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Mechur to be Named to School Board

By Jorge Casuso

August 7 -- Architect Ralph Mechur -- a tireless volunteer and education activist -- is expected to be appointed to the School Board Thursday night, District officials announced Monday.

Mechur, who has served as president of the Education Foundation for the past five years, will replace Emily Bloomfield, who resigned from the board to move east with her family shortly after being reelected to a four-year term in Novemner 2006.

Mechur would serve until November 2008, when an electon will be held to fill the vacated seat for the next two years.

“Schools are an integral part of society,” said Mechur, whose daughter graduated from the district in 1999. “The future is our kids. I have a lot to offer to keep our schools at the level that they are.

“The challenge is always to maintain the success that we’ve had, to close the achievement gap (between white and minority students) and to deal with the continuing financial issues that face education,” he said.

Distrit officials praised Mechur’s commitment and dedication to the distrcit.

“I think he will make a marvelous School Board member,” said Board member Dr. Jose Escarce. “He has longstanding experience working on a wide variety of issues, and he’s incredibly selfless and passionate.

“He has a committmentmnt to making the whole district and the schools better,” Escarce said. “There aren’t that many people who devote as much time to the schools.”

Mechur has served on the School District’s Facilities Master Plan Committee, the Measure “BB” Advisory Committee and the SMMUSD Capital Improvements Oversight Committee.

A resident of Santa Monica for three decades, Mechur has remained a key player in the education arena long after his daughter graduated, helping to lead a grassroots movement that pressured the City Council three years ago to give the district more than $6 million in annual funding.

But although he has served on numerous committees, as well as on the City’s Architectural Review Board and Planning Commission, Mechur has never sought elected office.

“I thought about it, but there have always been good folks,” he said.

When Bloomfield vacated her seat, Mechur said, “it just seemed the right time for me to put my name in and serve.”

Mechur’s experience should make it easy for him to assume the post, district officials said.

“Bringing Mr. Mechur on board will be a smooth transition due to his level of involvement, expertise, and demonstrated past commitment to the district,” Board President Kathy Wisnicki said in a statement issued Monday.

“Mr. Mechur is certain to be a valuable asset to the SMMUSD Board of Education,” said Superintendent Dianne Talarico. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to the board based on his participation on numerous district committees and advisory boards during the past several years.”

Mechur has also held teaching positions, including Project Coordinator with the Los Angeles City Building Educational Programs, Coordinator with the Hoover Street School Environmental Learning Project, and most recently as a Studio Lecturer at USC’s School of Architecture.

During his spare time, Mechur enjoys surfing, playing soccer and reading.

 

“Schools are an integral part of society. The future is our kids." Ralph Mechur

 

“He has longstanding experience working on a wide variety of issues, and he’s incredibly selfless and passionate." Dr. Jose Escarce

 

 

 

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