Tommy Lee Randle

Tommy Lee Randle is one of nine candidates vying for three spots on the Bonita Unified School District Governing Board. Photo: Rommel Alcantara

What inspired you to run for School Board?
I was inspired to run for the school board because I ran once before when my two children were students in the Bonita Unified School District. However, my parents lived in Texas, and my father died approximately 40 days before the election. I had to go to Texas to be with my mother during her grievance. I was not able to return to California and run a good campaign before the election. Therefore, in my opinion, I did not win because I was not able to campaign before the election.

What experience do you have that would make you a good board member?
Presently I am a California State Parks Commissioner. The Parks Director comes to the Commissioners to get approval for general plans, budget items and deferred maintenance priorities. The budget is submitted by the Governor and approved by the legislators. However, the commissioners have the ability to implement programs and express concerns expressed by local communities. We give the Parks Director our ideas, thoughts and programs that we want the Director to implement and to report back and educate the Commissioners on the progress of the program they have instructed the Director to implement. I was the Commissioner (a.k.a. Board Member) who set the priorities for deferred maintenance for the entire California State Parks System. I set the deferred maintenance priorities in 2010, and they are still viable today. I am the only Commissioner that sits on four ad hoc committees. I implemented and chair the diversity ad hoc committee that I introduced in 2018.

What do you think we can do to keep our students safe and savvy in a more digital and technological environment?
To help keep students safe and savvy in a more digital and technological environment would be for the student to have the correct and priority telephone numbers of counselors, teachers and caregivers responsible when and if a situation arises. The district can and will provide each child and their parents with telephone numbers for any situation that they feel is necessary to assist them through this environment.

What milestones would need to be reached in order for you to be comfortable with schools reopening and staying open?
The milestone that I would have to have in order for me to be comfortable with schools reopening are several. However, I will give a couple of major milestones: First the scientists and doctors would have to assure and convince me as well as the other governing board members that it is safe for the students to return to a normal school environment. These scientists and doctors would have to give me the evidence as to why and how they reached their conclusion, and they would also have to give the district a written statement to be distributed to parents and guardians of the students explaining why they have made this decision.

What other top issues do you care about?
When teachers have to pay for educational materials necessary to engage their students in the learning process, they should be reimbursed for out of pocket money. School is for learning and not just book knowledge but cultural knowledge of their peers as well. Therefore, it would be beneficial to implement a curriculum to discuss cultural issues of different races, ethnicities and cultures for understanding the benefits of diversity.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that your supporters may not already know?
I worked with the Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census during the 2000 Decennial as well as the 2010 Decennial. During the 2000 Decennial I was the government partnership specialist for the Los Angeles Region, and I visited every city, county and unincorporated area in the Los Angeles Region to get the mayors and city council to endorse the Census and give a proclamation of endorsement from that city. I was able to get every city that I visited to give us a proclamation of endorsement. During the 2010 Decennial I hired and trained 120 partnership specialists as ambassadors to go out into the public and educate the public about the benefits of the Census count to each community within the city, county and state. I hired, for the first time, a very diverse group of partnership specialists who spoke 49 different languages to go into the communities and educate their communities about these benefits. Because of this partnership program, the Los Angeles Region including Hawaii had the best Census count in its history. I also have a nonprofit corporation with the State of California, which is a disaster and solid waste remediation training and placement program. The name of the nonprofit is CALIFORNIA LEADING EDGE INC.

Interviews were edited for clarity.

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