In their own words, La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board candidates Joe Radabaugh, Joshua Gottheim, Kaitzer Puglia, Dan Jeffries and Christopher Salvo describe why they deserve your vote. Three candidates will be elected when voters cast their ballots on Nov. 7.
My wife and I have three children currently attending La Cañada Unified School District. Our son Gabriel is in the 8th grade at La Cañada High School, while our twins Luisa and Daniel are La Cañada Elementary 2nd graders.
My parents and grandparents were schoolteachers. I grew up in a family that valued books, ideas and the arts, and I was able to attend Yale College and earn my law degree at Berkeley. My law practice has focused on local government and land use, serving clients including several Southern California cities and the largest community college district in the nation.
I know that high expectations combined with patience and love can not only make learning fun but produce great results. My son won the county spelling bee and numerous math and science awards, but each one of our 4,000 students in the district has unique gifts that should be nurtured in a supportive school environment.
My priorities for our schools:
• Aim for high academic achievement. Aim high for excellence in all our students, while supporting learners of all abilities and promoting school-life balance and character development.
• Technology in the classroom. Use online learning to provide differentiated instruction, while freeing up teachers to provide more one-on-one attention to those who need it.
• Update our facilities. The Measure LCF bond issue will improve our campuses without an increase in tax rates. My years of experience as special counsel for the L.A. Community College District’s multibillion dollar bond program will help us avoid costly mistakes, delays and disruption.
As your representative on the school board, I will not only bring my years of experience as special counsel for the L.A. Community College District’s multibillion dollar bond program to the job, but I will also always remember that, with great teachers, every student has the ability to grow and flourish in their own way.
Let’s keep our schools great!
I am currently the president of the LCUSD Governing Board. I have been honored to give back to our wonderful community as a school board member since 2013, and I am seeking re-election to continue to serve you. I am a prosecutor with 32 years of experience, including providing legal advice to the city of Los Angeles. I have met many wonderful families in La Cañada as an AYSO coach, referee and safety director for over 20 years.
My wife Andrea and I have two children attending PCY, a son at LCHS and two daughters who successfully completed college. Our family has a vested interest in our schools, as do all La Cañada residents. I have proven my dedication to our schools and community over the past four years and I will use my past success to keep pushing LCUSD and our community to new heights.
My key accomplishments include:
• Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan. Leading the board’s review of the district’s facilities and infrastructure to provide efficient allocation of resources over the short and long term.
• Focused technology upgrades. Leading our efforts to install our chief technology officer and working with her to make infrastructure upgrades and to enable fast WiFi, 1:1 Chromebooks and modern computer technology in the classroom.
• Stanford University Challenge Success. Leading the board’s investigation of a later start time for teens and working to modify the bell schedule to address stakeholder concerns.
• Teacher motivation and morale. Successfully working through challenging salary negotiations, while strengthening the mutually respectful relationship between the Governing Board and the La Cañada Teachers Association; maintaining this relationship is one of my top priorities as it benefits the district and community.
• Security and emergency response. Working alongside district staff, in conjunction with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, to update the security and emergency preparedness plans for each of the district locations.
Please contact me though my website, dan4lacanadaschools.org.
As a parent and an active member of this community, I am interested in the future of every child, because the education they receive today is an investment in their future success and happiness. I foresee the next few years at the district as a time of continued growth in the areas of content standards, school funding, facilities updates, and the focus of continued well-being of all our community members-students, teachers, administrators and parents. I am the candidate who will be consistent, strategic and informed as an advocate for children, the school district and our community.
My commitment to LCUSD began with the enrollment of my two daughters in kindergarten, who are recent graduates and now successful college students. I have been an active volunteer with the PTA and the schools, including room parent and PTA president at the elementary school, library volunteer at the middle school, cheer squad parent, music and choir volunteer and a site council representative at the high school. I am an active member of various philanthropic and service organizations in our community.
My greatest contribution to this community as a member of the board has been and will continue to be my experience and my knowledge of the educational system. My experience is relevant to our needs. I have more than 29 years of experience having served as a teacher in the classroom at different levels, an administrator of a school and an advisory member of several committees at the local, state and federal level on issues ranging from curriculum to content standards. I am a professor in the field of education at Pasadena City College, where I have been for 20 years. I hold advanced degrees in development and student learning. I have also participated as a member and president of various local nonprofit governing boards.
Above all else, I am a parent and community member who wants the best public education for our children and to guide a successful, productive and top performing school district as it achieves success for its students. I bring a fair and calm perspective to decision making, I have a hard work ethic and a strong capacity to reason, and will always maintain a sense of integrity as a member of the LCUSD School Board.
Like you, I care deeply about the future of our kids and community. Our high-performing schools historically attract great families, which has a direct impact on the quality and safety of our community.
Preserving our success requires a school board that ensures the district plans for the future, seeks and considers a broad range of community input, navigates unforeseen issues and continuously improves where advancements are necessary.
I have the right blend of community perspective, service mindset, leadership skills and time to be an effective board member.
Community perspective: My wife and I have been residents for more than 10 years. As 6th and 4th grade parents, we fully appreciate the critical role our schools play within our beloved community.
Service mindset: I am passionate about helping our community and serve in range of community roles including: LCF Educational Foundation board member, LC Baseball/Softball Association board member and coach, Cub Scout leader, Measure LCF Committee member and more.
Leadership skills: I have 27 years of successful leadership experience and proven results at a Fortune 100 global company. This has equipped me with a range of applicable skills such as strategic planning, budget management, negotiating, hiring/retaining talent, project management and more.
Time: I recently retired early and can dedicate the time this critical position requires for success. I commit to being highly engaged, visible and accessible.
• Put our “students first”
• Hire, retain and enable the best teachers and administration we can
• Strengthen collaboration between the district, teachers and community overall
• Be a strong advocate for athletics and the arts
• Focus on the overall well-being and safety of our students
• Fight for fair budgets with Sacramento and improve our budgeting processes
• Effectively prioritize and oversee implementation of capital projects (Measure LCF)
If elected, my commitment is to work very hard to “Preserve and Advance the La Cañada difference.”
I am running for school board because I want our schools to be outstanding. I have spoken to many fellow parents and residents in the community and many members of district staff. We all care deeply and are admirably committed to our schools, but effort alone, no matter how well intentioned, is not enough. Like all great organizations, La Cañada will not stay great simply because it has been great. Without self-scrutiny and due diligence in decision-making, La Cañada’s schools are vulnerable to complacency.
We can overcome the pitfalls of complacency if we challenge ourselves to be outstanding. La Cañada should not depend on its reputation, but work to surpass it. When we make decisions, we must ask ourselves, “What are the desired positive outcomes, what are the likely negative outcomes and what are the risks and possible unintended consequences?” There are lessons we can learn from our own past and from the experiences of others. We must be proactive and consider such lessons in our decision-making process, but we often are not.
My goal as a board member is to bring opportunities to our schools to give our students an outstanding foundational education in all academic subjects. We must also stimulate our students with the arts, sports and other pursuits. Most importantly, we must recognize that children learn at different rates and need instruction that addresses that reality.
In my career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I have managed large and diverse teams and multimillion dollar projects for nearly three decades utilizing the best and brightest new recruits. I see firsthand that an outstanding education produces graduates ready for highly collaborative, challenging careers. La Cañada can more effectively produce such graduates if it makes smarter decisions. Every day, I exercise decision-making that is thorough and objective, with self-scrutiny and transparency. My teams get great results and I can help produce great results for this district as well. Read more and get involved at Salvo4LCUSD.org.