Parents, Community Members Voted to New Board of Directors at PaliHi

By MARY MORAN Special to the Palisadian-Post The newly elected Palisades Charter High School Board of Directors held its first meeting on February 17 in the school library. Voting members of the board include principal and executive director Linda Hosford; teachers Holly Korbonski, Minh Ha Ngo and Libby Butler; non-certificated employee Gay Chambers; parents Jonathan Fielding, Ruth Simeon and Jim Suhr; and community members Harriet Leva, Tina Lee and Jack Sutton. Non-voting members are Greg Martins, the school’s acting chief business officer, and Edward Kim, student. Voting by staff, students and parents for the new board members occurred in December and January, and results were announced at the last meeting of the former Governance Council on January 20. Board members will serve until June 2005. Hosford, who plans to retire in June, will serve as an ex-officio member of the board and is the interim secretary. Korbonski, a member of the English Department, is the student-elected teacher representative to the board. She places a high priority on student involvement and on creating a student-friendly environment at PaliHi. Butler, a math teacher and former traveling Palisades student, believes that “Pali has all of the elements necessary to become a school with groundbreaking, innovative programs that serve the needs of a diverse student population.” A math teacher and former Governance Council member, Minh Ha Ngo, the board’s vice- chair, wants to take an active role in creating a school where education is a top priority. The Palisades faculty elected both Butler and Ngo. Gay Chambers, senior office assistant working in the attendance office, is a former Pali student and parent of two Pali graduates. She says, “My love for Pali goes way back and I want to see Pali succeed.” Dr. Jonathan Fielding, a Palisades parent and new board chair, believes that parents need every opportunity to participate in major decisions about school priorities, policies and curriculum changes. As the current Director of Public Health for Los Angeles County, he brings a wealth of expertise in finance, personnel, strategic planning and management to his position on the board. Ruth Simeon is a businesswoman and former teacher and college professor from South Los Angeles, with skills in education, budgeting, human resources, process improvement and operational efficiency. She hopes to represent a broader spectrum of the student population served by Palisades Charter High School. Board treasurer Jim Suhr, a real estate developer and parent of a ninth grader, believes that charter schools are the best path to creating educational excellence in public schools. He brings management, financial and general business skills to the board. Tina Lee is a lawyer from Manhattan Beach who believes that a good high school education “fosters confidence and develops personalities, enabling students to overcome any obstacles they may encounter while pursuing their goals.” Harriet Leva has been involved in governance at Palisades schools for over 10 years. She describes herself as a “good listener and consensus builder” with organizational, analytical and writing skills. Jack Sutton, a local resident whose son graduated from Pali, considers the school “to be a community asset exceeding that of any other high school in the city.” As a lecturer/field coordinator in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and executive officer for Educational Outreach, he believes he can provide a valuable link to the resources available from UCLA. The next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16, in the school library. The public is invited.