Voters on the Palos Verdes Peninsula gave their local school board a partial makeover on Election Day, Nov. 6, as three of five seats were up for grabs and two newcomers were elected to fill seats.
According to unofficial results from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office, with 100 percent of the votes counted for all 40 precincts, candidate Megan Crawford received the most votes, with 28.3 percent, followed by incumbent board member Richard Phillips, with 26.08 percent. Matthew Brach won 23.3 percent.
Just missing out on a seat was candidate Jeannie Hahn, who came in fourth with 22.3 percent of the vote, according to the county clerk.
Richard Phillips, who was appointed to a seat in February after Malcolm Sharp resigned, now gets the opportunity to serve a full four-year term.
"I think people were comfortable with me having been on the board and demonstrated that I always act in the best interest of students," Phillips said Wednesday, Nov. 7 about his victory. He said his goals for his upcoming term are focusing on academic excellence, fiscal responsibility and student well-being.
"Those are the three paths that I'll continue on over the four years," he said.
Crawford, 26, is a sixth grade math and science teacher with the Redondo Beach Unified School District. She campaigned on balancing the district budget; adding additional resources, such as mental-health counselors; and reducing the district’s carbon footprint by increasing energy efficiency.
"I am so happy that the residents of Palos Verdes feel like it's valuable to have a teacher, or an educator on the school board," she said. "I thought it was essential to have a person on the board who understands K-12 education from an educator's perspective."
"I'm really excited to begin this journey as a board member and make our schools even better than they are," said Crawford on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Brach, who runs a real estate development company, barely edged out Hahn, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Brach ran on a campaign platform with stated top priorities of ensuring campus safety, proper budget management—including a “classroom first” policy when it comes to funding—and promoting dialogue between board members and the community.
The school district serves about 11,400 students, and has 10 elementary, three intermediate and two high schools, plus a continuation school.