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Killackey Announces Bid for School Board Seat

Mike Killackey has announced he will run for a seat on the San Marino school board at the Nov. 3 election.

Stating a desire to “help out wherever I can,” Mike Killackey, a five-year resident of San Marino, has announced that he will be a candidate for one of two seats on the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education at the Tuesday, Nov. 3, election.
“No one knows how long COVID-19 — or our next major challenge — will impact our public schools, but I have no doubt these next four years are crucial to formulating and implementing a system that prepares the San Marino Unified School District to deliver high quality, robust education in any circumstance we face,” said Killackey. “In my experience, instability leads to opportunity for advancement.”
Killackey said he would focus on the physical health and safety of every student, teacher and staff member; emphasize continuity in academic rigor both on campus and through distance learning, and engage in daily ongoing and meaningful individual interaction with students to evaluate and respond to their social and emotional needs.
“Even during distance learning, I’d like to see our teachers offer office hours or find time to meet with every student at every level to facilitate personal communication,” Killackey said. “Those are the kinds of interactions that are often missing during distance learning and I would like to see us make up for that shortcoming.”
He also said he would work with the community and administrators to help adapt upon the eventual return of students to campus.
“We must work creatively within our state level constraints to minimize repeated interruptions to instruction,” Killackey said. “The best learning environment is a stable learning environment. In a highly volatile environment heavily influenced by COVID-19, SMUSD’s primary responsibility is student, teacher and staff safety, followed closely by stability, continuity and excellence in educational delivery, regardless of fluctuating infection rates. These factors, coupled with social and emotional health and adapted extracurricular activities, allow our students to be kids.”
Killackey also predicted decreased revenues for the SMUSD due to COVID-19 as well as decreasing enrollment, and proposes a possible restructuring of the district’s parcel taxes, further partnering with the San Marino Schools Foundation as well as researching a possible facilities bond as his fiscal priorities.
“My experience as a San Marino Schools Foundation trustee has allowed me to work intimately with the district to fully understand our fiscal challenges and creatively work to secure financial stability,” Killackey said.
He also said the board would benefit due to his experience as an attorney.
“Lisa [Link, who is not seeking reelection] has been instrumental in giving level-headed legal perspective on language and direction of policy for many years,” Killackey said. “The board’s role of developing and implementing policy will benefit from a legal perspective as part of its members’ diversity in experience and training.”
Killackey looked to the other members of the board and felt his skill set would benefit the panel.
“Joseph [Chang] is a healthcare administrator, Shelley [Ryan] is a public education administrator and Corey [Barberie] adds financial perspective,” Killackey opined. “Lisa’s legal perspective and insight must be replaced with someone who puts the interests of the district, its students, teachers and staff above all other interests.”
Killackey has volunteered for the San Marino Schools Foundation, where he has served as the annual campaign co-chair and as vice president of grants. Recently, he was a member of the School Reopening Task Force, where he served on four subcommittees. He has also been a parent representative on the Valentine Elementary School LCAP committee, and volunteered on the HMS and Valentine PTAs. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of San Marino and San Marino City Club.
Killackey grew up in El Monte and graduated from Arroyo High School in 1993. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara with degrees in business economics and sociology in 1997 and received his law degree from Loyola Law School in 2000.
Killackey’s wife, Stefanie is the immediate past president of Valentine Elementary’ School’s PTA and recipient of the Valentine PTA 2020 Honorary Service Award.
“Our board members must possess an experience and ability to assess and analyze legal constraints upon our district, weigh pros and cons in context of circumstance and creatively develop solid policy, which will avoid distracting and costly legal issues,” Killackey concluded. “My 20-year career as an attorney has prepared me for this position.”
The addition of Killackey on the ballot ensures there will be a contested election on Nov. 3.
Jane Chon, who was a candidate at the 2018 election, has stated that she will run in 2020 and last week, Jesse Hong also threw his hat into the ring. Board member Chris Norgaard has not yet stated his intentions. Candidates may file a declaration of candidacy with the county through Aug. 7.


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