Meet newly elected school board member Jon Kean.

Kean along with re-elected members Maria Leon-Vazquez and Ralph Mechur took the oath of office for a four-year term last month and while Vazquez and Mechur were incumbents in the election, Kean is new to the leadership role.

Kean is an active parent leader, and has served as PTA president at Roosevelt Elementary and Lincoln Middle School. With school back in session, Kean is eager and determined to create a positive and cohesive plan for all schools in Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.

“My priority coming in as a school board member is to provide quality governance for our school district,” said Kean.

Kean specifies that his job is to oversee the work of the district and to be the voice of the community to the administration and the voice of the district back to the community.

Kean is looking forward to working with Dr. Ben Drati who was recently named new superintendent of SMMUSD (his term became effective Jan. 1). Kean also believes that Dr. Antonio Shelton, new principal for Santa Monica High School will contribute to improving the school district for the better and that everyone understands school improvements are a long-term process.

“These plans for improve SMMUSD are not going to happen overnight. We are not going to look at test scores next year and say we have done it or we have failed,” said Kean. “We need to have a plan, believe in the plan and commit to the plan. I think we have the makings of being a great school district, especially with the addition of Dr. Shelton and Dr. Drati.”

Kean said he will use his position on the board to forward complaints he hears to whichever staff member is responsible for specific issues and he said it’s his job to oversee, not micromanage specific programs or policies. Kean said his job is to make sure staff are on the right path and make sure the board sticks to its plans.

Kean strongly believes the school board has to lead the way by establishing the big picture goals.

“If seven people understand the definition of what we are trying to do for the community and the kids then we will see good things happen, and that is the direction we need to go to,” said Kean.

Not only will Kean be working on plans to better the school district but he will also be focusing on the budget.

“In a city that gives us 25 million dollars a year, we still have structure deficit,” said Kean. “I want to focus on creating a way where we don’t have a deficit and have the ability to be a sustainable school district.”

marina@smdp.com

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