LCUSD Board Candidate Puglia Extols Education Experience for Board Term

Kaitzer Puglia
Kaitzer Puglia

For a small district, La Cañada Unified has a lot going on. And Governing Board candidate Kaitzer Puglia, a professor of child development and education, said she savors every aspect of it.
Puglia is running for her second four-year term to retain her place on the LCUSD Governing Board; she is among five candidates for three seats in the Nov. 7 election.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Hey, Kaitzer, how do you like being on the board?’” said Puglia, a Pasadena City College professor and the mother of two recent La Cañada High School graduates. “I tell them, ‘I love being on the board!’ It sounds corny, but I love it.
“I understand the system, I get that some things are to be discussed at a theoretical level and I know what it looks like in the classroom. I see the system, and how it goes from policy to discussion at the supervisory district level to what it’s going to look like in the classroom, where it ultimately impacts our students and our families.”
For Puglia, who currently is the board’s vice president, a second term would present an opportunity to continue the work she and her colleagues have been doing the past four years.
That includes the district’s work on the Facilities Master Plan, the result of a yearlong effort that gathered insight from multiple stakeholder groups to develop a plan for updating the district’s aging campuses.
“I’m very proud of the process we went through to prioritize projects,” Puglia said. “It included a lot of feedback from various groups, and I think [the plans are] imperative.”
In addition to casting votes for Governing Board candidates next month, LCF voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on Measure LCF, the proposed $149-million bond that the district would use to make the campus improvements identified in the Facilities Master Plan.
That work would range from technological infrastructure upgrades to the implementation of sewers at Palm Crest Elementary School.
“It’s important because the funding we get [from the state] does not include facility updates,” said Puglia, also a past PTA president at La Cañada Elementary School.
“There’s no money in the [Local Control Accountability Plan] structure for any time of facility investment, and our schools are getting older, our buildings are getting older.”
In the past four years, Puglia has spent a lot of time at those schools; her favorite part of life as a Governing Board member are the site visits, reading to 2nd-graders, saying hello to office staffers, talking to parents.
“That’s not something that’s really talked about on a big level, but for me, I really like getting to see what goes on in the classroom, having an opportunity to listen and dialogue with the teachers,” she said.
In addition to her current college teaching position, Puglia has previously has taught elementary school classes and served as a school administrator.
“I understand when a teacher says something, what it means,” she said. “And when an administrator says something, I get it.”
She said she’s proud of what was accomplished during a tough negotiation between the district and the teacher’s union in 2015, when it took more than 90 hours and some contentious public debate to reach a deal.
“I’m very proud of being able to meander through the difficulty of that negotiation we went through and that we came out still believing in each other,” Puglia said. “The reality of the world is that there’s going to be conflict and different perspectives, but at the end of the day, we came back together.”

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