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Foster Not to Seek Re-Election to School Board

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By Jorge Casuso

August 8, 2022 -- Craig Foster -- the only Malibu resident on the School Board and an outspoken champion of the city's efforts to split from the District -- announced on Friday that he would not seek reelection.

Foster, who was first elected in 2014 when his daughter entered kindergarten at Webster Elementary, became the first Malibu resident to be elected in 10 years and the first to serve since 2008.

With his daughter "headed for her sophomore year in college," Foster said in his announcement letter that he is "no longer tied to the schools except as a board member."

"I am no longer the new set of eyes I was eight years ago," Foster wrote. "It is time for me to step aside to allow for stronger connections, newer energy, and new vision to invigorate the board once again."

Foster endorsed Malibu resident Stacy Rouse, praising her for "offering her calm, strength, and experience to all of us in the District."

"I am thrilled to know that Stacy has stepped forward in this moment," Foster wrote. "I am one billion percent behind her. I hope and trust all of Malibu and Santa Monica will be as well."

Rouse is following in Foster's footsteps as both Webster PTA president and as head of the Malibu Schools Leadership Council (MSLC).

Rouse is also a board member of Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS), the group leading the process toward creating an independent Malibu school district that Foster headed before mounting his campaign in 2014.

"Independent school districts," Foster said when he first ran, "create a structure that is better for Santa Monica kids and Malibu kids -- more attention from the school board, more money to fund programs. It makes sense for the district to pursue it."

His stauch advocacy of Malibu's divorce from the district culminated in a November 2020 letter calling the District's response to his city's move "deeply offensive, wildly hypocritical and completely inappropriate" ("LETTERS -- School Superintendent's Letter 'Wildly Hypocritical,'" November 3, 2020).

The letter prompted a response from School Board Chair Jon Kean, who called the accusations "inflammatory and unfair' ("OPINION-- School Board Member's Accusations 'Inflammatory and Unfair,'" November 5, 2020).

In his parting letter, Foster said his service on the Board "has been one of the great privileges of my life.

"I have been honored by your faith and trust in me and offer my deepest gratitude. All things must end, however," he said.

"I thank you all again for the love and support this community has lavished on me during these past eight years of service."

Foster's announcement leaves three incumbents in the race for four open seats on the School Board -- Laurie Lieberman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, who have qualified for the November 8 ballot, and Keith Coleman.

Challenger Alicia Mignano is the only one of the five challengers who pulled papers to have qualified for the ballot as of Monday.

If an incumbent does not file, as is the case with Foster, the deadline to submit nominating papers is extended to August 17 at 5:30 p.m.

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