I'm honored to run for re-election as Vista Unified School District Trustee. It's been a dynamic four years and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about the gains we've made as well as the work we still have ahead of us. Where some see challenges, I see opportunities. I've been a lifelong public servant, working for the betterment of my country and community. I began my public service as a U.S. Marine and decided that I wanted to become an elementary school teacher. After teaching for 18 years, I decided to run for school board trustee. I was elected in 2018 to serve as a school board member. While I am proud of my body of work, especially being recognized as the First Term School Board Trustee of the Year in our county while governing and teaching full-time during the pandemic, I know I can do more!
When I was elected in 2018, I had several priorities:
Close the opportunity gap for underserved students.
Increase the number of students attending college, trade school or university.
Work collaboratively with community partners to strengthen Early Childhood and Preschool programs for students
To expand the Dual Immersion Programs to more schools within the district.
In many ways, these goals intersect with one another. As such, the work that I have led, initiated, or engaged with helps address these opportunity gaps.
Collaborated with school districts statewide to build knowledge and capacity in the area of educational equity.
In 2019 myself and VUSD President Vargas participated in a year long Equity Cohort offered through the California School Boards Association. After completion I requested that our entire board participate in Equity Workshops facilitated by experts who work with governing boards. We are now well into our second year of equity workshops and are ever improving the way we serve our students, parents, staff, and community.
2. Initiated an equity audit from an outside auditor to help address potential blind spots in delivering greater equity to all students.
The plain truth is that we have much work still to do. One of the audit’s findings stated that “student outcomes are mostly correlated to student demographics and that the district was ambivalent on what constitutes success for VUSD graduates.” We are currently using these findings to improve our systems and practices.
3. Negotiated an agreement with the SD County Building Trades Council to bring apprenticeship opportunities to future and former VUSD graduates. Apprenticeships that lead to secure, well-paying jobs that jumpstart their futures.
I focused on ways to increase the number of VUSD students attending post-secondary education Including trade schools, community college and university. These programs will provide VUSD graduates with a pathway for a successful career without acquiring crushing debt in the process.
4. Strengthened Early Childhood and Preschool programs by working collaboratively with community partners.
Working in tandem with Educational Enrichment Systems (EES), a local nonprofit, the district has increased our capacity for preschool and childcare. Since 2018, we have expanded access to preschool and childcare at 13 Vista Unified sites. By partnering with EES, Vista Unified is proactively working to prevent opportunity gaps before they begin.
5. Expanded Dual Immersion Programs to more schools within the VUSD family.
Our current board members are renewing previous efforts to grow these programs at sites including Grapevine, Alamosa, and Hannalei elementary schools. Since being elected I have advocated for the expansion of the dual immersion programs at schools in the heart of Vista where we have the highest percentage of students living in poverty, second language learners and students with special needs. I believe that bilingualism, biculturalism, and biliteracy should be accessible to all of our scholars.
I am proud of my work as a trustee, but there is more work to do. Closing opportunity gaps and eliminating inequities that have existed for decades in our public schools won’t happen overnight. In order for VUSD to have long term positive outcomes for our students, we need to retain board members such as myself who will continue this arduous work. With your help, I will be re-elected in 2022. I will continue to work diligently to engender solutions which provide Vista Unified students with the high-quality education that they deserve. I am running for re-election for Vista School Board Area 3 and I would be honored to earn your vote!