Putting My Heart & Soul Into Lynwood Unified School District: Why I’m Running for Re-Election

While my commitment to ensuring students in all communities receive access to an array of opportunities that will allow them to be successful adults stems from my experience as an educator, my dedication truly derives from my roots — Lynwood.

I am a proud product of Lynwood schools and currently serve as a the Vice President of the Lynwood Unified School District Board of Education. I was first elected to the Lynwood School Board in 2013 and am now running for re-election to continue the great work we have done to move Lynwood forward.

In my first term on the board, we accomplished more than we had in years. We increased our graduation rates to 96% (above the national and state averages); we boosted A-G completion rates to close to 50% (higher than surrounding districts in neighboring communities); we invested $70 million dollars to improve our schools’ facilities to ensure our students have safe spaces to learn and play; and because our board advocated for open access to rigorous courses and programs like AP, Lynwood Unified was named 2017 AP National District of the Year.

We have done a great deal of work to improve our schools, but we know we have so much more work to do.

I first ran for office based on my lived experiences having grown up in Lynwood and attended Lynwood schools.  A little-known fact about me is that I initially planned on enlisting in the Marines. But after pre-enrolling and attending the pre-boot camp academy, I realized it was not the best path for me and decided to take my talents to the world of education and become a teacher.

I didn’t choose to teach because it was the easy route. It has been far from easy, but I believe it is something I was born to do. Still, as I began my career as a teacher, I couldn’t ignore that I now had a front-row seat to the inequities our students face. Even then, the students in my classroom had more opportunities, access, and resources than students had in Lynwood. After doing some soul searching, and consulting my family, friends, and mentors, I decided to run for the Lynwood School Board. Campaigning was difficult, and I was discouraged at times. The attacks were comical, but sometimes they were hurtful. And over the course of a campaign, I second guessed why I had signed up for all of it when I was happy with the impact I was having inside the four walls of my classroom.

But I endured. So much of it was just focusing on doing the work and putting myself in the best position to be one of the candidates my community believed in on election day. That meant canvassing on weekends and after work. That meant lunchtime at work was spent making phone calls or sending emails for the campaign. That meant my siblings, friends, and coworkers were drafted as campaign workers. That meant relying on all those around me for support and guidance as I knew that it took a village. Winning that first election meant more than just getting the most votes. It meant I had the support and confidence of my community. But I also had the weight of the responsibility to act in the best interest of the people who voted for me as well as those who chose another candidate. Most importantly, I was responsible for the educational aspirations and futures of kids in Lynwood schools.

When the campaign was over, the work continued as I had to learn how to properly govern. I had to search out best practices and find mentors. I had to build coalitions within my board because one of the first things you learn from serving on a governing board is that progress is made by consensus and no one individual can act or make change alone.

My first term has taught me so much about politics, education policy and most importantly, a lot about myself.

I am running for re-election because I believe in the potential of our district and all that we can achieve if we continue to work together. But also because I believe in the goals and dreams of our students and their families.

I am committed to fighting for our teachers to ensure they have the best professional development as well as sustainable salaries and benefits. I am committed to fighting for our parents to ensure they feel welcome on every campus and have dedicated spaces where they can find information, resources, training, and support. I am committed to fighting to ensure we have safe and clean campuses so we maintain environments that support learning, growth, and exploration, and I am committed to fighting to ensure our students have the access and opportunity that allow them to flourish in college and career.

I am committed to keeping Lynwood schools moving forward, and I hope I can gain your support.

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Alma Renteria

Alma Renteria

Alma-Delia Renteria is a proud product of Lynwood schools. After graduating UC Riverside, with a B.A. in English and a year earlier than anticipated, she decided to commit her “gap year” to City Year. After City Year Los Angeles, Alma went on to purse a teaching career with Teach For America Los Angeles. Upon joining TFA, Alma began her education career as a middle school teacher. It was while teaching that she realized the need to do her part to help serve the community she grew up in and decided to run for office, getting elected to the Lynwood School Board at only 23 years old. Alma completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University and is currently pursuing a 2nd Masters in Education Leadership and her Admin Credential. She was recently appointed by the Speaker to the Instructional Quality Commission and also serves as a Digital Learning Instructional Coach at a dual immersion school in Pico Rivera.

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