Chang Is Elected to Serve As School Board President

Four-term School Board Member Joseph Chang was elected Tuesday, Dec. 13 to serve his third one-year stint as board president, replacing Nam Jack. Shelley Ryan will spend the next year as vice president of the board and Lisa Link is now clerk.

The school board follows an informal progression that begins for members following their election.

Chang was first elected in Nov., 2001 and his term ends in 2018, due to the state’s recent directive to alter election cycles.

“This is a great honor and responsibility,” said Chang after the board’s annual game of “musical chairs,” in the words of Jack. “As you know, we are the #1 unified school district in California and our objective is to maintain this high standard. It is difficult to be always be #1, but I have a lot of confidence that our team will maintain the quality of education in San Marino’s schools.”

Chang also praised the SMUSD for its “very capable team.”

“That is why I do not hesitate, and take the presidency happily.”

Later in the meeting, the board heard a report from Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Julie Boucher, who said that the SMUSD is facing a projected $2 million shortfall in the 2017-18 school year.

“These next 12 months will be challenging financially,” Chang said on Wednesday afternoon. “For the next couple months, we need to pay attention to this issue and make it a priority. We must take responsibility for the district.”

Chang also said he looked forward to a good relationship with the San Marino Teachers Association.

In the final words she will speak from the president’s chair, Jack thanked “each and every one of you in this room.”

She called her fellow board members and school administrators “exemplars of what it is to serve faithfully and with humility.” Of Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss, Jack said it has been “a highlight” to work with him.

“I appreciate the fact that we as a district go beyond the norm,” she added. “To successfully tackle every challenge and dare to be great.”

As the reorganized board’s first item of business, each followed tradition and voted to donate their $240 monthly stipend back to the district’s general fund.

Chang and his wife, Shwu, are longtime residents of San Marino. The couple’s two sons both attended San Marino schools and graduated from San Marino High School; Frederick in 2006 and Patrick in 2009. Both are studying to be doctors.