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Q&A: Why public school teacher & counselor Raquel Zamora considered running for LAUSD school board

Destiny Torres, Veronica Sierra, and Rebecca Katz | March 15, 2022

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March 23 Update: Raquel Zamora withdrew her candidacy for the LAUSD District #2 board seat. Our prior interview about her intent to run can be found below in full.

This article is part of a collaboration between The 74 and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

Name: Raquel Zamora

District: 2

Background/profession: Public school teacher/mental health therapist/social work

Why are you running?

I am running because I believe our school board should be a school board of educators who have experience working in our schools… Many times our representatives create… policies that affect thousands of children, families and educators that make no sense… I believe policies should be guided by those working at our school sites and know… what is working and not working. 

How are you different from other candidates?

…I have 20 years of educational experience working at LAUSD schools. I have experience working in the classroom… and I have…experience as a… counselor providing… mental health services to children, families and staff. I also have experience working with homeless and foster care students… 

What is the most important issue in your district?

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately hit our highest need communities… Many of our students lost a family member or knew of someone who had died of COVID-19. The mental health of our students, families and staff is one of the most important issues in our district. Last year I worked at a school site that lost 2 teachers to COVID-19. As a…counselor I was calling students and families to log on for instruction only to find (they) were struggling with depression and making ends meet. Although addressing the loss of learning and closing the achievement gap are equally important, we must begin by addressing the mental health of our students, families and staff.

What should be Superintendent Carvalho’s top priority?

I believe his top priority should be recruiting and retaining the best talent to serve our children. We are in dire need of addressing our declining enrollment and chronic attendance.

What skills or past experiences have prepared you to serve as a board member? 

I have worked for 20 years in LAUSD schools. I have experience teaching in the classroom and providing direct mental health services. I know … [what] we are doing well and where there are gaps. [I’ve worked] at early education centers, elementary schools, secondary schools and adult schools. Every student, parent and school site that I have been of service to has prepared me to serve as a school board member. 

My experience… running a grassroots campaign for Los Angeles City Council District 14 in 2020 prepared me as a candidate to run for office. I believe the [school] district is ready to have a board member with experience working in our schools… 

If you win, what do you hope to achieve for the LAUSD? 

I would like to expand our early education programs to help increase enrollment… and our graduation rates. We must provide the best education to our students and connect them to the resources they need to reach their highest potential. The health, safety and wellness of our children, families and educators are my priorities.

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. 

Rebecca Katz is a recent graduate of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a Los Angeles native with a Masters in Journalism and a Bachelors in English and Political Science. She is passionate about mental health and education reform.

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