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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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School

Los Alamitos Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Olaina Anderson

Olaina Anderson

Community Volunteer
6,832 votes (17.4%)
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Top 3 Priorities

  • Physical and Emotional Safety: Kids of any background or ability should feel safe. We need improved physical security systems and districtwide teacher and student education in social-emotional awareness, inclusion, and conflict resolution.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Former high school English and journalism teacher
President, Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS) Club of Seal Beach--Old Town — Elected position (2013–2015)

Education

CSULB Teaching Credential, Single Subject, Language Arts (1999)
UCSB--College of Creative Studies ('96) BA, Literature (1996)

Community Activities

Founding Member, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (Orange County) (2013–current)
Volunteer (Classroom, PTA), McGaugh Elementary School (2015–current)
volunteer/VBS teacher, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church (2011–current)
President, Newsletter Editor, Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS) Club International, Seal Beach--Old Town Chapter (2011–2015)

Biography

Hello, my name is Olaina Anderson and I am running for School Board Member of the Los Alamitos Unified School District. I am running because teachers and families need a true representative at the highest level of leadership in this district. I will be the only School Board Member who has a child currently enrolled in our district. I was a teacher in districts just like ours. I am proud to say that I am endorsed by our teachers union, the Los Alamitos Education Association.

Since my husband Justin and I moved to Seal Beach seven years ago with our then 11-month-old daughter Ella, I have been invested in this community. I’ve been the President of the MOMS Club of Seal Beach—Old Town, volunteer teacher for Vacation Bible School, and a founding member of the Orange County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I’ve gone to City Council meetings and victoriously argued for them to fix or replace the rusted out playground by the pier and then gone back to fight to keep four swings in instead of their plan to reduce the number to two. It's a family tradition for us to participate in Run Seal Beach—I pushed Ella in her stroller for the first few years, but now that she’s eight, she does the Kids Fun Run.

I am a former public high school English teacher, parent of a third-grade student in our school district, wife of a disabled veteran Marine, and graduate of K-12 public schools, UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in Literature, and Cal State Long Beach with a teaching credential. Now, I am a stay-at-home mom. My husband is an Emergency Medicine doctor.

To be clear, I married a full-time-security-guard-college-student-disabled veteran who only dreamed of becoming a doctor one day. We were both latchkey kids whose moms had gotten their bachelor’s degrees from Cal State colleges while also working and raising kids. We know living pay-check-to-pay-check, we know not asking for things, we know other kids being able to do things we couldn’t do just because their parents could afford it.

I was born in Canada to parents who immigrated from India in 1968, and then finished out their journey to the American dream when they moved with their young family to California in 1980. I was in first grade. They still live in my childhood home. I know if it weren’t for the hard work of my immigrant parents and my public school teachers I would not be here.

I live in a nice house, and am raising our brilliant, funny, beautiful eight-year-old daughter in our forever home with my incredibly supportive husband. We even have a dog.

I am living the AMERICAN dream.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

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 orientation. Every race. Every gender. Every nationality. Every ability. 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.

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