The Pasadena Unified School District is a majority Latino serving district 61 percent of our current Latino students. Currently, there is no Latino presence on the board of education and it is my hope that the current vacancy will be filled by a member of the Latino community. As an African American, I understand the importance of representative democracy and the reference of authority in communication with constituents. While we are all responsible and attempt to be responsive to all members of our district, I do understand that it is important to see someone of your background who shares some of your life experiences in a policy making position.
African Americans are very well represented at the board level with the recent addition of Tyron Hampton, Jr. to the PUSD board, occupying the seat serving District 3. Tyron also joins me in a leadership role for the PUSD Board. For the first time in my memory, there is an African American President and Vice President on the Board. Tyron is a product of PUSD and his presence as a board member represents an important generational shift for the district. Like Councilmember and Vice Mayor, Jacque Robinson, he is a product of the "Eddie Newman Era" at John Muir High School. No high school in our district, public or private, has produced more civically engaged adults. It is quite an achievement, and I know Dr. Newman is proud of her graduates and follow their achievements closely.
As a businessman, Mr. Hampton promises to keep a close eye on the bottom line in all fiscal matters concerning the school district and he is not timid about asking challenging questions. He is also interested in expanding the Dual Language Immersion programs and would like to see greater participation in these programs by the African American Community, as would I. We are both committed to closing the achievement gap and want to see improved student outcomes for all students who are not operating at the proficient or advanced level. This will benefit all PUSD students and the district as a whole.
In PUSD leadership, there are currently six Elementary Principals who are African American and one Interim. They are:
- Greg White at Altadena Elementary which is 29 percent African American;
- Shannon Malone at Cleveland Elementary which is 24 percent African American;
- Dr. Marcheta Williams at Norma Coombs alternative School which is 31 percent African American;
- Karone Meeks-Clark at Washington Accelerated School which is 11 percent African American;
- Dr. Debra DeBose at Willard Elementary which is 6 percent African American;
- Dr. Jennifer Smith has been the Interim Principal at McKinley School since January. Personally, I would like to see her get a permanent assignment as principal. McKinley is 18 percent African American.
- Dr. Merian Stewart at Washington Middle School which is 15 percent African American;
- Trudell Skinner at Blair Middle School and High School which is 28 percent African American;
- Marshall Fundamental Middle and High School is 11 percent African American;
- John Muir High School is 29.5 percent African American;
- Pasadena High School is 14.5 percent African American;
- The Center for Independent Study is 13 percent African American;
- Rose city High School is 18 percent African American.
African Americans in Leadership Positions:
- The Chief Academic Officer for the PUSD is Dr. Brian McDonald an African American who is originally from Jamaica. His story and his goals and values merit a separate article.
- The Director of Special Education and the SELPA, Dr. Michael Jason, Kahlil Harrington is the Director of Maintenance and Operations.
- The Director of the Personnel Commission is Dr. Cy Chukwumezie is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Nigeria.
- The Interim Director of Information and Technology is Tendai Jamal.
I firmly believe that the educators of PUSD do their best everyday for the children of our district. By all measures the district is improving even with the current fiscal struggles.
Our signature programs, The Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics at the Washington Educational Center, brings a prestigious program to North West Pasadena, joining the Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program moving into its second year at Jackson Elementary School. Dual Language programs are also in existence at Field Elementary, Mandarin and San Rafael Elementary, Spanish. There are Career Pathways at all of our comprehensive high schools indeed the district is a model for these programs.
We all appreciate the continued support of the African American community, please continue to work with us and hold us accountable.