of school district board

BY ANITA VARGHESE

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board of education elected Emily Bloomfield as its president and Julia Brownley as vice president Thursday, December 9th.

Bloomfield and Brownley will serve in these positions for one year, which is stipulated by board policy.

Last year, Bloomfield was vice president of the board and Jose Escarce was president.

Bloomfield was elected president unanimously.

Brownley received five votes: from herself, Bloomfield, Escarce, newly elected board member Kathy Wisnicki and board member Shane McLoud.

“It’s always difficult when the board is split on a decision like this,” Brownley said.

“I would like to hold the position because I have the experience and it is an important time in the district for this kind of leadership,” she said.

She has previously served as board president and vice president.

Board member Oscar de la Torre had vied for the vice president position and received two votes, from himself and board member Maria Leon-Vazquez.

“I am the only elected official in Santa Monica to come from the Pico Neighborhood, a community that has historically been marginalized and disenfranchised,” De la Torre said.

“I think we can send a message today that the school district values leadership and influence from a community that has historically not been adequately represented in the city,” he said.

He said he was a student in the district from elementary school through Santa Monica High School and worked at the high school for two years as a counselor.

“As a former student and employee, I would bring a unique perspective to the board of education. The perspective would help me in a leadership role,” he said.

Naomi Vasquez, a non-voting student board member and representative from Santa Monica High School, said De la Torre should have been elected vice president because he works daily with at-risk youths as executive director of the Pico Youth and Family Center.

“His work with students, especially students who are at risk [of having problems in school], is outstanding,” Vasquez said. “A lot of students strongly look up to him.”

The public elects board of education members for four-year terms.

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