Burbank School Board Candidates’ Statements

Armond Aghakhanian

Armond Aghakhanian

I am a proud Burbank resident, parent and teacher. My wife and I chose to raise our family in Burbank and give back to our community. There is a reason why we decided to make Burbank our home 13 years ago: because we love our city and believe in its public education system.
I am running for reelection to the Burbank school board because I want to build on the progress we have made in delivering equal opportunities and first-rate educational programs to our students and stakeholders. As president and member of the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education for the past five years, I have dedicated my services to providing safe, healthy and equitable educational opportunities for every student, teacher, staff member and parent. I have a vested interest in making sure our public schools deliver.
Furthermore, I have over 20 years of experience in education, business and public service. My professional and service efforts are focused on serving and strengthening our community.
My priorities:
• COVID-19. California/local public health and educational professionals, not politicians, determine when and how we open schools and keep everyone safe.
• Equity. As co-founder of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I’ll work to ensure our district’s workforce grows in professionalism and diversity.
• Funding. The coronavirus pandemic and economic crises will impact our budget. We must expand health safety while securing equitable educational funding.
• Continue. New programs and career readiness; mental health resources; career technical courses; STEM; lower suspension and absentee rates; maintaining districtwide transparency.
• Climate. Transition district into 100% clean, renewable energy.
Background:
• Teacher. Glendale Community College, East Los Angeles Community College
• Education. Cal State Northridge (B.A.); Woodbury University (MBA); Pepperdine University (doctorate)
I live in Burbank with my wife, Gayane Gasamanyan, a local pharmacist, and our son Arameh, a 3rd-grader at Joaquin Miller Elementary School.
I have been endorsed by the Burbank Teachers Association, BUSD board members Roberta Reynolds and Charlene Tabet, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, Mayor Sharon Springer and many other community leaders.
We are facing challenging and uncertain times. We need leadership with experience. I respectfully ask for your vote.

Go to armondforschoolboard.com or visit  facebook.com/Armondforschoolboard.


Steve Ferguson

Steve Ferguson

My name is Steve Ferguson and I am a proud product of Burbank. For a little over five years it has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve this community and the 15,000 students of Burbank Unified. Utilizing close to 20 years of public service, I have worked hard to build a culture of collaboration, working with our teachers, classified staff, and our parent community to push our schools into the future.
Over the past five years, I have:
• Fought to preserve vocational/career technical education courses, after the county eliminated funding.
• Sponsored and passed the district’s suicide prevention policy, mandating suicide prevention training for all staff, and established annual reporting requirements on student hospitalization statistics to ensure resources can be better focused moving forward.
• Worked with city leaders to have secondary student ID cards double as public library cards, exposing students to municipal library resources and programs, and ensuring they have access to the internet 7-days a week.
• Moved the board meeting start time from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to increase engagement and allow for more working parents to participate in board meetings.
• Established monthly EdWalks to improve board member accessibility, so constituents could engage board members on the Chandler bike path during a morning walk.
If re-elected, I plan to work to:
• Manage a safe return to schools for staff, families and students.
• Attract and retain highly qualified educators and staff to our district.
• Preserve and expand graduation pathways.
• Drive issues of equity.
I am running for re-election because in these uncertain times, we need experienced leaders who will place our children’s health and education first. Our schools are the backbone of Burbank, and I will continue working hard to ensure our schools remain safe and prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. I am proud to be endorsed by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, school board Vice President Steve Frintner, school board Clerk Charlene Tabet, school board member Roberta Reynolds and the Burbank Teachers Association.
For more information email me at SteveFergusonforSchoolBoard@gmail.com or visit my website at SteveFerguson.org.


Roberta Grande Reynolds

Roberta Grande Reynolds

As a lifetime Burbank resident and a graduate of Burbank schools, I have a deep understanding of Burbank’s culture. My time spent at Cal State Northridge earning my bachelor’s degree in chemistry and my time spent at USC earning my doctorate in pharmacy has provided valuable experience in both the public and private education systems. And, as a parent, aunt and grandparent of past, present and future Burbank students, I have a passionate commitment to the highest standards of academic excellence, safety and inclusion for all of our students.
During the years that I have served on the board of education, our district has continued to experience strong academic growth and opportunities for all students through the development of strategic master plans in the areas of special education, social and emotional wellness and Arts for All. We have developed and maintained strong community partnerships which have allowed us to sustain our commitment to the arts, sports and career technical education while developing strong supports for the social/emotional health of our students, despite the constantly challenging and changing economic environment facing the state of California. Through these partnerships we must continue to move forward.
As California is once again facing a fiscal crisis, we face new challenges in maintaining academic excellence while navigating a pandemic. We need to ensure that our students academically thrive within an environment that is safe for all students, both physically and emotionally. Right now, more than ever, experience counts.
With more than 30 years of hospital pharmacy management and front-line patient care experience, a multitude of leadership positions in parent volunteer organizations, and a decade of experience in board governance with three terms as president, I am uniquely qualified to face these challenges. As we navigate the transition back to the classroom, it is important that we focus on health, science and data to keep our students and staff safe. If I am re-elected, I am prepared to dedicate the use of my time, talent and resources for the benefit of our students.


Emily Weisberg

Emily Weisberg

School is my favorite place to be. I loved being a student, and I love being a teacher, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. I want to make our schools a place where students, teachers, staff and families feel they belong, and are provided the resources and support they need.
For over 20 years, I’ve worked as a teacher, facilitator and curriculum designer with a specific focus on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. I hold a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California, with a focus in educational psychology.
I currently serve as a member of the Burbank Board of Library Trustees and am honored to be current board chair.
Burbank Unified is one of the best school districts in the state. But we’re at a critical moment. The district needs an advocate with experience, an educator who will fight for students, and those working to help our students, to gain access to the opportunities, resources and care they need and deserve.
If elected, I will be the only K-12 teacher serving on the school board. The experience I’ve gained in the classroom, working with administration, parents, community members and staff, provides me with a deep understanding of the complexities of public education.
Since deciding to run for school board, I’ve spent the last year meeting with parents, teachers, students and classified staff to better understand what people want, and need, from the district and the board. In these conversations, one of the things that have come up repeatedly is the desire for more open, consistent and transparent communication between the district and the community it serves. Whether the parent of a child not yet school-ready, or a teacher unsure of their job in light of budget cuts, people need to know someone is listening.
We all need a school board that is equitable, proactive and available to all our community, at all times. We need leadership. I hope to be that leader for our schools.

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