the country and I know it can be an equally exciting time for education here in La Cañada.
ANDREW BLUMENFELD was elected this month to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board and will be seated in December. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.