Brittany Allison

Brittany Allison is one of nine candidates vying for three spots on the Bonita Unified School District Governing Board. Photo: Phil Ebiner

  • Mother of two pre-school-age children
  • Vice President of non-profit Social Justice Advocacy Project

What inspired you to run for School Board?
I went to school for education and have been passionate about education my whole life. My first job was at an SES (Supplemental Education Service), a government funded program that provides tutoring for students who need it. I’ve always valued the public good that education has to offer. I was a teacher until I decided to stay home and raise kids until they’re in school full time. I recognize the importance of getting varying perspectives on the board. I bring that. In this phase, it is in my capacity to serve on the board, and it is the best way to serve my community in the area I feel most passionate about. 

What experience do you have that would make you a good board member?
First, would be my educational background. I’ve worked as an SES tutor and program manager  for an at-risk district and worked for an after school and summer program that had the goal of preparing students for top tier schools. Those two experiences provided me a spectrum of experience. I attended the University of La Verne and spent four years teaching high school. My work with a non profit has provided me the actual experience of putting on a panel discussion with opposing views. You need to be a representative of the people you serve as a board member, and I have the experience of bringing together varying viewpoints to bring people together to work collaboratively. I also have experience dealing with budgetary concerns. I started a non profit organization with a non existent budget that brokered events with hundreds  of community partners. I look at budget issues creatively and utilize human capital resources as well. Lastly, my position as a mom: I am the mom to two biracial children. I began researching the school district from the perspective of a parent, and I have worked with some students from Bonita High who worked with our organization.  

What do you think we can do to keep our students safe and savvy in a more digital and technological environment?
We definitely need to pool knowledge. We need to be talking to them. I think about how much I don’t know about technology. I’ve spent about five minutes on TikTok. It would be foolish of me to think I can give an informed answer about TikTok. Bringing people in who know about parents filters on the internet need to provide filters. The number one thing [we need] is having digital knowledge, awareness and intentionality taught to our students. As much as we can have the conversation about restrictions, ultimately, we need to provide students the tools to navigate what they would face. 

Ultimately kids will be able to access [technology], so are we giving awareness lessons to students? “Savvy” is giving them those safe experiences to practice things, using technology in meaningful ways. Every classroom is going through this now because of remote learning–one of Covid’s silver linings. The educational sphere has been trending toward digitizing classrooms, flipping classrooms, and there’s some resistance to that. Now every teacher will get the  experience of getting familiar with these tools.

What milestones would need to be reached in order for you to be comfortable with schools reopening and staying open?
First, I appreciate your inclusion of “staying open” in the question because we’ve already seen too many schools jump the gun opening up and then having to quarantine and close back down. That back and forth is not only more difficult administratively and academically, but it’s also difficult for mental health. Another milestone would be a low enough rate of community spread and high enough rate of beds and vents. We also need to meaningfully contact trace. Having this school day program is helping us learn what we can do once we open.

One, we need to meet legal guidelines.

Two, we need to keep community health in mind. Helping the vulnerable populations in our community and recognizing the concern with community spread are important factors. Beginning within the guidelines of contraction rate and capacity, ensuring that we are not returning to school with the healthy in mind and forgetting about the impact that it has on others in the community are key considerations. 

Three, we must recognize the need to be flexible with family needs. Some schools have explored digital learning while other families are sending kids back. Ironing out what that means from an administrative standpoint is important before we jump into doing that. 

What other top issues do you care about?
I’m grounded in the belief that education’s priority is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for every single student. I would also include cultural celebration. It’s an opportunity that BUSD has to take a step ahead. I’m very excited about the Equity Committee that they have started. Even when equity issues are not in headlines, I’m interested to see what the board does. It’s important we maintain this as a priority even when it’s not a reactive one. A second one is prioritizing experiential learning in the classroom and providing high schoolers an opportunity to get involved in the community and explore different life paths. Access to trade schools, experiential learning–we are better serving them when we help them to find their purpose and help them to fulfill it. 

What is an interesting fact about yourself that your supporters may not already know?
My community engagement now certainly derives from how over-involved I was as a student. I was in ASB, sports, theater, academic clubs, etc. I was a very involved student on campus. I was in ASB in 5th grade all the way through to college. I see the fruits of that as a female who feels empowered to run for the school board. Every student’s schooling experience is instrumental in defining the community member they will become. 

Interviews were edited for clarity.

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