Glendale Unified Engages Local Religious Leaders to Foster Trust, Understanding, and Inclusion in the Community

On July 25, Glendale Unified Board of Education President Jennifer Freemon, Board Member Nayiri Nahabedian and Interim Superintendent Dr. Darneika Watson met with Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church. The leaders met at the request of the Western Diocese to discuss recent issues impacting the district and local community. The board of education plans to continue conversations with religious and community leaders to address disinformation, build trust and find ways to work together to ensure all students and families feel welcome in the community.

“In GUSD, we know that our diversity is our strength and respect that our students, employees and families represent a wide range of religious beliefs, values and political views. We must work together to embrace each other’s differences and ensure our schools continue to be positive, welcoming spaces where every child can learn and thrive,” said GUSD Board President Jennifer Freemon. “We were honored to meet with Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and look forward to further conversations with the Western Diocese and other religious and community partners as we continue this important work.”

“We highly value the constructive dialogue with GUSD. Our ultimate goal is to foster a healthy collaboration between GUSD and parents, ensuring the well-being of our beloved children. Education, being an interdisciplinary process, thrives when administrators, educators, parents and students actively participate and work together,” said Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. “To achieve the most fruitful results, it is of utmost importance that we nurture mutual respect and understanding. As expressed by one of the universal church fathers, we must stand united in essentials, which in this context is our obligation and commitment to our children’s education, while being understanding in non-essentials, and uphold respect for all, including various faith-based traditions.”