Tyron Hampton is a young man in a hurry. If he wins the School Board race he will be only thirty years old and the youngest member on the Board. He will be able to evaluate the policies of the PUSD as a relatively recent student and graduate. His opponent seems to be in a bigger hurry as his materials make it clear that he is not running to serve on the PUSD Board, but as a stepping stone to join his brother in the state legislature. Ruben Hueso's literature and articles tell a story of a campaign financed by members of the State Assembly and Senate. To the casual outside observer, it should be clear that Heuso is running as a Democrat in a non partisan race. His money comes from the Democratic party leadership and he touts the fact he is a Democrat. Either he doesn't understand that this is a non partisan race, or the rules mean nothing to him. Likewise, his list of supporters are mostly from outside District Three and, indeed, outside the PUSD district and can't vote, indicating that outside influence and money is more important than the influence of and needs of the students, parents and residents of the District.
While most business people wait until they finish college to start their business career, Tyron Hampton's business career couldn't wait. A John Muir High School graduate whose business career began before graduating from Muir, he started a clothing business selling custom suits and T-Shirts while in high school. At some point in his high school career, young Hampton, who turned thirty during the current campaign for a seat on the Pasadena Unified School District Board, had other students working for him in his lawn care business.
He is a ball of energy with smarts to match and believes that his example of achievement can be duplicated by students if they are just motivated by the District and their policies. He sincerely believes that every student can and should have a high grade point average if that is what is expected of them. The problem is that there are low expectations of the students by the policy makers, and the students perform or fail to perform accordingly.
Leadership is in his DNA, as his early start in business has proved. Currently, he is still conducting business in the carpet business which he learned from his father. He further demonstrated his Leadership abilities when he served as President of the Youth Division of the Pasadena NAACP under former President, Joe Brown.
His wife, Tara, a Cal Tech graduate, encouraged him to run for the Board because she was tired of him complaining about the problems. He then did what he has always done, got in the race. He had no money, no political history or king makers in his pocket, but was full of energy and ideas. By the night of the election, the energy and ideas had paid off. He defeated the better known and well funded contender, Hueso, whose only claim to fame is a brother in the State Legislature.
The Cal Poly Pomona graduate holds degrees in Agricultural Biology and Food Marketing. When asked why his practical creativity and business spirit comes out, he simply says, "Everybody has to eat and there's a market there." He further points out that "after all, California is the largest agricultural state in the United States.
He believes that young people in the Northwest owe it to their predecessors who fought to integrate and improve the schools to perform at their highest. The problem is that no one has approached the problem with such mindset. He says, "It is a slap in the face to those pioneers for the students of the Northwest to be at the bottom of the educational ladder." He thinks he can make a difference toward the goal of improving student performance.
Interestingly enough, he says little about his opponent but he is aware that Hueso was labeled as one of the least effective teachers at the schools where he teaches, in the Los Angeles School District. The United Teachers of Pasadena union endorsed Hueso and then took the unusual step of withdrawing that endorsement. In spite of the fact that Hueso is a teacher, the ineffective label went a long way in their final decision. The classified employees of the Pasadena Unified School District (Local Chapter 434) has endorsed Hampton.
The Pasadena Unified School District run-off election is on April 16th.