After 20 years of involvement in education in the Santa Monica-Malibu community, Ralph Mechur will be sworn in as the new member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District school board at its meeting Thursday, August 9th.

Mechur will take the seat of former board member Emily Bloomfield, who resigned at the end of June because her husband had accepted a job opportunity in Washington, D.C. and her family was relocating.

“I’m excited,” said Mechur, a 30-year Santa Monica resident. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the rest of the board members to continue our efforts to maintain high student achievement and provide opportunities for all students.”

Mechur has served on the board of directors of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation — a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for programs for students in the district — for the past 18 years, and as president for the last five.

“Our board is really excited that he has this opportunity to serve on the school board,” said Linda Gross, executive director of the Education Foundation. “He has an incredible amount of expertise in a lot of different arenas and we think he’ll be a very valuable member of the school board.”

He has served on the Facilities Master Plan Committee for three years, on the Measure “BB” Advisory Committee and on the district’s Capital Improvements Oversight Committee.

“I’ve been involved in education in the community for a long time,” said Mechur, who has three children who have gone through Santa Monica-Malibu district schools.

Mechur, an architect who owns Ralph Mechur Architects in Santa Monica, also served on the city’s Architectural Review Board for five years, two as chair, and on the city’s Planning Commission for eight years, four of those as chair.

Additionally, he has held teaching positions, most recently as a studio lecturer at USC’s School of Architecture, district officials said.

“Bringing Mr. Mechur on board will be a smooth transition, due to his level of involvement, expertise and demonstrated past commitment to the district,” said school board president Kathy Wisnicki.

Mechur agrees that his experience and regular attendance of board meetings will go “a long way” and help him in “catching up” and transitioning onto the school board.

“Mr. Mechur is certain to be a valuable asset to the SMMUSD Board of Education,” said superintendent Dianne Talarico. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to the board, based on his participation on numerous district committees and advisory boards during the past several years.”

Board member Kelly McMahon Pye agrees.

“He’s a wonderful man,” she says. “He’s a man I admire, and I am pleased to be able to welcome him to the board as a colleague. I value his experience and his long history of service to the community.

“He has a real capacity to examine issues fairly and pragmatically. He’s so highly regarded by very many. He’ll be a great addition to the school board.”