Patch sent out a questionnaire* to each of the candidates, and we will be posting their individual responses.
Here, we profile Lesli Stein, current school board president.
Stein was elected to the board in 2009. She, her husband Bruce, and two children moved to Agoura Hills in 1996 so her children could attend the district's Blue Ribbon schools. She has since remained active in the community by participating in local sport teams, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and in leadership roles at the elementary, middle, high school and district levels.
Patch: Why are you running for re-election?
Lesli Stein: I am seeking a second term of office because my experience on the school board and a proven record of leadership is essential at this time. School districts across the state of California are facing sweeping reform with the new academic Common Core State Standards and a complex new funding model. I am the only incumbent running for re-election and, with two new Board members filling the vacant seats, LVUSD will need experienced, dedicated Board members to keep our district moving forward. We must build upon the tradition of excellence by continuing to foster a climate that allows for creativity and dynamic learning. My priority is to promote and expand a culture that embraces new classroom teaching strategies, and encourages exploring and identifying progressive programs to increase learning opportunities.
Patch: What do you think are some of the biggest issues the district is currently faces?
Stein: Education must continually evolve to ensure that our students are prepared to compete in a global economy. The new standards are internationally benchmarked and are centered on college and career readiness. The focus is on critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication. Our students will need all of these skills to be successful in a rapidly changing world. Las Virgenes faces challenges implementing the Common Core State Standards. I believe my knowledge of the details of the issues, and my ability to work with my colleagues will enable me to make significant contributions to support the transition to the new standards.
In addition to education reform, the state has recently changed how it funds school districts. The new funding process requires informed fiscal oversight. I have the background and depth of knowledge necessary to ask fundamental and strategic questions and make thoughtful, informed decisions. With more than a decade of school, district and community involvement I understand the culture of our school sites and know the values of our community.
Patch: What are some of your achievements you are most proud of?
Stein: I have a long history of working collaboratively with teachers, administrators, staff, colleagues, civic leaders, parents and community members. The Board of Education has supported new programs and curricula such as the YB BEAT, L-STEM at SUMAC, Mariposa School of Global Education, new class offerings at all middle and high schools. We have transitioned in new superintendent, Dr. Dan Stepenosky, and formed a successful partnership with T.H.E. Foundation for the long term support of Las Virgenes Schools. Thanks to T.H.E. Foundation, starting this year every school in the district will see an increase in counseling services for our students. We have strong relationships and expanded partnerships with all of our cities and City Councils. In collaboration with The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District we have expanded our partnership to include support for the 4th and 5th grade science programs.
Patch: What's the first thing you would like to do if re-elected to the board?
Stein: I will continue to be accessible; advocate for students and public education; monitor student learning with a focus on increasing achievement; and oversee and prioritize a complex budget. I will continue to promote excellence as we expand upon academic opportunities.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add?
Stein: As we move forward, technology will play an increasing role in education. Expanding options for innovative online and blended-learning courses that will expose students to new subjects, new ideas and new cultures. The Performing Arts Education Centers offer unlimited resources for enhancing student learning in the performing and visual arts. They are also world-class education platforms for student learning across the curriculum. Lectures, performances and interactive presentations can stream live from around the globe.
*Some of the responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.