Radabaugh Vows to Preserve, Advance ‘La Cañada Difference’

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Joe Radabaugh
Joe Radabaugh

With a father in the military, Joe Radabaugh moved around a lot as a kid. Now, he said he wants nothing more than for his own children, a 4th-grader and 6th-graders at Paradise Canyon Elementary, to grow up in one city — and in a single school district.
Radabaugh is in the midst of his first campaign for the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, one of five candidates for three seats in the Nov. 7 election. Those elected will serve four-year terms.
A recently retired former division vice president at Nestle, Radabaugh wants to help steer his children’s district, to, as he says, “preserve and advance the La Cañada difference.”
Radabaugh has lived in LCF for 10 years, during which time his involvement has included serving as a Cub Scouts co-Den leader, a coach and official with the La Cañada Baseball Softball Association and a member of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors.
“The perspective that you get from that is you start to reach across so many families and the district and the different schools, even the private schools, and you really get connected to people,” he said.
Radabaugh’s work with LCFEF served to educate him most about LCUSD, he said.
“It’s a really great training ground,” he said. “You get the monthly interaction with [Superintendent] Wendy Sinnette, with board members, with other key issues. You see what they wrestle with when it comes to implementing core curriculum; you see the behind-the-scenes discussion on Sagebrush, see when it comes around for teacher negotiations. I’ve gotten a deeper level of understanding than the average citizen.”
Radabaugh also has taken a leadership role in advocating for Measure LCF, the proposed $149 million bond measure that will be used to fund campus improvements by replacing expiring bond payments with a new set that would extend but not increase the current tax rate for 30 years.
“The needs are over $250 million,” said Radabaugh, citing the analysis in the recently completed Facilities Master Plan. “But we know that we have to be mindful of putting too much of a burden on the citizens.”
Radabaugh, who is a member on the Bond Committee, said he’d like to be on the Governing Board to oversee its implementation, if voters pass it during the Nov. 7 election. He said his corporate work experience will contribute to discussions about prioritization and execution.
“I’ve managed a lot of vendors, I know how to do proposals, and if this bond passes, we’re going to be [doing] a lot of projects at the same time,” he said. “If you’re building something over at the elementary school, there’s going to be disruption for a few months, so you have to have a really strong plan, not just the project but with what I call the soft stuff, which is often the hard stuff.”
His corporate experiences also have given him a keen appreciation for “student-life balance,” the young person’s equivalent of “work-life balance,” he said.
“We can’t just be thinking about IQ, we also have to think about EQ,” he said. “That’s one of my No. 1 priorities, the overall well-being or our students. The only metric shouldn’t be what school you get into or how well you do on the test, but are [students] ready for adulthood? Are they emotionally and behaviorally well-balanced?”

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