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As a high school English and journalism teacher, my goal was for kids to feel safe in my classroom. When kids feel safe, they can concentrate and learn, they can do their best work.

My job as a journalism adviser was to teach and protect my students, whether by teaching them critical thinking and strong writing skills, keeping them safe hundreds of miles from their parents in hotels and convention centers, or telling them where to hide in my classroom if there were an active shooter on campus.

I won awards, but no trophy means more to me than a letter from Andrew, a former journalism student. Five years after the night he came out to his parents, then me, and published a story in the school newspaper about how painful it was to be in the closet, he thanked me and said that because of my encouragement and being part of our school-newspaper community, he never faced the bullying that was in national headlines. Thirteen years later, he’s given me permission to tell his story and wants you to know that “things really do get better.” He’s been happily married for four years and runs a small business with his husband. English teacher brag—he’s written a novel and is working on the second draft.

I tell you this story because it shows that a school district is so much more than its test scores and trophies. A school district is a culture.

The culture of Los Alamitos Unified School District could use some work.

Most importantly, kids should feel safe. All kids. Every ability. Every orientation. Every race. Every gender. Every nationality. Right now, kids are calling each other slurs from the 1950s. Parents are wary of people who are different than themselves. Teachers feel like they are not being heard and worry that if they or their principals do voice concerns they face retribution and might even lose their jobs.

As I see it, people from all ends of the spectrums of race, gender, sexual identity, ability, politics, and socioeconomic class are living in fear. Fear is a destructive force. We can’t ignore it.

Overcoming the fear in Los Alamitos Unified is one of our greatest challenges.

It is up to the leaders to set the tone.

I want all students have equal access to resources, no matter their socioeconomic background or academic ability. As a School Board Member, I want to hear from parents, students, and teachers regularly. I don’t want to just peek into classrooms and appear at public events. I want to meet you—let’s have coffee or a play date or meet after school. Tell me what you really think and lets come up with actions to get measurable positive results.

Teachers should be respected. They are experts in their field and should be the ones leading decisions about their work environment and curriculum. As a School Board Member, I will make sure the teachers are heard. I will make evidence-based, fiscally responsible decisions about how we use our money for teacher development, classroom supplies and texts, and physical plant maintenance and improvements. I will work to keep students and teachers safe.

I was a teacher in districts just like this one. I am a mother in this district. I get it.

That’s why I’m running. Teachers and families need a true representative at the highest level of leadership in this district. I am proud to say that I have earned the trust of our teachers, and am endorsed by our teachers union, the Los Alamitos Education Association. I will be the only School Board Member with a child currently enrolled in our district; I will be the only one who directly sees and experiences the effects of School Board decisions on a day-to-day basis as a parent.

I ask you to please support our students and teachers by investing in my campaign.

I am grateful for any amount of time, talent, and treasure you can give.

Most importantly, please vote Olaina Anderson for Los Alamitos Unified School District Board of Education Member on November 6th.

Thank you.


Committee to Elect
Olaina Anderson for School Board 2018
FPPC #1405948
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