Recent La Cañada High School graduate Andrew Blumenfeld — a student at Princeton University — declared his candidacy Tuesday for La Cañada Unified School District’s Governing Board, forcing an election for the first time since 2003 for the two seats that open in November.
Current school board member Cindy Wilcox, who will not seek a third term, has committed to co-chair Blumenfeld’s campaign with Kathy Hernandez, 2009-2011 PTSA president at La Cañada High School. Blumenfeld, 20, a third-year student in public education policy at Princeton, decided to run in the election after Wilcox insisted that he was right for the position and that he could attend to his in-person duties by returning to La Cañada from his New Jersey campus about four days a month.
“Andrew and I share the same values when it comes to putting students first,” Wilcox said. “He has the right ideas for improving accountability, engagement and teacher quality within LCUSD — and I know he has the capacity to see those ideas through.”
Although school board member Joel Peterson was impressed with Blumenfeld’s recent letter to the editor in this paper (“School board election needs contest of ideas,” July 27), observing that he seemed a bright, passionate, earnest and hardworking individual, Peterson contended that the job of a board member required much more than four days in town a month. Peterson cited the obligations with board meetings, subcommittees, PTA boosters and other functions considered essential for board members.
“Ultimately a candidate has to make their own call,” said Peterson. “Andrew will have to decide whether he can meet the commitments of school board, and then the community will have to decide if they believe he can.”
Blumenfeld says he believes that having graduated out of the district two years ago affords him a unique perspective that will allow him to connect with parents and students in ways that other board members have not been able to.
“As a recent student, Andrew has the most practical experience of any other possible candidate, providing an inside view of our schools unlike anyone else,” said Ron Dietel, a former LCUSD Governing Board member who has joined Blumenfeld’s campaign committee.
Incumbent Jeanne Broberg and newcomer Ellen Multari filed their candidacy papers earlier this summer. The deadline for La Cañada residents interested in running for the school board to file nomination papers with the L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk is at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12.