Meet Estefany Alejandra Castañeda
New Leadership for Our Students
I am proudly the daughter of immigrant parents. My mother and father worked all their lives to offer me a better life. I inherited their values and culture, which are now rooted in my heart. My parents taught me to respect all people regardless of their social class, religion, or sexuality. From them I learned the importance of having integrity, kindness and a spirit of service toward others.
I was born and raised in Lennox, but like many of our students, I also had to go to high school in another city. I studied in the city of Manhattan Beach and immediately noticed the huge gap in my educational experience between Manhattan Beach and Lennox. The quality of education is indisputably better in Manhattan Beach due to funding and comprehensive supports. The enthusiastic involvement of students and parents amazed me in all aspects of education. Since being elected on to the school board, I’ve worked persistently to encourage community and parental involvement as I want every member of the community to feel heard in constructing a more comprehensive and inclusive education system. My experiences with school districts that have better resources, services and engagement for students and parents pushed me to get involved with my community to ensure our students have access to the same quality of education that other communities enjoy. Our students deserve better schools and an education that truly prepares them for school and the future in general. Though there have been new ballot measures to beautify our schools, new waves of gentrification are kicking students out of our community and stripping them from the ability to experience these new changes. Students deserve a system that lets them feel seen, nurtured and pushed to fully achieve their potential and own their future
As a member of the Lennox community where I grew up, my greatest aspiration is to work hand in hand with our community to ensure that all of our students get the quality education they deserve. I have the following goals that are critical to immediately improve the quality of education in our district and enrich the school experience: 1) Voice and empowerment for students, parents, and educators; 2) Transparency in all the processes and decisions that the school board makes; 3) Expand mental health programs for our students and families that are affected by adversity economically, socially, and through all types of violence; 4) Increase Special Education services and support for students and parents; 5) Engage and asses resources and professional training programs for teachers, material needs for classrooms and data on dual enrollment learning outcomes. I am aware that no single person can provide our students with the quality education they deserve.
I am aware that we can only achieve this goal together by uplifting and listening to each other. We need to work together in the same way that we would encourage our students to work together – with respect and a collaborative spirit. That is my fundamental proposal: that our board, educators, administrators, parents and students work to build new programs and channels of communication in order to guarantee our students a true education. Education should not be a factory business to generate profits for bureaucrats, contractors, and egotistical career politicians who aren’t genuinely interested in the future of our students. Our students are not merchandise to which their dreams and aspirations can be commodified; nobody should barter with their future. Educators who work hard every day and dedicate their boundless energy to our children should be supported and empowered – not used as instruments of profit for private interest.
For these reasons I am running for reelection to the Centinela Valley UHSD School Board. Our work is far from over and it would be an honor to again receive your support in transforming our school district together to finally benefit all of our students.