Ralph Mechur at a Main St. 4th of July Parade with the education community

After 13 years of service, Ralph Mechur is stepping down from School Board and looking forward to ushering in new leaders to continue pursuing excellent equitable education for all students.

Ralph was first appointed to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education in 2007 and has served through ups and downs, financial crises and victories, and even a pandemic. During this time the District has moved from state aid to basic aid funding, instituted 21st century learning techniques, redeveloped school facilities, and transitioned to distance learning.

Over the course of his tenure, Mechur is most proud of the Board for recognizing the achievement gap for low-income and minority students and making a firm commitment to address it.

“The most important thing is to make equity and success of all students our main focus,” said Mechur. “There is no panacea or silver bullet, it’s unfortunately not something that’s going to happen overnight, but adopting social justice standards, infusing its tenants throughout our curriculum, increasing the parent engagement and making students really feel that we are there to help them are meaningful steps forwards.”

Despite the heavy workload of the board position, Mechur said he had immense fun being a board member and creating opportunities for the future of Santa Monica and Malibu’s students. One of his favorite parts of the job was interacting with students, staff, and families through campus events.

“The beginning of school each year is always exciting. We hit the ground running; there is a lot of learning going on right away and students, parents and teachers all feel really ready to dive into the new year,” said Mechur. “Then during the school year there are sports events, arts events, and music events. It’s so enjoyable to see the great work the students have put out and to celebrate all their successes.”

Mechur is stepping down from the School Board to focus more time on his architecture firm and family.

Having spent over a decade of his life dedicated to school issues he feels it is time for new leaders to take the reins. Prior to serving on School Board, Mechur was on the board of the Santa Monica Education Foundation and was involved in bond measures and parcel tax campaigns to better fund the District.

“For any organization it’s good to have new people brought in to bring new and creative ideas. If you are all similar in your views, it’s healthy for there to be some change,” said Mechur. “I feel good about opening the door for somebody else to step in.”

His advice for new board members is to ask a lot of questions and learn as much as possible about all the different facets of the District. Mechur said the District is an incredibly complex organization and the hardest part of the job is staying abreast of everything that goes on.

“I will miss interactions with the superintendent and his staff, teachers, parents, other board members, and students,” said Mechur. “Going forward, I think the board should continue to focus on equity issues and delve deeper into policies, behaviors, and curriculum that will move towards having every student feel welcome and have successful outcomes.”

Clara@smdp.com