Submitted by the Culver City Unified School District
When CCUSD’s three new Board of Education members were sworn in last Tuesday night, it signaled a number of important firsts and underscored the District’s and the community’s continued celebration of diversity.
Board member Stephanie Loredo became the first Filipina American elected to any citywide office on Los Angeles’ Westside and was selected as the Board’s Parliamentarian for the coming year. Significantly, Los Angeles County has the most residents of Filipinx descent outside of the Philippines, including 30,000 Filipinx American students, but there had not been any other school board member of Filipinx heritage elected in Los Angeles County outside the ABC Unified School District before her election. Loredo, who previously served as member of the CCUSD Local Control Accountability Plan Partner Advisory Council, dressed in white Filipiniana to honor both her heritage and women’s suffrage as Superintendent Quoc Tran swore her in.
Board member Brian Guerrero was the first to take the oath of office administered in two languages. Superintendent Quoc Tran administered the oath in English, while Guerrero’s son, Maxwell, administered it in Spanish.
At 19, Board member Triston Ezidore, became the youngest elected public official in the history of Los Angeles County and the first Black male to serve on the Board – the significance of which was not lost on him.
“When looking at the data, we are undeserving Black boys in education as a whole,” said Ezidore, who added that he hopes to serve as an advocate for Black boys and help improve their educational experience. Currently, 11.4% of CCUSD students are Black.
The son of Vietnamese and Jamaican immigrants, Ezidore, a Culver City High School graduate who will serve as the Board’s Clerk for the coming year, was sworn in by U.S. Congress Member-Elect Sydney Kamlager (above) and presented with a certificate from Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang’s Office.
“At a time when we talk a great deal about celebrating diversity, this new Board will provide a unique look at how best to serve our students and families, bringing their varied backgrounds and experiences to the table as we work collaboratively to create the best learning environment possible,” said Superintendent Tran. “I look forward to working with our entire Board and am excited about what the future holds for Culver City Unified School District.”
“What a wonderful opportunity we have now to serve our community in partnership with the first Filipina American elected in the city and a Black student leader who’s already cut his teeth as an activist at our very own CCHS!” said Board Vice President Kelly Kent. “I was so moved by all three oaths of office, including Mr. Guerrero’s taken in Spanish. I’m incredibly enthusiastic about working with all three of my newest colleagues!”
The historical significance of the new board’s installation was noted throughout the region. In addition to Kamlager, outgoing Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin and a representative of County Assessor Jeffrey Prang’s Office joined newly elected Culver City Council Member Freddy Puza, Vice Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and former Culver City Mayors Alex Fisch and Meghan Sahli-Wells at the swearing-in ceremony.
Board President Paula Amezola welcomed the three new board members, referring to the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz – a text she has often quoted and one she gifted to all of her fellow board members, including out-going Board member Summer McBride and four student board members who have served with her, as they look for ways to work cooperatively.
“I reference it during quiet times when not much is happening and more often during high stress times when I am depleted from energy,” she told them during Tuesday’s meeting. “Don Miguel Ruiz states that agreements that come from love help us to conserve energy and even gain energy. So, here is my unsolicited advice to all elected officials: keep this book by your side.”
She shared the summary of Ruiz’s four agreements:
Be Impeccable with your word: Words have power, speak with integrity, do not gossip, speak in love
Don’t take anything personally: What others do has to do with them, more than you. At best, you can influence an even that is limited
Don’t Make Assumptions: Ask questions, clarify and ask clearly for what you want. don’t assume others will know
Always do your best: Your best will change according to health, circumstances and time. Forgive yourself if your best is not perfect
Tran said school districts across the nation face a growing challenge of providing educational services to increasingly diverse communities and that the diversity of the new board will help ensure equity and inclusion.
“I cherish the diversity on our board and throughout our district,” he said. “The way each person thinks and how they act upon their ideas creates unique perspectives will allow us to not only work cooperatively as Don Miguel Ruiz encourages, but also creatively tackle new challenges with an eye to how our decisions cultivate, respect and embrace diversity.”