Candidate for GUSD Area A: Shant Kevorkian


Shant Kevorkian is a 20-year-old lifetime Glendale resident who graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 2021. After landing a job as an administrative coordinator for Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center after graduation and attending Cal State Northridge, he said he felt it was time to return to GUSD to help his community. He is a commissioner with the City of Glendale Parks, Recs and Community Services Commission and a community partner for the superintendent’s office at GUSD. As someone who was recently a GUSD student, Kevorkian feels he is uniquely qualified to translate student experiences with curriculum and school services into actionable items for the board. He is the founding member of the GUSD Alumni Association.

Kevorkian believes his experience as a GUSD student uniquely qualifies him for the position. His young age would allow him to connect with students more, providing a direct path and voice for them on the board.

“When we talk about school safety, curriculum and career pathways, the decisions the board makes about topics such as these directly impacted my experience as a student. I want to be able to make those very same decisions for current and future students. Being the only candidate who has attended GUSD schools, I understand how those decisions truly will impact the students. I have a deep understanding of the culture at GUSD, and that’s something no other candidate has. I think that brings a unique and fresh perspective that the board needs in this critical time,” Kevorkian told CV Weekly.

Student and Family Support

For Kevorkian, supporting students means being in tune with the student experience, while also making families aware of what is happening at school. He wants to expand into elementary schools student voice panels and include parents in the conversations.

He said student voice panels and encouragement of collaboration in the classroom are ways for students to feel safe to bring up questions, comments or issues with teachers, staff and administration.

“I want to find ways that students can know that this is an open place for you to feel safe and speak about any concern that they feel impacts their experience at GUSD. If you have a concern or want to introduce a new opportunity for the district, know that there is support, that someone says, ‘Okay, I hear you and let’s see how we can find solutions to these issues.’ Creating a collaborative ecosystem where at times seems difficult is really important. Let’s get the parents involved and have parent-focused panel discussions to continuously address their needs as well,” Kevorkian said.

Kevorkian values input from not just students but parents as well. He stated, “Without the involvement of my parents during times that I wasn’t able to advocate for myself, I wouldn’t be where I am at this young age. It was part of the motivation for me to run for a seat on the board of education.”

College Readiness

He wants to meet students where they are in the classroom and ask them what they think needs improving. What do they want more of and what can they use less of?

“Often, we don’t ask them where we can improve or what can we do to help students the most. I want to talk to the students as well. I want to see how happy they are in these programs, how happy they are at school and what’s next for them. With the ever-changing landscape of college and trade pathways, are we preparing them not only for college but also for career and life?”

Curriculum and Test Scores

On making curriculum transparent to students and parents, Kevorkian believes transparency, parent involvement and inclusivity should not supersede one another.

“Many immigrant parents are genuinely concerned and rightfully so. When I get asked that question, they simply say that those two are not mutually exclusive. I think you can have parent involvement and apparent transparency. At the same time, you can still promote inclusivity, being who you are, being comfortable in the schools, and not being afraid of yourself. And I think those two are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

Kevorkian said that transparency about books and curriculum should take place in all aspects of the board’s actions and schools in the district. He wants students to be aware of changes, too, so they can inform parents.

“When there’s new books in the libraries, the kids still have opportunities for those parents to join the library committees and maybe discuss with the community and with librarians to see which books are age appropriate and in our libraries,” he said.

When it comes to back-to-school and curriculum nights, Kevorkian said parents should be able to collaborate with teachers more and that information about events should be accessible to everyone, even those who don’t speak English. As a former ESL (English as a second language) student whose parental support provided him with the tools to excel, Kevorkian’s plan is to make everything as accessible as possible.

“Parents can collaborate with teachers, go to more parent/teacher conferences and others parents who speak different languages provide information translation and texture conferences so that anybody has the same opportunity with the teacher. They don’t have to speak English.”

Kevorkian said that at the last curriculum meeting he attended, only five people showed up. When a community as large as Glendale with many involved parents only has five people turn out to learn more about curriculum, Kevorkian would want to understand why – is it a language barrier? Is it not enough outreach? He would reach out directly to parents and students, asking them what they want to see from the board, then bring the conversations back to see if there are ways of implementing those ideas.

“There’s no such thing as, ‘I disagree with you.’ There’s always an opportunity,” he said.


Many families, he said, don’t even know there is a school board or what it does. To that end, Kevorkian also believes transparency about what goes on in board meetings is vital. He plans to hold monthly sessions where parents and students can ask questions about board procedures about the budget, how it’s being used, and other matters – engaging with families beyond coffee days or school board meetings.

Teacher Support and Wages

Kevorkian fully supports increasing teacher pay. Without increasing that resource, Kevorkian believes GUSD cannot climb to the number one school because teachers will not have the resources they need.

“To make GUSD number one, the best place to work, learn and grow, and to make sure our students are career and life ready, none of that will happen if out teachers are not paid properly,” he said.

ESL and Special Needs Support

When Kevorkian first enrolled at GUSD schools, the only language he spoke was Armenian. Through support both inside and outside the classroom, Shant told the CV Weekly he was able to get the support he needed to speak English fluently. If elected, he wants to provide the same and better support to other English language learners. He wants to collaborate with the parents of ESL learners to see where resources are best applied.

“We can collaborate with parents who just immigrated to this country and find ways to support the students and supplement them and their education outside the school. And that can include many different things – maybe, you know, sending out some resources to the parents, finding ways that, you know, talking to the parents and providing translation services outside of the home,” he said.

When it comes to special needs, Keorkian plans to speak to parents and teachers about what they need and what the board can do to address their needs. Part of that will be working alongside teachers in the classroom and attending classes to see how education is proceeding on the ground.