City: Glendale USD Board of Education
Position Seeking: Trustee Area D

Question 1: Please share a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts) while growing up and its impact on you.

My most memorable experience with art was when I designed and launched my first website during middle school in the late 1990s. I discovered my passion for the arts at a young age and had the opportunity to participate in many art classes and played the clarinet for my elementary school orchestra. In my early teens, I discovered my passion for computers as well and digital art became a way to bring my passions together. I began learning web design and graphic design through trial and error on my computer at home and reading self-help guides online. My first website represented not just the launch of my first digital art project but also the launch of my entrepreneurial career in the art and technology sector. In 1999, at the age of 14 years old, I formally launched my business providing businesses and non-profit organizations with web design, graphic design, and branding services. Later I was able to receive a formal arts education by earning my Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in Art with an emphasis on Graphic Design. My work in the arts continues today as an Arts & Culture Commissioner for the City of Glendale. The arts have had a profound impact on my life both personally and professionally.

Question 2: How can arts education support student outcomes such as English language development, reducing the achievement gap, and preparing youth for college and/or meaningful careers?

A 21st century public education that prepares our students for success in the future must include a robust arts education program. Arts education helps our students foster creativity, develop communication skills, and work better collaboratively. The future workplace demands professionals who can be creative problem solvers and critical thinkers, two essential skills an arts education can help support. The arts are a visual language that can be a powerful tool for supporting English language learning and bringing our diverse communities together. The arts can improve student performance on all subjects and reduce the achievement gap. In my own life, exposure to the arts from an early age helped lead me to a career in the creative economy. Arts education can help develop the skills needed for our future workforce to find creative solutions, manage challenging situations, work well with others, and ultimately succeed. All of our students benefit from an arts education in our schools.

Question 3: What do you think the role of the School Board should be in ensuring that students have continued access to a broad range of study subjects, including the arts (broadly defined)?

Our School Board is responsible for setting the vision of the District, ensuring accountability, and serving as a bridge to the greater community. Our students need a broad range of learning opportunities across many subject matters to grow as students, develop skills, and reach their ultimate potential. For some of our students, their arts class is the favorite subject of the day and it keeps them motivated, inspired, and excited to be in school. For other students, they excel in areas like math or science and their arts class helps challenge them to be creative and think outside the box. Each and every one of our students are unique. Our School Board must be committed to developing, providing, and funding as many educational programs and learning opportunities as possible to provide our students with a comprehensive public education experience. We must be advocates not just with our words but also our decisions.

Question 4: Do you see a role for arts education in the development of district Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs)? If so, how would you hope to use arts education to advance the eight priority areas identified in the LCAP template?

Glendale Unified School District’s LCAP plan is a roadmap to success and arts education plays an integral role in helping us reach our goals in many of the priority areas. Arts education enhances our students’ creative problem solving and critical thinking skills. Arts education produces innovative, creative, and imaginative students who will be better prepared for college and career success. The visual and performing arts promote an inclusive school environment and collaborative culture which helps support our students’ social, emotional, and physical needs. The arts provide great learning opportunities that go beyond the core curriculum and help students perform better in all subject areas. As we look forward towards providing a 21st century public education that prepares our students for success, our investment in arts education makes an invaluable difference and helps our students reach their ultimate potential.