A coalition formed last month to change the way Santa Monica College and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District are governed has endorsed candidates Susan Aminoff and Doug Willis for the Santa Monica College board of trustees election scheduled for Tuesday, November 2nd.

The coalition, known as Santa Monica’s Education Team, is a joint campaign by the Santa Monica College Faculty Association and the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association.

The coalition’s aim is to assist the campaigns of candidates who are “pro-student, pro-academic, pro-teacher and pro-faculty,” and hoping to win seats on the Santa Monica College board of trustees and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board of education.

“Five candidates sought our endorsement for the board of trustees,” said Lantz Simpson, an English professor and president of the Faculty Association at Santa Monica College. “We endorsed two candidates.

“It wasn’t so much that the other three had shortcomings. We just believe the two we endorsed best fit with our needs.”

Endorsements for the school district will be announced at a later date.

Aminoff is a Santa Monica resident, sociology professor at Pierce College and chair of the Los Angeles Community College District’s Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee.

Willis is a member of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights and an accountant at the University of California Los Angeles.

Aminoff and Willis hope to win seats soon to be vacated by trustees Graham Pope and Annette Shamey.

Shamey, who was elected to her seat, will not seek re-election, and Pope, who was appointed to his seat last year, will not seek election.

Candidates wanting an endorsement from the coalition were invited to fill out questionnaires and they had personal interviews with coalition members Wednesday, June 2nd.

“They conducted a very professional and comfortable interview process,” Aminoff said.

“Aminoff and Willis both pledged to bring back the eight vocational programs that were cut last year,” Simpson said.

The faculty association strongly disapproved of college President Piedad Robertson and the current board of trustees’ decision to eliminate vocational programs in response to state budget cutbacks.

Simpson said the cut in programs and the discarding of expensive equipment, particularly in automotive technology, unfairly affects Hispanic students.

The faculty association also believes Robertson and the board of trustees made their decision without extensively looking at finding ways to retain those programs.

“Decisions don’t just come from the top — they should come from within,” Aminoff said. “I believe in principles of shared governance.

“As a trustee, I would listen and bring in ideas from all the stakeholders who are involved in an issue.”