School Board’s Aim: Keeping Meetings Civil

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

The San Marino school board has scheduled another special meeting for Friday, Sept. 17, to discuss protocols and governance, according to its president, Shelley Ryan. That purpose, however, may not be as innocuous as it sounds.
Angelena Pride, who, represents the California School Boards Association, will facilitate the meeting, which is slated to begin at 8 a.m. at the San Marino Unified School District office
“Each of the last three meetings have contained incidents that showed a lack of civility among either members of the school board or members of the community,” said Ryan. “This is a policy that we have all agreed to follow and right now it is not happening.”

Pride previously met with the school board during a retreat at the Huntington Library in late July, when she guided the panel on developing unity of purpose and moral imperative to serve as its compass.
In late 2018 and early 2019, the board initiated a civility policy at the behest of Loren Kleinrock, who was serving as interim superintendent. Kleinrock had suggested the policy as a method to improve communication between the panel and the public at board meetings.
The board will also discuss the SMUSD’s budget and will consider possible work on the Barth Athletics Complex, which is experiencing plumbing issues. The meeting is open to the public.
The board is expected to discuss its open superintendent spot at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to Ryan. Jeff Wilson resigned from the superintendent’s post in April but remained in that position until June 30, when he took over at the Claremont Unified School District. The board has appointed Linda de la Torre as its acting superintendent.
On July 7, the board held a special meeting facilitated by education consultant Joel Shawn, a former superintendent elsewhere, who guided members through 2½ hours of discussions and exercises designed to explore the options that the panel should consider in its search for a successor to Wilson.
After that meeting, Ryan indicated there is no set timeline for the search: “Since high-quality education is dependent on high-quality leadership, the timeline in acquiring an excellent candidate is ensured through an extensive four- to five-month comprehensive process.”

Now in his 25th year at The Tribune, Mitch Lehman is Editor and Sports Editor in addition to being the public address announcer for ten sports programs at San Marino High School. Mitch is one of only a handful in the community to receive the ‘Very Special Person Award’ from the San Marino PTA at the annual Founder’s Day ceremony, was acknowledged as a 'Terrific Titan' by the San Marino High School PTSA, was named an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of San Marino and received a National Honorary Merit Badge in Journalism from the Boy Scouts of America. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in the past three years, Mitch has won seven awards and is a thirteen-time finalist in the California News Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest. In 2015, the press box at Titan Stadium was re-named 'Lehman's Loft' in his honor. You can reach Mitch at

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