By Maddy PUMILIA
Two and a half years ago, AJ Blumenfeld graduated La Cañada High School and went to Princeton – now he’s looking to improve his alma mater’s school district by running for school board.
At Princeton, Blumenfeld studied educational reform and co-founded Students for Education Reform. By spring, Students for Education Reform will have a presence on 100 different campuses.
“I think what makes me most uniquely qualified for the school board of La Cañada is my experience in educational policy coupled with my experience as a recent student,” Blumenfeld said.
Blumenfeld has three top priorities. The first thing he’d do is vote to make the superintendent’s goals public.
“We, as the public who pay for these schools and send our kids to these schools, actually have no idea of the direction the goals of the schools are,” explained Blumenfeld about the current situation. “I think the community deserves to know what those goals are.”
The second thing Blumenfeld wants to do is prioritize teacher quality. He would do that by putting an administrator in the classroom to evaluate teachers more frequently.
Finally, he would give customer satisfaction surveys to parents and students.
Blumenfeld will continue attending Princeton, but as he explains, he won’t be away from La Cañada for very long.
“From the day I would be sworn in to the day I would graduate from Princeton actually would only coincide about 13 months and this is a four year term,” Blumenfeld said. “The majority of those months, about eight or nine of them, Princeton has given me a week or more off from school and I will be back in town for 100% of the time. My intention is to be in town for every single board meeting and then some.”
To learn more, visit his website at www.ajblumenfeld.com.
Blumenfeld faces incumbent Jeanne Broberg, technologist Ernest John Koeppen and volunteer Ellen Multari.
During the past four years in La Cañada, Multari has been actively involved in the community and now she’s looking for a new position: a spot on La Cañada’s school board.
“I am running for school board because I feel, over the course of my life as a school parent, I have amassed a skill set that provides me the ability to add value as a school board member right away,” Multari said.
She has been involved with the Palm Crest Council, La Cañada Unified School District Bond Oversight Committee and LCHS School Site Council. She has also held the positions of Palm Crest PTA financial secretary, La Cañada High School 7/8 PTA spring home tour publicity chair and auditor, La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation director, 2011 LCFEF Gala publicity chair, and LCUSD Task Force 7/8 site leader.
“I have a great knowledge base of what’s working in the La Cañada school system currently and what’s not working,” Multari added. “I have contacts throughout the community who have shared with me some of their current grievances as well as some of their current success stories. And I’ve got great working relationships with the personnel at each of the sites as well as the district office.”
She is running on the platform of creating greater teacher and board accountability, providing financial clarity at the board and district level, finding funds for things like reducing class sizes, having communication of board activity and providing community input on policy changes.
“I think communication has been one of our biggest shortfalls,” Multari said. “I think we should be more proactive at soliciting community input when we know we’re dealing with something that has ramifications.”
For more, visit her website: http://www.ellenmultari.com/.
The election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Residents who need to know their polling place can look on the back cover of the sample ballot mailed to them or go to www.lavote.net or call (800) 815-2666 or (562) 466-1323.