School Board Candidate Touts Education Experience

Jane Chon
Jane Chon

Jane Chon said she aims to make the best use of her background in education policy if she is elected to the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education in November. A resident of San Marino for a decade, Chon said having twin sons at San Marino High School, a daughter at Huntington Middle School and a preschooler at a private school has given her a wide-ranging perspective on education here and feels she can contribute better because of it.
“If you look at all of my children, you’ll see that they are all in different stages of their lives and they’re very different people,” she said in a recent phone interview. “There’s a very big range of experiences within our own schools, and I think that’s a very small example of what’s going on in our school district.
“I picked [San Marino] because of the schools first, to narrow it down, but my ultimate decision landed on San Marino because of the community,” Chon added. “I knew coming in that this was a community in which everyone put in their effort to make it a strong community. That was really important to me.”
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Chon studied political science and sociology for her bachelor’s degree at UCLA before earning her master’s degree in policy analysis and evaluation from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. After teaching for a year at Madison Middle School in North Hollywood, Chon relocated to Truman State University in Missouri to be a graduate admissions counselor.
Chon also worked for a New Jersey policy nonprofit called Education Resources Group before she ultimately landed in San Marino with her husband, an emergency room physician, and began spending her time volunteering with school and parent groups. The age gap for their children has meant different experiences for the parents with each one.
“Education has changed a lot since the oldest were in elementary school,” she said. “My boys were pre-Common Core era. My daughter was right in the middle of it when it started rolling out. My youngest will be right in the middle of it when it’s completely rolled out. Looking at all of that, it really made me want to be thoughtful about what our school district’s vision for the future will be.” Common Core details what students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the finish of each grade.
Chon said there were three main issues she’d like to “tackle out of the gate” if elected: rebuilding the district’s trust with the community, justifying the renewal of the Measure R parcel tax and hiring a quality superintendent. Alex Cherniss, the current superintendent, is leaving to become a superintendent elsewhere.
“I think there’s been a lot of uncertainty in the last year about the district’s practices, its finances and its priorities,” she said. “I think the work of the school board that takes office in December will really need to consider how to adjust that. I think there needs to be some changes in how they communicate with the community. I think sometimes decisions are made and we don’t know how they got there.”

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