Thanking Kathy

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With the departure of Kathy Wisnicki from the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District a serious change has occurred that impacts all the students and families with children in Malibu’s local public schools. No longer will we have a voice on the board and no longer are we, as Malibu residents, going to have “a dog in the fight.” We will continue to be the “oh yeah, and of course (roll the eyes) Malibu” in the district discussions, the ugly stepsister of the district’s Santa Monica aka Cinderella politics. I can’t tell you how many meetings I have gone to where entire conversations about district issues have occurred with only the name of Santa Monica being discussed.

Kathy Wisnicki has been a solid performer on the BOE on many levels but, from where I sit, as a Special Education advocate, she has been a great asset for Malibu’s voice in the process. Kathy’s thoughtful opinion mattered to the district officials because she was able to grasp the concepts from difficult state-issued Special Ed mandates (because she has her doctorate in statistics) to heartfelt parental issues (because she has several family members with special needs). Kathy was able to look at a problem in Special Education and spend serious time contemplating all aspects before giving her opinion. As a neighbor and friend of hers, I would often ask her to just “cut to the chase” for me and give me answers I needed about how things were proceeding (especially in regard to the Tim Walker debacle) but she would never do it. She was never unprofessional for a moment. Kathy never used her position to curry favor with anyone and never gave me lip service to legitimate concerns I would have with the state of affairs in Special Education.

Thank you Kathy. From a front row seat, I have known the personal sacrifice this job has been for you with the time that you have had to spend away from your own family to do what is in Malibu’s best interest. I am thankful for your service, grateful to what you have been able to do for Malibu and honored to call you a good friend.

My not-so-secret-wish is that Kathy Wisnicki becomes Malibu’s first superintendent in our own school district with our own city politics weighing in, but not dictating our new board’s policies.

I want to thank Kathy publicly for all the great work she has done for all us, especially in Special Education. Malibu will certainly miss your contemplative and thoughtful representation on SMMUSD Board of Education.

Laureen Sills