Glendale School Board Candidates Discuss Education Policy, Budget, Priorities in Candidate Forum

correction in bold



Glendale Unified School District board of education hopefuls addressed the public at a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women’s Voters and the Glendale PTA on Feb. 7.

Three candidates are vying for one seat in trustee area A. They are Jordan Henry, a father and landscape architect; Telly Tse, special education teacher, soccer coach and former California Teachers Association (CTA) and National Education Association board member; Shant Kevorkian, recently graduated GUSD student chair of the GUSD Alumni Association, commissioner for Parks, Recs, and Community Services at the City of Glendale and current administrative coordinator for Kaiser Permanente.

Jordan Henry


Telly Tse


Shant Kevorkian

Two candidates are vying for one seat in trustee area E. They are Neda Farid, past president of the Glendale Council PTA and GUSD parent; and Aneta Krpekyan, GUSD parent of two.

Neda Farid


Aneta Krpekyan

All 11 questions posed at the forum to all candidates were based on questions submitted by the public.

None of the candidates viewed their current positions as a conflict of interest.

When asked how they would maintain board priorities to maximize student achievement, foster a positive culture of learning, ensure the health and safety of students and employees and maintain district financial responsibility, candidates agreed that maintaining priorities of learning, health and safety of students and ensuring the district has means to obtain those goals is a must; however, candidates disagreed on how they would continue those standards.

Telly Tse said that, in line with his platform, prioritizing mental health and social achievement is as important as encouraging high academic achievement among students.

“And in order to feel safe, they have to have educators [who] support them and they have to have a community and administrators and leaders [who] see them for who they are and support them for who they are,” he said.

Jordan Henry disagreed, saying that while mental and social health is important, academics should be prioritized before other aspects of schooling. He expressed concerns over dropping test scores and low funding of gifted programs for high-achieving students.

“Maximizing student achievement requires a total commitment to academic excellence. There are [many] parents in this district who do not feel like they can trust the district. I will represent those parents and make sure that lines of communication are completely open. Mental health is very important; however, it cannot come at the expense of academic achievement and preparing students for the technical knowledge that they need for the 21st century,” he said.

Aneta Krpekyan said she would change the way the school budgets and prioritizes the resources given to teachers and students.

“Education and academic excellence is one of my top priorities because after the pandemic many students fell behind drastically, and they need to be given the proper resources in the classrooms in order to have a chance to catch up on the massive education loss that they have experienced. In order to do so, we need to make sure that our classrooms are well resourced. Teachers shouldn’t rely on parents to be donating supplies,” she said.

Farid said her platform and experience as a parent and PTA leader prepares her to handle both the social-emotional health and the high academic achievement of students.

“The very best way to support students is to ensure that our schools are fully funded, special education is fully funded, that our students have access to mental health services as needed,” she said adding she also thought the wide availability of an arts education was a “great equalizer” in education and she would strive to provide more of that for students.

She agreed with other candidates that teachers should be able to afford to live where they work and be able to provide their students with adequate resources and themselves with the necessities to teach effectively.

All candidates agreed it is the responsibility of the district to budget for more resources and adequate wages for teachers.

On district collaboration with students, parents and teachers, candidates agreed additional transparency is needed and that the support of parents is vital to a child’s education.

Shant Kevorkian said he fully supports leveling the playing field for all regardless of race, gender, religion or socioeconomic status, and also understands that he would not have succeeded in GUSD without the support of his parents.

“I also want to add that without the advocacy of my parents in times [when] I wasn’t able to advocate for myself, it was them I went to,” he said. Kevorkian said he would ensure parent voice panels were instituted, along with curriculum nights and strengthening student voice panels, so everyone in the district had their concerns heard. He emphasized the necessity of translating into multiple languages information coming from the district so parents whose first language is not English can still participate and advocate for their students.

Krpekyan and Henry stated that parents whose religious or personal values do not align with curriculum or social learning should be allowed to exempt their child from those activities and receive transparency about what is going on in their child’s classroom.

Kevorkian agreed board members should spend more time attending classes and sitting with teachers, parents and students to see what their needs are.

In regard to increasing student safety and preventing cyber attacks, it was agreed the district needs to collaborate with other schools and outside security or data companies to see what can be done to prevent further information breaches.

During closing statements, candidate Jordan Henry referenced a recent article in the Beverly Hills Weekly about a CTA audit of the Beverly Hills Education Association alleging Telly Tse was involved in the misappropriation of $7,418 in union funds. Tse responded to Henry’s comments to say the allegations are false. The Crescenta Valley Weekly is looking into this matter.

More information about the GUSD board of education and the candidate forum can be found on the GUSD website. Archive footage of the event can be found at the Glendale Council PTA YouTube channel.