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April 4, 2017 — Local Elections
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April 4, 2017 —Local Elections

Glendale Unified School District — ” Joal Ryan, Candidate for Board Member

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Joal Ryan

Public-school parent. Journalist.
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  • Keep our Glendale public schools safe, financially sound and academically excellent for all students.
  • Grow district enrollment by promoting outreach, language immersion and a new arts magnet, and by lowering class size.
  • Protect our Glendale public schools from vouchers, privatization and predatory charters.
Profession:Public-school parent. Journalist.
California State University, Northridge B.A., Journalism (1989)

I'm a Glendale native who grew up going to Glendale's public schools (White, Wilson, Glendale High), and I'm now the proud parent of a fifth-grader at Mark Keppel in the Korean language-immersion program and performing-arts magnet. 

I’m a journalist and writer who has contributed to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Yahoo!, among other outlets. My first bylines came in the student publications of Wilson (Clanking Armour), Glendale High (Explosion) and GCC (El Vaquero).

A longtime homeowner in Adams Hill, I'm an experienced community organizer and former board member of the Adams Hill Neighborhood Association. In 2013, I was a founding member of the Coalition for a Better Glendale, the grassroots effort launched in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. We won the fight to ban gun shows from the publicly-owned, school-adjacent Glendale Civic Auditorium.

As an active and engaged public-school parent, I served as the 2015-2016 president of the Make Keppel Special Foundation, the parent-run nonprofit that raised nearly $85,000 to pay for arts education and intervention instruction.

I’ve also been involved in advocacy before the Glendale School Board. In 2015, I spoke out against the International Studies Language Academy (ISLA), the planned Glendale-based, K-8 charter school that threatens to be a drain on our own district-run language programs, including the Spanish-language-immersion program at Adams Hill’s own John Muir Elementary.

Outside of the Glendale public schools, I’ve coached my son’s community-league baseball teams since he was 5 years old, and I am currently a board member of the Crescenta Sports Association. From 2000-2010, I tutored English-learners and others in the Glendale Central Library’s Adult Literacy Program.

Glendale’s era of neighborhood representation is new, and as a candidate, so am I.  This is the first time I’ve sought public office. I am inspired to run by the issues facing the Glendale public schools, and by my desire to give back to the Glendale community. Above all, I am compelled to run because it’s the right time: I’m a Glendale public-school parent running for Glendale School Board.

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I stand for schools that bring us together. I stand for schools that strengthen our communities. I’m a Glendale school parent who stands for Glendale’s public schools.

Here’s why I’m running for the Glendale Unified Board of Education:

  • I will be your advocate for our District D schools and neighborhoods. It’s a new day for Glendale Unified School District residents, which means the job of GUSD board member is new: Your board member is now the point person for your home district. As a member of the first-ever board with geographical representation, I will make sure our District D schools get our fair share of the millions of dollars of bond money spent by the GUSD every year to support new construction, teachers, students and staff. As I talk with the teachers, principals, parents and community members of our district, I’m asking the question that is central to our new era of neighborhood representation: What can the school board do for you?
  • As a homeowner and a GUSD parent myself, I want our District D schools such as Glenoaks, Mann, Marshall, Muir and Glendale High to be stronger than ever – for all of our students. Put simply: Great schools make great neighborhoods, and as your board member, I will be a pragmatic, progressive voice who will find common ground among neighbors and neighborhoods.
  • More language immersion + more magnets + lower classroom size = a stronger financial foundation for the GUSD. While enrollment is up at the elementary level, the District is still losing families to charters, privates and other school systems as their children hit middle and high school. We need a longterm financial solution to the enrollment problem, and part of the fix is getting behind value-added programs and features that keep us competitive with private schools, charter schools and other districts. 
  • I will promote and support the Arts at all GUSD schools. As President of the parent-run foundation at Mark Keppel, I led an effort to raise $85,000 to fund the school’s arts teachers. As a community member, I’ve been wowed by the students of District D’s Glendale High in action on the stage, and I want to see their Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) academy gain even more renown.
  • I will be vigilant about charter schools. The nationwide charter-school movement is coming to Glendale, and the GUSD needs to be smart about how it navigates this critical time. As a GUSD board member, I will always be open to good ideas, but I will be aware of the issues that the Los Angeles Unified School District failed to address at the start of its own charter wave: lack of transparency, reliance on less-experienced teachers and “dumping” of low-scoring or disabled students. I will use my voice as an elected official to call for change in our state’s charter-approval process and co-location law.
  • I will never take a penny from the California Charter School Association or other charter-lobbying groups. My vote is not for sale.
  • The new Presidential administration comes with the possibility of a new national education policy: I vow to resist the DeVos agenda of school vouchers and privatization.

Learn more about my positions at: www.votejoal.com

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