Candidate advocates Early College program for Muir, as well as vocational PCC curriculum
Published : Monday, April 16, 2018 | 5:17 AM
Standing in the shade of a lemon tree before dozens of friends and supporters in the front yard of her Northwest Pasadena home Saturday, Pasadena Community College District Area 3 Trustee Berlinda Brown kicked off her re-election campaign for her third term in office.
Brown was joined by State Senator Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymember Chris Holden, Pasadena Unified School District School Board Members Michelle Richardson-Bailey and Scott Phelps, and City Councilmember Tyron Hampton.
Brown was originally elected to the governing board of the Pasadena Area Community College District in 2009, to represent Northwest Pasadena.
She had worked as a health care professional for the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center for more than 30 years, before retiring.
Before the kick-off event, Brown talked about how her work with an unsuccessful mayoral campaign began her foray into politics eight years ago.
“I had been working with Robin Salzer on his Mayoral campaign, and that was so inspiring to me,” she recalled. “We knocked on doors all over Pasadena, and I learned so much.”
When that campaign ended, Brown received a phone call from an admirer, who, inspired by her work, invited her to run for an open trustee seat.
Now she was knocking on doors for herself.
Once elected, Brown pushed for a strong vocational component for Pasadena City College.
“I love vocational education,” said Brown. “A heavily academic education might not be right for every student, especially in Northwest Pasadena.”
Brown cited her own studies with vocational school soon after arriving in the United States from Costa Rica, and knowing little English.
“I took three courses,” she said, “And I failed them all.”
But, encouraged by the doctors in the radiology lab where she was working, she returned to PCC, and enrolled in entry-level English courses rather than the advanced science classes she had been taking, eventually passing them all. Her studies led her to an interest in becoming an X-ray technician. She once again returned to vocational school to earn her license, and begin a new career.
She eventually also earned an associate in arts degree at East Los Angeles College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Dominguez Hills.
Not only does Brown advocate for vocational courses, she is an equal proponent of providing college-level courses for high school students.
As Councilmember Hampton, a former PUSD School Board member recalled, “As soon as she was elected, she called and told me she wanted to set up a program at Muir High School. I agreed right away.”
Eventually 45 spots were opened and available.
Hampton recalled, “She said to me, ‘Tyron, this has to work. We need 45 students or we lose the program.’”
Over the three-day enrollment program, 150 ninth-grade students applied for the 45 slots, he said.
Brown is also currently advocating for the lease of a building to house a Muir High School Satellite Campus for those students who wish to participate in the program. She had visited a similar satellite campus at Rosemead High School four years ago, and called PUSD Board Member Phelps the next day, saying she wanted one at Muir for the Early College program.
According to Phelps, negotiations are proceeding smoothly and the campus building should be available “soon.”
The election for Pasadena Community College District Trustee will be held June 5, 2018.