Taking on Vladovic, Anderson focusing on ‘positive’ path to board
Craig Clough | February 6, 2015
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This is the next in a series of profiles on candidates running in the March 3 primary for the LA Unified school board. Today’s focus is Euna Anderson, a candidate for the District 7 seat.
The LA Unified school board races this year have already seen a fair amount of negative campaigning, and even though she, too, has been a target, Euna Anderson says she intends to keep it positive, running for the District 7 seat.
After working 20 years at LAUSD as a teacher and principal in early education, she is taking on incumbent board President Richard Vladovic. And although he has been a lightning rod for controversy at times, Anderson prefers to focus on her attributes rather than the incumbent’s possible flaws.
“I think that I bring transparency. I think I bring a sense of inclusion, and I think I have a fresh approach to things,” Anderson told LA School Report. “So I don’t want to criticize [Vladovic] at this point. I just think that I am different than he is. I don’t have anything to hide. I don’t have any bones to pick with anybody.”
Anderson received a bachelor’s degree from Southern California College in organizational management and a master’s degree from Pepperdine’s organizational leadership program in 2002. She began her teaching career at LAUSD as a sub in 1994, becoming a full-time teacher the next year, and in 1996 she became an assistant principal.
Before working in education, Anderson said she was a fashion consultant and owned a salon in Marina del Rey. She is also a longtime resident of Carson in District 7 and has lived there for 46 years.
Anderson, who declined to give her age, said the main reason she hopes to win a seat is to be an advocate on the board for early education, leveraging her work over the last five years as principal at the Alexandria Early Education Center and the Vine Early Education Center. She also previously served as principal of the Canoga Park Early Education Center and the Cleveland Early Education Center.
“Early education does not have a voice on that board,” she said. “People give us a lot of lip service, but we don’t have a voice. I believe because of the climate, the cutting back of the schools and the early ed centers, and not having enough nurses, somebody needs to stand up on that board and say, ‘We need to be a part of the larger conversation.'”
On some of the bigger issues that have impacted the district, such as the resignation of former Superintendent John Deasy and the bungled iPad and MiSiS technology programs, Anderson said, “I think [Deasy] came with great ideas. However I think that those ideas were rolled out in a manner that was not timely. People were not trained properly, and it was done much too fast. But I do think the technology is important for our students.”
Signaling that she is serious about her campaign, Anderson has loaned herself $45,000 and also raised $15,445 through Jan. 17, according to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. The total puts her not far behind Vladovic, who has raised $67,867. The other challenger in the race, Lydia Gutierrez, has raised $9,200.
On Jan. 20, Vladovic filed an ethics complaint against Anderson’s campaign, saying it failed to report campaign contributions in a timely fashion. Vladovic’s campaign manager also issued a press release that said Anderson “doesn’t know what she’s doing or she doesn’t care.”
Anderson did not respond publicly to the complaint at the time.
“At the time we were transitioning treasurers, and we corrected it as soon as we aware aware of it, and I don’t think it will ever happen again,” she said. “I’m appreciative that he was able to point it out, but I think he could have pointed it out without putting it in the paper with that wide of range, and I’m not sure why he felt the need to do that, other than just to show my being a novice at this. I’m going to be very gracious and say it has been taken care of.”
Anderson has not yet received any major endorsements. Vladovic has been endorsed by the powerful California Charter Schools Association, but the teachers union, UTLA, has so far stayed on the sidelines in District 7. Anderson was generally middle-of-the-road when asked about UTLA’s fight for a new contract.
“I think that we have to be realistic,” she said. “We can’t do everything that the union suggests. I think there should be compromise on both parties, LAUSD and unions. It can’t be one or the other.”
Anderson will get a chance to directly reach voters at tonight’s District 7 debate in Wilmington. When asked what her goals were, she again stressed her focus on staying positive.
“I think I just want to make the contrast. I’m hoping that it’s not going to be one against the other, and be condescending and all that kind of business,” she said. “I just want people to see the difference and understand that it’s not about me, it is about a cause, and the cause is students.”