“Stability, service and safety,” will be the hallmarks of Patrice Marshall McKenzie’s service as a Pasadena School Board member if she wins the district 5 seat being vacated by Elizabeth Pomeroy.
“I know first-hand the transformative power of a quality public education and I want PUSD (Pasadena Unified School District) to continue to deliver on that promise,” she said. “To accomplish this, we must focus on [these] three pillars that build strong communities.”
Part of McKenzie’s to do list includes preparing for new Universal Preschool seats, expanding dual enrollment participation to include career and college preparation pathways, and delivering quality special education instruction and IEP services.
According to the PUSD website, its geographic service area encompasses Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre. There are about 18,500 students enrolled in the district, and when compared to those of general population, “reveal a community sharply divided along economic, geographic and ethnic lines. For example, while officially 12% of the 200,000 residents in the district service area live below the poverty line (source: US Census), 66% of PUSD’s students qualify for the federal free/reduced-price meals program.
“Sixteen of the district’s 18 elementary schools receive Title I funding based on the socio-economic characteristics of their students, and more than 66% of all students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. 59% of students are Latino, 13% are African-American, 18% are Caucasian, 7% are Asian/Pacific Islander and 3% are multiracial/other. 20% are English learners, and 11% of students are served for special needs. Almost 2% of PUSD students are in foster care, one of the highest rates among all districts in Los Angeles County…”
McKenzie is a product of PUSD, having entered into the system as a kindergartener. As a high school graduate from the district, she was well prepared, she said, to enter UC Berkeley. There, she studied critical pedagody and African American studies. She also holds a Master in Public Administration degree from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College of New York.
She has more than 15 years of experience working with state and local government leaders including members of the California State Legislature and the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. She has served as a direct liaison and local spokesperson between key stakeholders and elected officials.
“As a PUSD alumna and longtime Pasadena resident, I have focused my volunteer and community involvement around stability, service, and safety. Schools should uphold those same three pillars in our communities. Much of my career has been in my being a convener of people and working in collaboration across agencies, government, organizations and community stakeholders to accomplish goals and advance common agendas,” she said.
“I want to bring that same sense of collaboration, partnership and leadership to the Board of Education so we can accelerate our shared goals of providing the highest quality education to all students in Pasadena.”
Meanwhile, rounding out her to do list are tasks like focusing on student achievement. And, when it comes to safety, McKenzie said that she will tackle infrastructure improvements and the utilization of Measure O bond funds responsibly to improve campus facilities and technology.
Solidifying her plan, McKenzie said she plans to promote stronger, community engagement stronger advocacy in Sacramento and across public agencies, increase community partnerships and collaboration opportunities and meaningful parent and community engagement.