Meet the LAUSD school board candidates: Erica Vilardi-Espinosa is running ‘to make sure all LAUSD schools are doing everything to ensure our children are prepared for the future’
Destiny Torres and Veronica Sierra | March 1, 2022
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This article is part of a collaboration between The 74 and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
This profile is part of “Meet the LAUSD school board candidates,” a series focusing on the candidates running for three open seats on the seven-member school board. LAUSD is the largest school district in the country with an elected school board. The primary is June 7. Candidates have until March 9 to qualify for the ballot by submitting signatures. Read all the pieces in the series as they are published here. Profiles have been edited for length and clarity.
Name: Erica Vilardi-Espinosa
Background/profession: Community Organizer/Accountant
Why are you running?
Education is the basis of everything. I believe schools are the center of the community and provide not just education but also, friends, mentors, social structure, nutrition, and a safe environment… In a country like The US, everyone should be able to receive a fair and equitable public education… I want to make sure all LAUSD schools are doing everything possible to ensure our children are prepared for the future.
How are you different from other candidates?
I am not part of the established political powers that currently control the LAUSD. I am a parent that has been fighting from the ground up. I have on-the-ground experience of what schools need and the struggles parents, teachers and students encounter. I am running to bring perspective to the board where there are no board members with children in LAUSD schools.
What’s the most important issue in your district?
Creating a school curriculum that is innovative, challenging, and engaging. Make sure the learning environment is welcoming and equitable for all students… particularly where parent involvement is challenging and fundraising is not a viable solution… Current Technology and Wi-Fi is a must-solve issue for so many students in my district where neither are a given at their homes…
What should be Superintendent Carvalho’s top priority?
Updating the facilities and increasing staff to serve the most overcrowded schools and outdated buildings. Dual language and innovative updated teaching techniques with lessons learned from this pandemic should be implemented to ensure all students excel in all of our public schools.
What skills or past experiences have prepared you to serve as a board member?
I have been fighting for improvements in my local schools for over 10 years and have been on the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council for the past 4 years as the Education Chair. I understand the lengthy process and departments it takes to get things done. Team building and perseverance are essential talents to make things happen in the school district and I believe I have both.
If you win, what do you hope to achieve for the LAUSD?
To focus our community-based schools on the most innovative methods of teaching that give each learner the ability to succeed… To improve graduation rates and have students prepared not just for college, but for life and careers straight out of high school.
Destiny Torres is a graduate student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism pursuing a master of science degree in journalism. She earned her bachelor’s degree at CSU Dominguez Hills. She is passionate about culture and social justice issues.
Veronica Sierra is a sophomore pursuing a journalism degree at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She was born and raised in Valencia, Venezuela; and moved to California in 2015 where she continued high school, graduating in 2020.