I am honored to run for a seat on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board. I grew up in the Sagebrush area of La Cañada Flintridge, and as a longtime resident, I am proud to be an active leader in this community. When it came time for my husband, Marcotte, and I to purchase a home and raise our family, it was an obvious choice to settle in La Cañada Flintridge. I am grateful that our two sons who are in 6th and 7th grades are able to attend LCUSD schools to learn in one of the top districts in the state. As homeowners, we know our collective real estate values benefit from outstanding schools. As parents, we see that an exceptional public school education is invaluable. We are fortunate to have partners who support our students — from local businesses to PTAs, school booster groups, teachers, staff and the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, among many others. I’ve built enduring relationships with stakeholders through years of leadership roles volunteering in our community, including six years on the Educational Foundation’s board. I understand how vital these relationships and organizations are to our schools’ well-being. I am running for school board to protect and advance our community’s culture of educational excellence. I bring empathy, service and innovative thinking to this important policy-making role, and I’ll be a vocal supporter of our kids and our schools. I am distinct from current school board members and the other candidates as the only mom with children attending LCUSD. Being a mom allows me to see and feel the impact of challenges firsthand, a vital perspective as we toggle between virtual and on-campus learning depending on how the pandemic unfolds. As the current PTA President at Palm Crest Elementary School, my top priority is to ensure our students and families stay connected to each other and to the school. I have worked to reimagine programs and coordinated fundraising efforts to offset the impact of budgetary shortfalls for our elementary students. As a parent representative on our district’s reopening committee for grades 7-12 students, I have emphasized the importance of a safe return to in-person learning while simultaneously bolstering students’ social/emotional wellbeing. This passion is why I am proud of my work as a past president of the Educational Foundation, spearheading a campaign to raise funds for LCHS’ Wellness Center. I respectfully ask for your support and your vote Nov. 3 as we move forward, building our future together. Visit my website for more information, carolineforlcusd.com.
As a father of two children at La Cañada Elementary, I am fully invested in the success of our schools and committed to honoring our district’s legacy of educational excellence. My priorities are as follows: 1.) La Cañada Flintridge. I have heard our community derided as a bubble implying insularity, but I see La Cañada Flintridge as a shining beacon. Most of us were drawn here by the high-performing schools. As parents, we share a devotion to our children achieving their maximum potential. Our schools launch kids into the finest colleges and into an array of careers around the globe. Our community builds leaders. It is a beacon, not a bubble. 2.) Future of Education. Technology is our current and future reality. I spent my career in the technology industry, and I am fully qualified (and excited) to leverage these skills to benefit our children and teachers. While no amount of technology replaces an excellent teacher, we are obligated to harness the power of technology to maintain our legacy of educational excellence. 3.) Equity Defined. I grew up in the inner-city of Los Angeles in an ethnically diverse family. I experienced socioeconomic challenges as a minority at underperforming schools. As a result of the perspective my childhood experiences provided, I love and appreciate the diverse and inclusive community built around our schools. However, I also understand and appreciate the importance of equal opportunity versus the false pursuit of equitable outcomes. This is a conversation I invite you to have with me. 4.) Special Education. As a parent of a child with special needs, I will always advocate for ALL students to ensure they are able to reach their full potential in a safe, supportive environment. 5.) Fiscal Accountability. La Cañada Flintridge families are incredibly generous. Year after year, we donate millions of dollars to LCFEF. We have approved parcel taxes and bond measures. In exchange, our community deserves more fiscal accountability and transparency. As an entrepreneurial real estate investor, I am committed to maximizing return-on-investment for our community. For more information, visit arnold4lcusd.com.
The next few years will be full of significant challenges for public schools in La Cañada Flintridge: The immediate health concerns, looming statewide funding shortages and complex ongoing bond projects all weigh heavily on the continuing effort to provide the high-quality education our community expects. As a college professor, parent and longtime district volunteer, I am uniquely positioned to help lead La Cañada’s schools during this unprecedented time. I have established relationships with key stakeholders. With daughters at three LCUSD schools (PCY, 7/8, LCHS), I know the sites well and I have volunteered on numerous district-wide committees. In 2010 I started as a board member of the Educational Foundation where I ultimately served as president. I co-chaired both the parcel tax and bond campaigns and sat on the facilities master planning, bond oversight and school reopening committees. At a time when we need newly elected board members to get right to work, I will be ready on Day 1. I have distance-learning expertise. Beyond serving on the school reopening committee, I am a faculty member at USC. I have spent an enormous amount of time working to understand distance-learning as both an educator and as a parent, and I have developed a full and nuanced view of the challenges ahead. I have comprehensive knowledge of the bond initiative. Although focus these next months will be on the COVID-19 crisis, there are going to be numerous crucial decisions on bond projects. With years of observation and experience, plus a background in design and public policy, I will be prepared to make informed, well-considered decisions. I will approach a role on the governing board with the same focus on consensus building and communication that I have used extensively during my decade of volunteer leadership in the district. I’m ready to listen and learn about the issues that are of most concern to you, and I hope for the opportunity to provide support as we all work to help our children grow. Visit my website epsteinforlcusd.com for more information and to reach out.
I have been an active participant in La Cañada Flintridge school board meetings for more than a decade — longer than any other candidate on the ballot — because I believe that involvement in the policy-making process and oversight of its implementation can make a real difference for our students. It’s important to me that the needs of all learners are met, and I’ve worked with the board to improve policy, accessibility to instructional material, accountability, and teacher feedback to students so more students in our district can succeed — including special education students that I’ve worked hard to represent at board meetings. I’m proud of our district, and also a firm believer that all students should be accorded the respect and support they deserve and that includes examining our policies and work around diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m passionate about parents having a voice in the process that so greatly affects their students and families. I post in parent Facebook groups to share board information with busy families, get parent suggestions and questions for board meetings, and help explain what I’ve learned being present in the board room for almost all of the monthly meetings. On a personal note, I have two boys who attended La Cañada schools, where I volunteered and served as a site council president and survey committee member. Professionally, I work as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I earned my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Berkeley and a master’s in aerospace engineering from Stanford. My work with process and procedures has helped me assist in improving school board policy, and as a board member, I believe my involvement will lead to sound policy, greater accountability, and consistent results in communication, instruction and equity. At the end of the day, students are a product of their education, and our entire community is stronger when the outcomes are improved and needs are met. That’s why I’d like your vote in November. Together we can continue to build upon the rock-solid educational foundation we have here in La Cañada and make our community even stronger. For more information, visit belindarandolphforlacanadaschoolboard.com.
Palm Crest Elementary School staff, students and family received heartbreaking news this week that beloved 3rd-grade teacher Terese Chiames Caire died of complications from the COVID-19 virus on April 28.
Caire taught 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and, most recently, 3rd grade in her 27-year tenure at PCR.
“Mrs. Caire has been a valued member of our LCUSD community for 27 years and has developed many deep and lasting relationships with students, families and colleagues,” La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette wrote in a letter to the LCUSD community. “Mrs. Caire will be missed.”
PCR Principal Cory Pak informed the staff last week and they are “actively preparing to provide support services to help their students, families and each other cope” with the loss, according to Sinnette. Continue reading “Longtime Palm Crest Teacher Dies from COVID-19”
Palm Crest Elementary School was recently named a California Distinguished School but Principal Cory Pak said the distinction is not necessarily his focus.
Pak was the principal of West Creek Academy in Saugus Union School District in 2017 before he came to La Cañada Flintridge. West Creek Academy also received the state distinction. Continue reading “Palm Crest Earns ‘California Distinguished School’ Title Again”