Letter: Next Time

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Letter to the Editor

As the presumptive runner up (along with Tom Larmore) for the appointment to the open Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education seat, I want to extend my congratulations to Ralph Mechur for emerging as the selection. Mechur is a good person and passionate about our schools.

During the application and interview session, I described a plan for my vision of our schools: rethinking our school day, creating programs such as foreign language in all elementary schools and computer science in middle schools, strong leadership and accountability from our board, outreach to all of our schools and their communities so that relationships will have been formed before they are needed due to a concern or crisis, and, of course, a reinvigoration and strengthening of VSS to ensure equity for all students.

We have great, progressive-minded communities and we deserve schools and leadership that reflect them. Phrases like “21st century schools” ring hollow in buildings built in 1941. Health and safety concerns cannot be ignored any longer. We need to start preparing our students for jobs that have not been invented yet. Forward thinking, long-term plans for academic, social and infrastructure goals are not a luxury, but a necessity.

The appointment process forced me to examine why I thought I was the best person to identify and address the needs of our district. After hearing from so many people about how inspired and energized they were from what I had to say, I am even more motivated to serve all of our students from the highest platform. Consider this a very early announcement: I will be seeking a seat on the SMMUSD Board of Education in 2016. I will spend the next two years continuing my hard work as a committed volunteer for all of our schools and both of our communities. Then, when it comes time to head to the ballot box, I will put my trust in the registered voters of Santa Monica and Malibu and hopefully win my seat the old fashioned way, by earning their respect, confidence and vote.

Bring on 2016.

Jon Kean