Meet the Irvine Unified School Board Candidates 2022
It is election time! Ballots have arrived, and the Irvine Unified Board of Education elections are now underway until November 8th. Elections for IUSD School Board members are by Trustee Area, and there are five Trustee Areas. In this election, only one candidate, Dr. Jeff Kim, chose to run for the open seat in Trustee Area 4, so he is unopposed. However, residents who live in IUSD Trustee Area 2 will vote for one new board member from their area. Trustee Area 2 includes the south side of Woodbridge, Westpark, and University Park, as shown in green on the map below:
The three candidates running for this seat are Marlene Bronson, Debra Kamm, and Katie McEwen. All three candidates were invited by Irvine Watchdog for interviews, but Marlene Bronson did not respond to the multiple requests.
If you live in Area 2, take a moment to learn about the candidates Kamm and McEwen before you vote.
Debra Kamm was previously a member of the Springbrook Elementary PTA, where she helped as a volunteer, chaperone, and even school mascot. She has advocated for students with disabilities for 20 years and started a non-profit organization to serve as the voice for the parents of students with medical needs. Debra thinks good partnerships and communication between teachers and parents are essential.
One of her goals is to amplify parents’ voices and strengthen school communication about the curriculum and any changes to it.
Kamm listed three problems she notices about IUSD: student achievement, mental health, and learning loss from the pandemic; parents’ voice in the district’s decisions; and transparency of tax dollars and COVID funding.
“Unfortunately, I tried to get the board to approve remote participation in the board meetings, just like we did over COVID, either via Zoom, calling in, or even emailing in,” Kamm said. “There are public comments, and unfortunately, the board wouldn’t allow that. I don’t understand that; there’s no reason why parents and community members shouldn’t be able to participate remotely.”
She wants to ensure that school funds are directed to address academic issues, including helping all students meet learning requirements. Kamm also hopes voters understand her commitment to improving IUSD for students and parents, such as consistently attending board meetings since the beginning of this year.
“I would like people to know that I didn’t just decide to run for school board on a whim,” Kamm said, “It’s been a very long process over this last year . . . I think that my skills would be a very good fit to make some of these changes.”
Katie McEwen’s career began at Northwood High School in 2000. She later taught in Los Angeles and coached girls varsity soccer, and then returned to Northwood High School.
“I stayed home with my children for many years, focusing on volunteering in their classrooms, with the PTSA and other community organizations, and have just in the last few years returned to teaching as a substitute teacher in IUSD, teaching at all levels, including elementary, middle, and high school and also Irvine Virtual Academy.”
McKewen’s three children all went to Irvine public schools since Kindergarten. Her oldest graduated from Woodbridge High School two years ago and is currently a sophomore at Stanford University and her younger two currently attend Woodbridge High School.
“My children have very different strengths and challenges, and I have one with special needs, so I have attended IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings for 10 years.”
She is also an avid PTSA volunteer, and created a career pathway education program called “Career Cafe” at Woodbridge High School, and received the PTSA “Honorary Service Award.”
McEwen hopes to provide more support for students’ post-pandemic learning loss and mental health and increase local control of school funding.
“Our schools need more local control over the funding we get,” McEwen said, “as often the money sent from the state is categorical funding, which limits our flexibility in spending on specific IUSD needs.” Instead, she wants to direct this funding to meet students’ needs through increasing classroom resources and instructional time.
“My experience as a teacher, parent and volunteer in IUSD provides a unique perspective of the district that would make me a valuable addition to the school board.”
Make sure to learn more about all the candidates by visiting their campaign websites:
Trustee Area 2:
- Katie McEwen
- Debra Kamm
- Marlene Brosnon – Not available
Trustee Area 4:
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