Laura (wife), Solomon 20, Jax 18, Reese 14
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
BA (USC 1990), MPW (USC 1992), Teaching Credential (CSULA)
Property Management and Construction (14 Years), Public School Teacher (10 years)
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office:
BHUSD Governing Board Member
The single most pressing issue facing Beverly Hills is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it:
Transforming education. Our schools need a pedagogical shift. I would like to make critical thinking and project based learning the norm. These teaching methods are occasionally utilized but it is not common practice. Traditional education is steeped in over 150 years of rote learning and memorization that served the industrial age of this country. We are well beyond that as a nation and should be well beyond that as a school district. If re-elected I would like to recommend that the district convene a committee to help reform education. This committee should consist of teachers, administrators and qualified community stakeholders and grow from the ground up, not from the top down. Their task would be to transition our schools from the current ways of teaching to 21st Century critical-thinking learning environments. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that traditional schooling can be brought to task and that change is definitely in the air.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
Experience. I have been a teacher, a contractor and I am now a governing board member. There is no substitute for this kind of background. As a former teacher I understand the district from many angles. I have a strong grasp on what teacher’s are going through, especially during this critical time in history. As a contractor I have applied my skill set in providing practical guidance through our multi-million dollar bond construction program. I also currently serve on the facility sub-committee attending weekly meetings and reporting to the board as well as the community at large. And finally as a current board member I know what it takes to make informed decisions and build consensus.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform:
I see to the successful completion of our construction bond programs. If we build it, they will come. I also would like to make sure that, following the pandemic, the right mental health and physical safety components are in place for students and staff to return to a rigorous learning environment with the proper state of mind. The happier teachers and students are, the better they learn.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I helped introduced programs such as STEM and financial literacy as well as expanding Honors and AP opportunities. We completed one major school renovation and are well on the way to finishing up improvement projects at Beverly Vista and major construction at the High School. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment was the reorganization of the district into a single middle school with two elementary schools. This was a two year process that culminated with the first Beverly Vista Middle School class graduating (virtually) this past June.
Why should voters trust you?
I have tirelessly served this community and its schools for nine years. I have a proven track record of implementing successful programs, balancing the budget and fostering cohesiveness in our school community.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
I would like to see our schools once again be among the best in the nation. This will take a shift in instructional practices to project-based learning and critical thinking as well as ensuring that our students master the skills needed to do both.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the handling of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
The school board provides oversight in all areas of the budget, most of which are used for staffing and currently construction, with the occasional legal expenses. As a Basic Aid district we need to maintain a healthy reserve fund, which I helped create, but otherwise money should be spent on student achievement and programming to enhance the student experience.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?
The best advice ever shared with me was:
A 3-2 vote on major issues is never a good a thing. It tends to keep boards and communities divided. Governing bodies need to work toward consensus. That doesn’t mean rubber-stamping everything. It means finding ways to build support on the major issues at hand.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I have never felt more passionate about education and student success than I do at this moment. Our nation is at a crossroads and it will take well-educated, critical thinkers to move us to a more united society.