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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

La Mesa Spring Valley School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Chardá Fontenot

Chardá Fontenot

16,148 votes (31.8%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Transparency: Transparency can be achieved by creating open lines of communication between the district and all stakeholders. By doing this, we can stay in touch with our community.
  • Safety: Safety within our schools is imperative. Keeping our children, teachers and staff safe is paramount. We need to find safe ways to keep our campuses secure, comfortable, and positive for all.
  • Technology: By keeping up to date with technology, we can move forward with more innovative ideas as a district.



UCSD Certified Lactation Educator & Counselor (2017)

Community Activities

Volunteer, La Leche League East County (2017–current)
Board Member, La Mesa Spring Valley Educational Foundation (2018–current)
Volunteer, CDO Coding Club (2016–current)
Founder, Generation Milk (2017–current)
Member, Bayview Baptist Gospel Dance Troupe (1997–2003)


I am a Certified Lactation Educator & Counselor through UCSD. After my education at UCSD, I decided to start my own business: Generation Milk Lactation Services & Support. I am married to my amazing husband and we have two boys who attend Casa De Oro Elementary School. Our eldest is in fifth grade and our youngest started kindergarten this school year. When my eldest son started school, I became involved as a school  volunteer. I have been a parent volunteer for multiple years now at the school site level as well as the district level. I currently serve on the District Advisory Council, School Site Council and PTA Board. I am also a board member serving the La Mesa Spring Valley Educational Foundation.


I am a proud former student of the La Mesa Spring Valley District. I attended Spring Valley Middle, which is now Spring Valley Academy. Growing up, I participated in school & church plays, gospel dance troupe, and I was also a member of Girl Scouts. On weekends, I would participate in community service events such as donating toys and clothing to kids in Tijuana and packing and delivering food to the homeless through the S.H.A.R.E. program. I participated in ballet, jazz and modern dance, and was awarded District Performer of the Year while in high school. I even had the opportunity to perform during the half show of Super Bowl 37 here in San Diego, which was historical and such an amazing experience. While at Monte Vista High School, I was the Commissioner of Fine Arts in ASB. I was also a cross age tutor, peer mediator and school ambassador. I was accepted to several colleges, however, Clark Atlanta University was where I decided to enroll. Ultimately, I ended up staying local in order to continue my studies.

As a young adult, I worked at the 6 to 6 program, a before and after school program, I worked at the Arc of San Diego where I worked with adults with mental and/or physical disabilities. Later, I started working in the TV/film industry as a casting director. My parents were both business owners; I credit them for my entrepreneurial spirit. I decided to start my own casting company where I auditioned and booked talent for professional mainstream commercials, TV, and film. I have worked with companies such as Callaway Golf, Disney, Azek Decking, MTV, Jive Records, just to name a few.  I was the youngest casting director in San Diego, and became eligible to join the CSA (Casting Society of America). Hollywood is a fast business, so after becoming a mother, I realized that I wanted to take a break from that business to be a full time stay at home mom.


Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • La Mesa Spring Valley Teachers Association
  • Run Women Run
  • LMSV ACES (action community for educators and students)

Organizations (3)

  • CSEA (California School Employees Association)
  • Heartland Firefighters of La Mesa Local 4759
  • San Diego County Democratic Party

Individuals (1)

  • Jerry Lecko - Former LMSV School Board Member

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters San Diego (4)

What are the pressing problems of this school district, in your opinion, and what experience do you bring to the Board that will help address these problems?
Answer from Chardá Fontenot:

 I feel that the pressing problems of our school district are the same problems that we are seeing across America: funding and enrollment.  My experience as a business owner will help to combat these problems. My experience helps me to think outside of the box to handle these issues. I think we need to be innovative.. We need to  come up with ways to generate more steady streams of revenue. Rather than cutting things from the budget, we need to make more money to afford the things we have and get the funding to do even more. More money means more teachers. More teachers means reduced class sizes. More teachers means we can accept more students which will help with our enrollment. If we open the doors of our schools after hours for members of the community so that they can use the facilities for events and activities we could be increasing our revenue and potentially bringing more awareness to our district. Another way to help with enrollment is to redraw the boundary lines which will also help diversify some of our schools; there are some areas of La Mesa that are within the city limits but are not included in our boundary lines. These kids could be included in our enrollment numbers if they were included in our boundaries, but due to the boundary lines map, they are told they don't belong to our district and are sent to the neighboring district.

What is your view of charter schools?
Answer from Chardá Fontenot:


I believe in choice and I also believe that having charter schools as a choice, there should be some level of accountability as there is with traditional public schools. As a child, I attended public schools and briefly attended a charter middle school for about 2 weeks before transferring back to the public school system. I send my children to public school because it works fine for our family, but I have friends that send their kids to charters and private schools because that works for them and their family. I do not personally view one being better than the other, and research has shown there is no academic advantage to charter or private over public. I think it comes down to a family’s personal preference. I fully support the idea of having choices when it comes to your child's education and I believe the main goal is to make sure every child has access to a proper and high quality education.

Should the district curb its school choice initiatives (for students who are not in charter schools), so that more students stay in their neighborhood schools? Why or why not?
Answer from Chardá Fontenot:

 I think the district should always do what is best for our children and our community. I don't think charter schools alone are to blame for declining enrollment in our neighborhood schools; I think it is a combination of things. I do think if a parent doesn't want their child to go to their neighborhood school they should be allowed to go to another school in the district, as long as the school of choice isn't already at maximum enrollment. We need to consider that people that live in that neighborhood should be able to send their child there without worry of space and availability. I do think it is up to the district to educate parents and the community to help them to be able to make an informed decision on their child's education choice. Our district has done a good job by starting to provide more options within our public schools. For example, we have the academies which emphasizes the arts and STEAM. If we continue with making some of our neighborhood schools have something unique about them, that could be a good way to provide options within our traditional public schools as they do with charters. We need to make sure none of our schools are left behind and none are getting a bad reputation so that every school in our district is considered to be a "good school" so that we don't have people picking and choosing based off preconceived notions and user submitted school rankings on a website. All schools need to be on an even playing field and we need to think of ourselves as one cohesive district that supports one another.

Are there school discipline strategies or behavioral support programs that you find appealing alternatives to exclusionary or punitive discipline? If so, which ones, and why?
Answer from Chardá Fontenot:

Our district has implemented restorative practices, which is a great alternative to punitive discipline. However, the real issue we need to look at is where we see the most restorative practice happening and if it's often then we should look into bringing school counselors back. Our district has a few counselors and I think it would be amazing and effective to provide school counselors to all schools. Teachers need to teach and it is hard to do that and play counselor at the same time. If behavior issues are happening on a normal basis then it's taking away from valuable teaching / class time. We are seeing more of an increase in IEP's and behavioral issues and it's starting from a younger age. We need to focus on early intervention, early education for all and increasing parent involvement to help children who are struggling with behavior problems. Punitive discipline is not the solution, it only exacerbates the problem. We need to create a positive school culture and climate because suspending them only alienates them from the school community and causes them to fall behind. Another really good behavioral support program that I was a part of in school was being a peer mediator, which I think really helps children to solve problems better when they work together and help one another. I think knowing they have the support of their peers to overcome some of their behavior issues could be one of the most rewarding things for all parties involved making them better individuals and shaping their future to be productive members of society.

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