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Hendy-Newbill bringing a coach’s perspective to board race

Yana Gracile | April 28, 2014

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Sherlett Hendy-Newbill

Sherlett Hendy-Newbill

Second in a series of profiles of candidates for the LA Unified’s open District 1 board seat.

As a teacher, basketball coach and wife of a former NBA player, Sherlett Hendy-Newbill knows the value of teamwork, discipline and dedication.

It’s those attributes she is promising to bring to the LA Unified school board if she succeeds in winning election for the vacant seat in District 1, where she was born, raised and educated.

As a Dorsey High School teacher and basketball coach for the last 15 years, Hendy-Newbill, 41, is one of three teachers among the seven candidates running. She is married to Ivano Newbill, who played three seasons in the NBA in the mid-1990s.

With her sports background — not to mention the skills of raising a 19-month-old son —she says she can bring a fresh and unique perspective to the board by applying the essential team-building techniques she uses in her coaching.

“As a coach, you work to organize all people together,” she said. “You work together as a team, and that’s what I want to see on our board.”

Her campaign strategy, she said, is targeting likely voters, with more than 100 volunteers hitting the streets and knocking on doors. Her message is clear: There is a teacher and mother from the community who is interested in this position, and she has no alternative agenda.

“I have no dreams or aspirations of being a politician,” she said. “I’m here mainly because I want to be a school board member that sees the best in their schools.”

Even though she has been endorsed by UTLA, Hendy-Newbill realizes she is an underdog competing against opponents who have deeper pockets and stronger political backing. With campaign contributions totaling around $13,000 so far, she said, she is relying more on her hard work ethic to see her through until the end.

“I walk everyday for several hours,” she said. “It’s not about dollar amount for me. It’s more about seeing some valuable change, and I’m willing to put that work in.”

If elected, Hendy-Newbill says she will vote on policy issues that are in the best interest of all stakeholders, with a focus on those they are intended to serve.

“I felt that there needed to be a voice of the same concerns for our students and the same passion for our students,” she said. “I didn’t want to leave that to chance.”

She says she supports Superintendent John Deasy’s ideas and will work with him to improve District 1. Hendy-Newbill says she will not stand for waste in the district and feels there are many areas that need improvement, including repairing and retro-fitting schools to withstand a high magnitude earthquake.

Her first priority, she said, would be to make sure schools operate with a full staff, and eventually, she said, she would like to build on efforts of schools becoming family centers where parents, teachers, community members, and students come together to make decisions that impact learning at the school.

When it comes to seniority based layoffs, Hendy-Newbill feels that ineffective teachers should be removed but that current policy also needs to be evaluated to make sure teachers are being supported to perform at their highest levels. It’s what you might expect from a coach’s perspective.


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