Yes, of course, Lawana Richmond is one of San Diego’s most passionate educators, however, she’s got something up her sleeve!

The School Board

From Foster care to Professor, Lawna knows first hand where and how education can lose its way, but most importantly, Lawana tells a different story of how education can transform when transformers are sitting at the Board of Education.

Lawana Speaks with Editor, Cheryl Morrow about what her plans are for the future.

SDMN: What made this position one you wanted to fill?
LW: It started with a desire to make sure the people in District E had a representative that is of and for them. As I delved deeper and increased my knowledge and understanding, I realized I could do more than just make sure information and concerns were making their way to the table. My skills and experience with solving problems in academic environments could help with making sure the restorative justice practices initiative is implemented more widely and effectively.  The audit of Local Control Funding Formula spending revealed a need for better stewardship with more accountability. I’d also like to make sure the voice and concerns of district students and parents receive the respect and level of priority they deserve.

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SDMN: Tell us what a board Member does?
LW: Primary responsibilities for a board member include setting direction and policy for the school district in conjunction with the other board members. The policy of the San Diego Unified School District is to not have anyone board member acting alone on behalf of the board. “The superintendent is the board’s sole point of direction to the operational organization. The board will set the direction for the operational organization only through the superintendent, functioning as the Chief Executive Officer. However, nothing herein shall prohibit a constructive, two-way dialogue with students, staff, parents, and the community as a means to engage all stakeholders in the work of the board and the district.” per San Diego Unified School District’s governance policies.  Italicization and underline added for emphasis. 

SDMN: Why is it so important that a Board member keep a pulse on what really going on in the classroom or is that important? 
LW: When setting policy and strategic direction, it is important to have a good understanding of the current state.  Sitting upon a dais and making decisions without putting boots on the ground is like shooting in the dark. Our children and the other stakeholders in the district all deserve better. 

SDMN: Why do schools become broken in your opinion?
LW: In my opinion, school boards become broken when members put other things before the needs of the children, or disengage from their constituents. When people forget to maintain a good connection with the people they are elected to serve, they tend to lost touch with what is happening or even why they are there. 

SDMN: What ‘s your vision? LW:  My long term vision is to get back to a state in which children look forward to school and feel like they missed something important when they are not in the classroom. I want to help lead an organization that is preparing our children to thrive in the future that I envision an environment where children who have conflict are educated and learn to respond to conflict in ways that are healthy and prepare them to be good conflict managers as adults. Most importantly, I see a path to schools where children are adequately fed and feel safe while they are at school. 

SDMN: What’s your message to those who have lost faith in the public school system?
LW: As bleak as things may seem, our children can’t afford to have us give up.  Together, we can make things better for our children.