Welcoming Voices in School Leadership



As a parent of students within the Laguna Beach school district, I found it troubling that the current incumbent school board members would be surprised by two challengers entering the race (“Surprise Challengers Enter School Race,” Sept. 14 edition).

Jan Vickers notes that the public doesn’t attend their meetings. Maybe she is not aware that parents do read the minutes of the school board’s meetings and also have the ultimate tool of communication right at hand in learning what is going on within our schools: our children telling us!

Bill Landsiedel constantly harped on his concerns of the two candidates, Dee Perry and Tammy Keces, having personal agendas.  How refreshing that Ms. Perry wants to promote a culture of listening to parents concerns and respecting their ingenuity and contributions and that Ms. Keces wants to promote critical thinking in students’ curriculum. If that is their agendas, then my vote goes with them.

This current administration continuously tries to squelch the voices of Laguna’s parents and its students.  For two years a group of qualified and concerned parents have been asking the district to address the school lunch program and have come up with a variety of cost-effective ideas for providing nutritious meals for our kids. Mr. Landsiedel, where are your more nutritious offerings?  The only thing the present school board has done this year regarding school lunches has been to lower the cost of them after raising the cost of them last year.

After a Thurston student published on his own blog a survey of his schoolmates’ views of the food items offered, he was pulled into the principal’s office and told he had to take his findings down. Critical thinking was squashed.

The district’s response to an outdoor classroom and teaching garden that was to be built by private funds was “no new projects”, yet other projects continued like the filtered water fountain at Thurston.

As parents, we are blessed to have a financially healthy district but feel that our schools can be even better and not just constantly falling back on the laurels of higher test scores. We need to develop the “whole person” within each student and not just make them high scoring robots. Our great community has prided itself on innovative and creative thinking. Our schools would benefit greatly if the same were applied to their curriculum and their campuses.

I look forward to having some new perspectives from Dee Perry and Tammy Keces and think the school board would welcome a fresh approach.

Sue Huston, Laguna Beach

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