Krista Chakmak

Krista Chakmak is one of nine candidates vying for three spots on the Bonita Unified School District Governing Board. Courtesy photo

What inspired you to run for School Board?
My inspiration for running for School Board was, is, and will always be my children and the children in our community. In March 2018, my son, Levi, had his third open heart surgery. He was blessed to have the best surgeon in the world and excellent care at the top-rated children’s hospital in the country. I realized soon after we got home that giving Levi “the best” physical care was only half the battle; we needed to also address the emotional toll of these ongoing medical challenges to help Levi’s seven-year-old heart heal, both physically and emotionally. I see a similar need for balance in school districts. Our test scores continue to rise as our kids maintain high GPAs, all while playing every sport under the sun, but are they HAPPY? Are they soulful, passionate, and fulfilled? Are they inspired and motivated? Will they leave our district as balanced human beings who are truly prepared to live fulfilling and productive lives? When we can answer YES to all these questions, we will truly achieve EXCELLENCE. I hope to play a role in this transformation by focusing on strengthening the emotional support systems we offer our children and increasing awareness of the essential balance between academic and social/emotional learning.

What experience do you have that would make you a good board member?
I have very deep relationships throughout this community and district, and I look forward to fostering the new and strengthening the old. I am an active member of our community, dedicating my time to a variety of community outreach projects, including the non-profit Save the Heartbeat Foundation and the City of La Verne’s Youth and Family Action Committee, Bond Oversight Committee for BUSD, Parent Advisory Committee to the Superintendent of BUSD and a two-year Board Member on Roynon’s PTA. Prior to starting my most challenging role as a mom to my two boys, I collected a wealth of knowledge, training and life experiences that have prepared me for the honor of serving as a BUSD School Board Member. I have grown and managed multi-million-dollar businesses and have directed large design projects and their complicated budgets, honing my multi-tasking, leadership and, most importantly, TEAMWORK skills along the way. And, as is so often the case, the curve balls of life have shaped me in unique and powerful ways. I am an advocate for my children. I know the struggles of having a child with a serious medical condition and emotional challenges. Until you live this you will never utterly understand that role. I want to be an advocate for all the children in our district!

What do you think we can do to keep our students safe and savvy in a more digital and technological environment?
Honestly, technology is not my strong suit. What I am good at is acknowledging my weaknesses and asking for help. I took that opportunity with this question and consulted people much more comfortable with technology.  It all starts with educating your children at home on what is appropriate and what is not. Be open and honest with them, and let them know if they see something that makes them feel uncomfortable that it’s ok to come to you.  Also, set parental controls on all devices, and check their history on devices they are using.  Be aware! I also think we should address this within our district. Offer training for both kids and parents.

What milestones would need to be reached in order for you to be comfortable with schools reopening and staying open?
I am comfortable with opening the schools now. We have guidelines and suggestions from the CDC. I believe that we can manage safely for those who want in-person education.

What other top issues do you care about?
(1) Mental Health
(2) Arts & Music
(3) Trade
(4) Ultimately finding balance for our children.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that your supporters may not already know?
This is a hard question!  I asked my six-year-old what he thought. He replied with, “That you’re beautiful, smart, a good soccer player, that you cook good and that you’re a great mama!” Thank you, my love!  Everything I do is for you, Levi, and all the children!

Interviews were edited for clarity.

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