BALDWIN PARK – Baldwin Park Unified School District’s Board of Education on Dec. 11 unanimously selected resident Betsabel Lara to fill a vacancy through the November 2018 election.
Lara, a pupil services coordinator with the Los Angeles Unified School District, will be sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 16. She will complete the term of Carlos Lopez, who stepped down in October due to health concerns.
“We are excited to welcome Betsabel to our board. She is an educator of the highest caliber as well as a dedicated member of our community,” Board President Teresa I. Vargas said. “Together, we will continue to make strides toward our shared mission of serving the children of Baldwin Park.”
Lara holds a master’s degree in social work from USC and a master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She has worked for L.A. Unified – primarily in counseling services – since 2007. Before that, she was a social worker in the Los Angeles County Department of Children & Family Services.
She is active in Ladies of Los Angeles (LOLA), a nonprofit group that supports foster youth and the homeless; she has also served as co-director of El Querer es Poder, a program under LOLA that assists young adults seeking their GEDs. Lara has also coached at-risk middle school students through Students Run LA, a group that helps students set goals, learn teamwork and develop character as they train for the L.A. Marathon.
Lara said she decided to seek the board position because she wants to ensure today’s youth has every opportunity to pursue higher education or career technical training. A child of immigrants, she didn’t have the help she needed to navigate the higher education options when she graduated from high school.
“As a counselor, I have always encouraged my students to do better and informed the families I worked with about these opportunities,” she said. “As a board member, I can bring my passion for the work that I do and advocate for our students and families.”
Among her goals: Elevating Baldwin Park Unified’s already strong graduation rate to 100 percent, boosting the reclassification of English learners as fluent in English, ensuring schools are safe, and giving parents a voice in their children’s education.
“We welcome Lara’s commitment to excellence as an echo of our mission to ensure high achievement for all of Baldwin Park Unified’s students,” Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza said.
The board includes Vice President/Clerk Diana E. Dzib, Member Santos Hernandez, Jr. and Member Christina Lucero.