HomeBlocksFront-GridGlendale Unified Seats School Board Members

Glendale Unified Seats School Board Members

First published in the July 16 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

The Glendale Unified School District seated two new board members and one returning incumbent on Tuesday, following the certification of the June 7 election results.
Ingrid Gunnell, a longtime educator with Los Angeles Unified, began her first term in Trustee Area B, as did social worker Kathleen Cross in Trustee Area C. Shant Sahakian began his second term in Trustee Area D.
With these swearings-in, term limits for school board members are also now officially in effect after 32,698 voters — representing a decisive 89.04% of ballots — approved levying a limit of three four-year terms.

  • Kat Cross was sworn in to the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday.
  • Ingrid Gunnell was sworn in to the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday.

Gunnell secured a razor-thin victory with 3,919 votes — eking out a 50.82% victory, with just a 127-vote advantage — over volunteer and fellow district parent Lerna Amiryans. She took pride in having secured the endorsement of both of GUSD’s labor unions in her campaign and observed that after decades of working in the classroom, she gets to work on the other side of the aisle simultaneously.
“I always say that if you don’t have the support of the employees who work with our children, then you shouldn’t be running for the school board or be on the school board,” she said.
Gunnell added that she looks forward to representing the community she was raised in and in particular pledged fight to support Black students and their families in Glendale. She has previously discussed her experience raising biracial children here when advocating for policies addressing equity and school culture.
“While they are only a small portion — approximately 2% — of the population, our Black students should always be remembered,” she said.
Sahakian, the executive director of the Armenian American Museum, cruised to a second term as the only candidate for his district. Despite being unopposed, he still received 5,100 votes.
“This was a very different experience for me, running in an unopposed election,” he said Tuesday, “and while I’m personally grateful for my mental health and my family’s mental health, I will say that overall, unopposed elections are not good for our democratic process, they’re not good for our community and ultimately not good for our school district.”
Bringing the question of term limits to voters was a signature issue for Sahakian in his first term, and he touted it as a tool to promote more political participation in local elections. Although not legally bound to do so, Sahakian has pledged to count his first term toward his limit in his effort to avoid uncontested races.
“We’ve seen that it has occurred more and more often, not only in our case but also our counterparts at Glendale Community College as well,” Sahakian added; all three of the elections for GCC’s Board of Trustees saw their incumbents run unchallenged for re-election in June. “I think it’s really important for us as elected officials to break down the barriers for the future public servants that we hope to step into these roles.”
Cross defeated two-term incumbent Armina Gharpetian with 4,317 votes, a 51.28% victory decided by 215 votes. She positioned herself as an outsider candidate who will advocate for children and also to close the social divide she said she observed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m just very excited to be here. I don’t have as much practiced or rehearsed to say, and I hope that comes as a welcome change,” she said. “After everything we have gone through, I just really want to share my appreciation to be here, and I look forward to serving our community, to serving the parents, to serving our children and to serving our teachers.”

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