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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

SGUSD Governing Board serves with passion

Bren Belmonte
COMMUNITY LEADERS Governing Board members (left to right) Shellhart, Haas, Chi, Alvarado, and Scott show their lighthearted side before getting to business at a board meeting on Feb. 14.

   The San Gabriel Unified School District (SGUSD) Governing Board consists of five elected representatives from the community who meet about once or twice every month at the district office to discuss issues related to SGUSD. The board oversees district policies and the annual budget, often working closely with the superintendent to implement proposed actions and evaluate the results.

   Gary Thomas Scott

  President Scott has served on the board since 2013. Since he started teaching high school band at 22, he has taken on a variety of roles in education, but his spark for teaching continues to burn bright.

   “There are some people in this world that are just born with a teacher’s heart,” Scott emphasized. “I still get so excited when I walk into a classroom.”

   A large part of being a school board member involves being a liaison to the local community, according to Scott.

   “We are all elected by members in the community to represent their vote, their voice, their desires, their wants for what kinds of experiences they want their students to have,” Scott remarked.

    Christina Alvarado

   School Board Vice President Alvarado returned to the board in 2015 after previously serving a few years, and has been a member since.

   Alvarado is especially proud of her involvement in the development of SGUSD’s VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) program and Mental Health and Student Support program, which has “evolved into a comprehensive wellness program complete with counselors, social workers and many other supports including special needs,” according to Alvarado.

   The small size of the district also allows Alvarado to connect with the community.

   “I also appreciate staying on course with our collective goals, which are captured in Portrait of a Graduate,” Alvarado said. “That is our north star.”

   Aside from being a member of the board, Alvarado works as the Executive Director of a nonprofit that addresses childcare needs in LA County.

    Rochelle Kate Haas

   Haas was originally elected to the board in 2018, after having been previously involved in school site councils and PTA at her kids’ schools.

     “I love being able to attend school events and visit classrooms during site visits. Our teachers and staff are very innovative and our students do some really awesome things in the course of their studies,” said Haas.

   For Haas, the district is also the root of many meaningful memories with her family.

   “I […] was thankful for being able to give the commencement speech when my daughter graduated from Gab in 2021,” said Haas. “It was a very special time.”

   Haas is currently serving as the clerk. Outside of the district, she is a math and science teacher at a private middle school and is currently pursuing a degree to become a school and clinical counselor.

    Cheryl Shellhart

  Shellhart was elected to the board in 2015 and was inspired to join because of her family’s long history growing up in the SGUSD school system, which spans three generations. Upon joining, she was especially passionate about bringing attention to Special Needs students within the district and making sure everyone felt included within the school community..

   “I appreciate everyone in our district at every level no matter who you are or what you do,” Shellhart said. “I have always felt like it was a family.”

    Shellhart works in banking, and finds it important that many of the other board members have experience in other job sectors.

   “I think that’s what makes our board so great,” Shellhart said. “We bring different perspectives into the decisions we make based on information we receive and experiences we have.”

     Gina Chi

   Chi is the district’s newest board member, having joined on Dec. 13, 2022. She was elected to fill the position left by outgoing member Ken K. Tcheng.

   Chi took on the role because she has two young kids attending Wilson Elementary.

  “So far, what I’ve enjoyed the most about this position is getting to know all the schools better and feeling closer to the community,” Chi said.

      Chi took on the role because she has two young kids attending Wilson Elementary and sought to engage with their education by being more involved in the district.

    “Now [that I’m] in this role I’m finding out that, in the educational system, there’s so many acronyms,” Chi joked. “I need to keep stopping [to say] ‘I’m sorry, what is that?’”

   Even with her relative inexperience, Chi feels included on the board.

   “Everyone has been so welcoming and they are happy to consider any questions,” Chi revealed. “I truly appreciate it.”

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About the Contributor
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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