HomeCommunity NewsStudents Are “Top Priority,” Says Board Candidate Jane Chon

Students Are “Top Priority,” Says Board Candidate Jane Chon


Jane Chon has two sons attending San Marino High School, a daughter at Huntington Middle School and another who will be to joining her siblings in a year at Carver School.

“I have them at all stages of life right now,” Chon said with a laugh. “It is interesting how my conversations with parents change drastically depending on which group I am with. We will have a conversation about what level of course work is appropriate for middle schoolers. Then I will be discussing college admissions. It’s all very interesting.”

Interesting and compelling all at once, which led Chon to throw her hat into the ring as one of seven candidates for three seats on the San Marino School Board at the Tues., Nov. 6 election.

“I think there is a lot of work the school board needs to do to move us forward as a school district while including all of the perspectives that have not been considered in the past,” said Chon, who has lived in San Marino for almost ten years.

“When I first came here I was impressed by the level of commitment and quality of education, but since then there have been a lot of changes in education,” Chon continued. “Now there is Common Core, funding challenges, and a change in leadership at the State level. On top of that, there is a very different political climate. I think that all came to a head here in our community about a year ago.”

Chon mentioned the proposed facilities modernization project that was eventually scrapped by the school board after substantial public opposition.

“I want to figure out how to engage the community,” she said. “The community is saying a lot of things at the school board and the school board is saying a lot of things at the community. This method is not working. We need to find a way to communicate with each other, not just at each other.”

“And it’s not communication for communications’ sake,” Chon continued. “We need to figure out what it is we are doing first of all. There are a lot of great programs at each school, but inconsistencies from one school to the next. The student experiences are not building on one another. We are a small school district and we need to have a unified experience from one school to the next.”

Chon mentioned performing arts and mathematics as two programs where her children had vastly different experiences.

“We have a lot of people who are really happy with what the schools provide and we need to continue to do that,” she said. “But there are programs out there that are innovative and creative and we need to start looking at how we get those into our schools.”

Chon is married to Dr. John Chon, who is an emergency room physician. The couple has twin boys in 11th grade at San Marino High School, a sixth-grade daughter at Huntington Middle School and a preschool-aged daughter.

Jane Chon graduated from Granada Hills High School in 1992. She received bachelors degrees in Political Science and Sociology from UCLA in 1996 and earned a Masters from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in Policy Analysis and Evaluation.

She then returned to her own middle school and taught on an emergency credential for one year.

“Teaching wasn’t something I planned on, but it was something I felt I needed to do to understand education,” she said.

Her husband’s education took the couple to Missouri, where she worked at Truman State University as a graduate school admissions advisor and counselor, and later to New Jersey, where she was a project manager at a non-profit education research firm.

The family moved to San Marino, where she immediately immersed herself in the PTA.

“Mostly Carver,” she added.

And now, perhaps a higher cause.

“There is a lot of work ahead between the parcel tax renewal, the search for a new superintendent, assuming we are currently hiring an interim, as well as looking at so many things that are happening at the state level,” Chon said. “There will be a lot of things that will change. Our board needs to know what the needs of education are and be able to work together and to work with a superintendent who will execute the vision of the school board. And the vision of what our school district needs to focus on has to be realistic, but also community driven. Our board needs to find a way to meet the desires of the community, but it needs to be done realistically.”

Chon said that her goals would include engagement with the community, faculty, staff and administration of the district and a comprehensive vision for San Marino’s schools.

And one more.

“We have to make sure that everything is in the best interest of our students,” Chon concluded. “They are our top priority.”


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