The race: Five-member board with seats available for Area No. 3 and 4. The Saugus Unified School District has 15 kindergarten through sixth-grade schools, three of which are in the No. 4 area: Emblem Academy, Plum Canyon and Rosedell Elementary.
- Sage Rafferty is an Army veteran who was deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan. After leaving the Army, he moved with his wife Meghan and child to Santa Clarita where they’ve lived for five years. One of Rafferty’s passions is to fight to ensure all 15 SUSD campuses as well as our Digital Learning Academy achieve and provide equity in education for all students, according to his website.
- Matthew Watson, 48, is a resident of the district for 40 years. The son of an LAPD Detective and baking mother for 50 years, Watson’s sense of community has been engrained in him since a child. He’s a product of the same district he looks to serve, attending Santa Clarita Elementary and Saugus High. After years of experience in education as a teacher and educator, this is Watson’s first time running for board of education. “When Experience Counts” is his campaign slogan.
Matthew Watson has experience turning a school around, and hopes to bring that achievement to the district.
“I was part of the turn-around team that took Sun Valley Middle School from a failing site identified for potential state closure to a model middle school, where then First Lady Laura Bush visited and co-taught a lesson with me,” Watson said. “I have the creativity and experience that it takes to help schools compete.”
Education is challenged with unprecedented times with the ongoing pandemic, which Watson believes cuts both ways, exposing the bad, but also creating opportunities.
“Education in the U.S., and especially California, has long needed an overhaul, and this pandemic has only exposed our struggle to shift,” said Watson. “However, the pandemic is also providing us with an opportunity to seize the innovations that will help us move forward. This is the perfect time for me to step in and serve the community that I grew up in.”
Sage Rafferty will certainly garner votes with his passion to get teachers paid more. He points out on his campaign website that SUSD is one of the lowest funded districts in Los Angeles County.
“Washington and Sacramento need to fully fund education so kids can get the education they deserve while paying our teachers and staff the salaries they deserve,” Rafferty’s website reads.The topic of students returning to campus is a hot one. Rafferty is laser focused on the safety of students and teachers, and not just from the spread of the coronavirus, but from the potential danger of school shootings, which shook the community last November when a student open fired with a gun on the Saugus High campus, resulting in three deaths.
“We must ensure that all students, teachers, and staff are kept safe from external dangers such as school shootings, internal dangers such as bullying, and environmental dangers such as toxins from COVID-19,” says Rafferty.
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