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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
School

Orange County Board of EducationCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area 5

Photo of Mary Navarro

Mary Navarro

Educator
35,346 votes (24.8%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Putting Students First- This is my core belief, my moral compass, and my yardstick for decision making for more than 38 years. This includes ensuring school safety, student wellness and mental health services for ALL children.
  • Ensuring High Quality Public Education for ALL students regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • Ensuring local voice from our diverse communities, school districts, and stakeholders.

Experience

Education

Pepperdine University MBA (current)
California State University, San Jose Masters in Education and Administration (current)
California State University, San Jose B.A. Communication (current)

Biography

I am a 38-year veteran, California public school educator. I have been a classroom teacher, a principle of schools at all grade levels- including nonprofit charter schools, and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. I know what to look for and what questions to ask because I have walked this walk of service to our children for decades.   Over the last three months of campaigning, I have visited our school districts, met the administration, attended school board meetings and met many board members and parents. I have also visited our local schools, met site principals, teachers, students and parents. I have witnessed first-hand school safety drills with local city service providers, as well as professional development to ensure student safety, and teacher collaboration to improve instruction through sharing of best practice, review of student work and student achievement data. I have also observed classroom instruction at almost all grade levels, and I even taught 7th grade on career day this last month.    I love being with young people and being at schools! I will always make it my practice to see our schools up close and personal in order to know and understand their diverse achievements, needs and challenges. Our children deserve the best education we can give them. They are our future!

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As a parent of two successful adult children who graduated from prestigious colleges and universities, like UC Santa Cruz, Stanford and Harvard, I know how important it is to provide our children with high quality public education. I know too college is not the only path to success. Our students deserve options— multiple pathways to find their purpose, passion and potential in order to fully contribute to our communities and to our county.    To that end, I have a proven record of supporting vocational education, schools focused on career pathways, like health professions and performing arts. I’ve served in both low income and affluent school districts throughout California. Many of our poor and middle-income students, Special Education students, foster youth and newcomers have unique needs that we must address and mediate to ensure their success— because their success is our success.   I am a champion for ALL students. I have always fought for parents, children, and taxpayers. As your Trustee, I will work with local districts to ensure students are college and career ready, and prepared for the dynamic 21st century workforce. I’m ready to put my lifetime of service toward ensuring that we put students first.   I want you to know too that I am a 3rd generation California Educator. Education is in my DNA and has been my life's passion and purpose. I first began teaching in Del Monte Cannery at age fifteen. I taught immigrants, local children and field/cannery workers from our farming community when San Jose was the Prune Capital—long before it became the Silicon Valley of today.     There weren’t many choices or supports for students then. I dropped out of high school after losing my boyfriend to the Vietnam War and started community college at age 17.  At that time, high school was not for me. Life and death seemed more serious than homecoming. But I beat the odds. I finished college and earned my teaching credential at age 23. As a new teacher, I became an advocate for mental health services and school counselors, alternative pathways and early graduation opportunities because I know “one size does not fit all”. Many children come to school with a variety of social, emotional, and economic challenges, and we must help them rise to their potential. They are our most valuable resource.   While I did not love high school as a student, I loved teaching high school English, Drama, Speech, Debate and Desktop Publishing. I also taught 7th grade English and all grade levels through community college for more than ten years, but I wanted to do more. So, I went to school after school to get my Administrative Credential with studies in Urban School Leadership. I became a principal and leader for New Teacher Induction, Coaching and Mentoring. I have loved my life with students, teachers and parents. They have taught me more than they will ever know.    Here is what I do know—the best indicator of our values is to look at how we spend our money and our time. So, my next challenge was to attend Pepperdine University and earn my MBA. I have managed school districts’ budgets large and small. I know the importance of cutting administrative waste and ensuring tax dollars go directly into the classroom. I will bring accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility to the Board of Education.   Additionally, I have always supported preschool programs, before and after-school programs, enrichment and arts programs. I will work to expand these while emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and math, and promoting high academic standards. To do this, we MUST attract and retain the highest quality teachers.  Together we can achieve more than we can imagine!   So, what leads me to run for OCBOE?  Well, I "failed retirement”.   I missed school, learning and young people! Currently, I mentor new school administrators in their graduate programs as a part-time job. It is an honor to support the new leadership of our public schools. I truly believe quality public education is the foundation of democracy.    We must develop an educated citizenry capable of critical thinking and decision making for democratic principles and for the common good of all citizens. I believe too public educationis th is the engine of our economy and the cornerstone of a global economy. Education is the great equalizer; education is transformative. I discovered that I have more to give— I have time, energy, experience and I want to give back to our community. The best way for me to do that is to give you a choice when you vote June 5th.

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