21 Aug 2014
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Candidate Q and A: Michael Christensen

School Board candidates answer questions from Patch.

Candidate Q and A: Michael Christensen

Glendora Patch asked the candidates for Glendora Unified School Board to answer questions before the Nov. 5 election. All the candidates answered the same questions via email.

Their answers will be posted in the next few days.

The second Q&A is from candidate Michael Christensen.

Name: Michael Christensen
Age: 34
Occupation: Businessman

1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected or reelected to the GUSD School Board.

Born and raised in Glendora, I have lived here for 34 years where I had the great benefit of attending La Fetra Elementary, Sandburg Middle School and Glendora High School where I graduated from in 1998. Following high school I attended Citrus College before transferring to Azusa Pacific University where I obtained both my bachelors in Organizational Leadership and my Masters in Education. During my masters program at Azusa Pacific University I had the great opportunity of working as a school counseling intern at both Glendora High School and Lone Hill Middle School. Growing up my parents and grandparents modeled the importance of community service, which afforded me the opportunity of being part of many great organizations within our community including Boy Scout Troop 483 where I earned my Eagle Scout in 1994 and Foothill Presbyterian Hospital Junior Auxiliary where I served as both Treasurer and Junior Volunteer President. As an adult I have maintained my commitment to community service through my involvement in School Site Council at both Sellers Elementary and Goddard Middle School.  My wife Anna and I are proud parents of two teenage children, Natasha (13) is in 8th grade at Goddard Middle School and Andrew (14) is a freshman at Glendora High School and we are anxiously awaiting the birth of our third child in November. It is my goal to work with our school board to support the direction of the Glendora Unified School District as we strive to provide a superior education to our children during these trying economical times.

2. What do you think distinguishes you from other candidates? What do you bring to the table?
There are a variety of things that distinguish me from the other candidates, however I feel that one of the most important distinctions is the fact that I have children that attend schools in our district.  By having two children who attend school in the Glendora Unified School District I have been given the opportunity to become extremely involved within our schools not only as a parent, but I I have have also had the opportunity to sit on the School Site Council at both Sellers Elementary School and Goddard Middle School.  Having kids in the district has also given me the ability to hear first hand about the day to day activities and issues that take place within our schools not only from my kids, but from their teachers and friends parents.  I feel that this is extremely valuable as what better resource than to be able to hear about not only the challenges that we face within our schools but the success that we have as well.  Another key factor that I feel distinguishes me from the other candidates is that I have a Masters in Education with a Credential in School Counseling from Azusa Pacific University.  Not only does this continue to show my vested interest and concern about education but it also afforded me the opportunity to work as a School Counseling Intern at both Glendora High School and Lone Hill Middle School during the Fall Semester of 2010.  This experience allowed me to have the opportunity to witness firsthand many of the issues that are impacting not only are students but our teachers and support staff on a day to day basis as well as witness many of the great things that we are doing to enhance the education of our students including the implementation of the Naviance program at Glendora High School. Furthermore, my experience interning at Lone Hill Middle School in San Dimas gave me the opportunity to see how other districts are doing things and afforded me to have additional insight as to what programs may or may not be working.

3.  What kind of experience do you have working with budgets?

In business I have had the opportunity to work with budgets on a variety of different levels, from forecasting, profit and loss all the way up to fund allocation.  While working with budgets has never been my primary responsibility I fully understand the need of having a responsible and reasonable budget.  I also understand the importance of ensuring that budgets are used in the most responsible way possible to ensure that we get the most out of our said budget.  It means nothing if you set a budget and have the inability to maintain the budget or don't spend enough time looking at the various different levels that resources need to be allocated to.  Budgets need to be made in a very methodical and calculated way to not only ensure that we stay on budget but to ensure that we are getting the most from it.

4. What are your thoughts on Local Control Funding Formula? How do you think this will impact Glendora Unified?

I am personally thankful that the Department of Education has made an attempt to do something about our over complex budget system.  I feel that Local Control Funding will increase the flexibility and therefore allow the ones who are closest to the students and therefore  the ones that know what areas of our District the funds are needed the most to make the decisions.  Local Control Funding will also hold Glendora Unified more accountable to ensure that the funds are used in a responsible manner.  It is my hope that as a result of the Local Control Funding Formula that we will be able to reduce the class sizes and begin to allocate funds to resources that have a larger impact on our students and their education.

5. What are the most pressing issues facing Glendora Unified? How do you think the district should approach or resolve these issues?

Aside from the the obvious financial difficulties that Glendora Unified and many of the other surrounding districts are facing, I feel that some of the most pressing issues that are facing Glendora Unified would be the need to use   technology in the classroom and our ability to respond to that need.  Many of the teachers within our district are continuing to implement technology within the classroom but are facing many challenges in their efforts to do so.  Some of these challenges would include their access to ipads and the fact that not every student has the ability to have a smart phone that can be used within the classroom so that they can access some of the material that the teachers want to provide for them.  As we all know, we are living in a digital age and now more than ever we need to be able to provide the necessary resources within the classrooms so that our students can keep up.  Another issue that we our facing is that due to the increase of technology and computers now more than ever we need to be able to teach our students how to type.  As a result of the new Common Core Standards our 5th grade elementary students will be required to type a paper, however many of them have never been introduced to a typing class.  We need to implement typing and basic computer skills into our curriculum or as a much encouraged elective to once again ensure that we are doing everything that we possibly can to set our students up for success.

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