First published in the March 26 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Kathleen Cross, a parent of three children in the Glendale Unified School District, has announced she will seek the Area C seat on the board of education.
Cross, who said her family chose the Glendale school district for its reputation, said in a statement that “this critical time in our district calls for someone with passion, commitment, transparency and the steady voice who can lead our district toward its stated goal of excellence.”
A social worker, Cross cited her previous experience as a student athlete and school site council member as well as a PTA volunteer currently as qualifying her to “navigate the complex needs” of the school district moving forward.
“While I know this isn’t isolated to our district, watching as great people turned on each other truly broke my heart,” Cross said. “Once I pulled my papers to run, I reached out to the incumbent (Armina Gharpetian) to introduce myself and thank her for service on the board. This is how I treat people in my professional and personal life.”
She said she has talked to many people in the district. “Every day, I approach people with respect and the ability to listen… I value the perspectives of our students and families as well as the expertise of our teachers. I understand the needs of our diverse community of 25,000 students.”
If elected to the school board, Cross said she pledges to foster a culture of trust by ensuring that families “know how to be involved in their child’s education.”
Parental involvement is very important, Cross said. “There is wonderful learning happening every day in classrooms across GUSD, but too often we parents don’t know about it,” she said. “As a PTA volunteer and parent, I have always seen teachers and principals as partners. I think retaining employees with competitive wages is vital to students’ success; and sharing the amazing work our students and teachers are doing is important to fostering a supportive, engaged community.”
Cross said she plans to “actively and respectfully” seek solutions and work with residents with special expertise and knowledge, particularly to work with and advocate for students who “aren’t getting the help they need,” as well as the families and teachers who are “beyond” frustrated.
“This needs to change,” she said, “and my background in social work has given me experience in supporting children and families.”
Cross said new developments in the district require a dedicated hand. She hailed the upcoming universal transitional kindergarten as a “hugely significant program,” which needs to be set up with care. She also highlighted that she does not pretend to know everything and would strive to learn as much as she can about policies and issues.
“In this climate, honesty is a huge asset,” Cross said. “I will always do the best that I can with the knowledge that I have. I handle both opposition and agreement with grace and tact.”
For additional information, visit katcross4gusd.com.