HomeSchools & YouthSchool Board Roles Shift Ahead of New School Year

School Board Roles Shift Ahead of New School Year

By Eliza Partika
Glendale News-Press

The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education rotated its leadership this week, welcoming in new School Board President Jennifer Freemon, Vice President Shant Sahakian and Clerk Ingrid Gunnell. Nayiri Nahabedian rotated off as president to become a Board member.
“It’s been my pleasure to serve in this capacity for over a year now. Excellent schools have the power to lift an entire community,” Nahabedian said in her closing remarks. “Together we have built an educational environment that welcomes all children, fosters growth, nurtures curiosity and prepares every student for success in college, career and in life.”
The Board presented Nahabedian with a plaque, after which newly appointed Board President Freemon complimented the former president.
“I want to appreciate your fierceness. You are someone who will not let a single one of our children fall through the cracks,” she said.
One card from Declan Floyd, the district representative for state Sen. Anthony Portantino, read: “I’d just like to join the chorus of thanks to you, Madame President, for your extraordinary service this year, and your leadership. It certainly has not been an easy year as Board president, but I want to thank you for how you’ve led these meetings with fairness, with respect, and ensuring everyone’s voice is heard.”
During the meeting, Board members were given their school site assignments for the 2023-2024 school year. Board policies, the open house, graduation, promotion and back to school schedules were reviewed as well.
The Board welcomed Darneika Watson as interim superintendent of schools while the district searches for a full-time superintendent to assume the position vacated by Vivian Ekchian last month.
“To the esteemed Board members, I sit aside for the first time at the dais and thank you for embracing the work and leading with integrity. It’s truly an honor to serve with each of you,” Watson said in her first remarks as interim superintendent.
She also thanked Ekchian for leading the school through difficult times during her tenure and ensuring that each student prospered.
“You made sure every student matters, and that every student can and will achieve. I personally wanted to thank you for being a mentor. You’ve walked the walk and blazed the trail. I stand on the shoulders of giants,” she said.
Freemon added that the Board will continue to focus decision making by putting “student needs front and center, basing our decisions on around what is best for our students and what will truly support their growth and development into the best version of themselves. That has been the culture of this district for many years.”


A representative for the Glendale Teachers Association was concerned that some of the proposed revisions to Board meeting policies could prevent proper discourse with the public.
There were two parts of the policy they hoped the Board would consider revising: a new rule limiting members of the public to one comment per meeting, and banning all signage, posters, placards and banners from meeting rooms.
“While GTA agrees that no one person should monopolize the mic during public comment, and we support the muting of the microphone should the speaker go off topic, there are Board meetings where multiple agenda items are relevant to Glendale educators and our students, and it is important for the Board to hear the perspective of educators,” the representative said.
Of the signage ban, she said: “The GTA believes this exceeds what is necessary to guarantee the safety and security of the Board.”

First published in the July 15 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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