By Kathryn Alice
Special to The Malibu Times
Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS) held a celebration for Craig Foster, the outgoing Board of Education member for Santa Monica-Malibu United School District, and Malibu’s sole representative on the board, at Malibu City Hall on Monday, Oct. 17.
The event included a slideshow of Foster in action, catered refreshments, speeches, mementos of Foster’s time serving Malibu, and much camaraderie as many key Malibu figures came together to celebrate Foster’s service.
“Craig has given his life’s blood to this community for almost two decades and we couldn’t let him leave without acknowledging his amazing service to Malibu,” AMPS Board Member and Former President Kathryn Alice said.
Well over 80 people attended the celebration, including Malibu Mayor Paul Grisanti, City Council members past and present, including Karen Farrer, Mikke Pierson, Laura Rosenthal, and Rick Mullen, Boys & Girls Club CEO Kasey Ernest and BnG Club Director of Community Affairs Siugen Constanza.
Also present were Current City Council candidates, all main candidates for the SMMUSD Board of Education including Stacy Rouse, most of AMPS current board, past and current PTA presidents of local schools —including Melanie Heseker, Soniya Perl, Melanie Goudzwaard, Caren Lieb, Alex Aspron, Desi Bradley, Foster and his wife Lili Foster — plus friends and supporters of Foster and many other dignitaries like Santa Monica City Council Member Oscar de la Torre; Isaac Burgess, executive director of the SMMUSD’s Malibu Pathway; Laureen Sills, who is founder of the Malibu Special Education Foundation; and Julia Holland, member of the Malibu Arts Council.
Farrer, who has worked with Foster through the long journey of seeking a Malibu independent school district, presented him with a heartfelt speech after which Foster spoke to thank supporters, friends and co-workers.
In his speech, Foster acknowledged Rouse, who he has hand-picked as his successor to be Malibu’s representative on the Board of Education, and pointed out that if Rouse can be elected along with her allies Angela DiGaetano, Esther Hickman and Miles Warner, it is Malibu’s best shot at getting its long-awaited independent school district. He urged all in attendance as well as the community at large to vote for this slate of candidates.
Foster founded AMPS along with Farrer, Robert Hayman and Seth Jacobson for the express purpose of breaking away from Santa Monica to form Malibu’s own school district. Negotiations and proceedings toward this end have been ongoing for years and continue to progress.