HomeSchool Board Candidates’ Statements

School Board Candidates’ Statements

Five candidates have announced their intention to run for two open seats on the San Marino Board of Education at the Tuesday, Nov. 3, election. A candidates’ forum was held recently and can be viewed on the San Marino City Club’s website at

Julie Chan Lin

As a 30-year-resident of San Marino and a 1994 graduate of San Marino High School, SMUSD schools are very important to me. While my fondest memories are of the extracurricular activities at SMHS, equally important were the opportunities I had to grow academically. After graduation from SMHS, I attained a business degree from USC before having a career in television journalism.
I decided to raise my three daughters in San Marino because I wanted them to attend SMUSD’s outstanding schools like I did. As a mother, I observe, listen and do research with an open mind to meet each of my children’s individual needs regarding their education. Currently, two of my daughters are at a private school and my youngest attends Carver. I am committed to making SMUSD schools the best option for children in this community. I will ensure that educational programs that have been promised but not wholly realized become fully implemented and make these academic opportunities available to as many students as possible.
Over the past several years, my involvement in the district has included: (1) planning and hosting a Town Hall meeting in 2018 to engage the community about the then $148-million-dollar bond; (2) developing the San Marino Schools Participation Forum Facebook page to engage more parents in conversations about the SMUSD; and (3) filming school board meetings so that busy parents could understand what was happening in the district. Unfortunately, some people in the district were unhappy with my efforts to increase transparency and make information more readily available and I was sent a cease-and-desist letter to stop filming meetings, which had the opposite effect on me — it inspired me to stand up not only for my rights, but for those of other parents. Having shown dedication to accountability, honest communication and transparency within the SMUSD, many in the community encouraged me to run for a school board seat to work for the benefit of all of our students.
Once elected, I will be a voice of courage and hope for parents who feel they have not been heard.  I promise to always put the students first in every decision and to govern with passion, commitment and care to bring positive change to SMUSD.

Jane Chon

I received my master’s degree from the Stanford University School of Education in policy analysis and evaluation, and am trained to understand and apply proven research, policies and practices to improve the student experience. I have supported public schools for over two decades with data-driven decision making and critical analyses of the impact of educational programs.
My past work experience as a middle school teacher, college academic adviser and education researcher brings practical experience to inform my decision making.
My commitment to serving San Marino schools stems from the experiences of my four children. My twins graduated from San Marino High School (class of 2020) and my daughter is in 8th grade (our second time around at Huntington Middle School!). My last child has us starting over at Carver Elementary School, and is in 1st grade this year.
Our family’s experiences have inspired tremendous appreciation for the San Marino community, teachers and volunteers. My own favorite volunteer roles include being Grad Night and Carver Carnival co-chair, engaging parents as room representatives coordinator and Speech & Debate Boosters vice president, and supporting teachers while serving as the Teacher Mini-Grants coordinator.
As a San Marino school board member, I will engage the community in forming an educational master plan to guide our district policies. I would advocate to:
• Stabilize the finances of the school district, controlling spending and increasing resources without overtaxing our community
• Implement teacher-driven, innovative and relevant educational practices that support students in the pursuit of their passions in and out of the classroom
• Ensure accessibility and transparency as we engage around the issues of school finance, reopening schools, teaching and learning, personnel and infrastructure
As the only candidate with a deep knowledge in education research and practice, combined with a demonstrated commitment to the San Marino community, I will serve the families of San Marino with experience, integrity and faithfulness. Your vote can put us firmly on the path to continued excellence. I look forward to walking that path with you and ask you to vote for Jane Chon for the San Marino school board.
Thank you.
Please visit

Jesse Hong

A 20-year resident and a parent of a current SMUSD student, I am running for the school board because I care about San Marino. In the past 15 years, I have served in leadership positions with SMSF, Chinese School, and on district committees. I am passionate about the education and well-being of our children. As a board member, my immediate goal is to see a successful reopening of campuses. As a pharmacist, I will lead the district to a healthy and safe return of our students. Another priority is school finance. I want to see transparency and accountability with the district budget. Academically, I look to expand our STEM curriculum with Caltech and USC. I want to support more VAPA programs. I believe our students should have a well-rounded education.
I served for seven years as an SMSF trustee, and treasurer for three of those years. This leadership position prepared me to understand the evolving nature of the district’s budget. I also have direct experience working with parents, students and teachers. I was principal and treasurer of the Chinese School for five years, where I managed 30 teachers and 600 students. In 2019, I joined the Facilities Advisory Committee that assessed and prioritized district infrastructure projects. This past summer, I was on the Reopening Task Force, lending my expertise to health-related issues.
I received three degrees from the University of Southern California including a bachelor’s, an MBA, and a Doctor of Pharmacy. For the past 25 years, I have practiced pharmacy in county mental hospitals, at Kaiser clinics and state Medicaid. Currently, I am the owner of the Ramona Pharmacy Group, an independent pharmacy chain in the San Gabriel Valley area. I am a San Marino Rotary member and a 20-year director on the board of the USC Pharmacy School Alumni Association.
I bring decades of school and community service leadership to the San Marino school board. I am familiar with the issues at SMUSD through my volunteer activities. I know what is needed at schools and how to achieve those goals. I will work hard for our students and make sure that SMUSD remains the best in California. Please vote for experience, leadership and vision. Please vote for me, Jesse Hong. Thank you!

Mike Killackey

SMUSD faces significant immediate and long-term challenges. Now is the time to elect a proven leader, an effective decision maker with hands-on experience of working with district leadership to understand and address our financing and budget constraints while maintaining our San Marino tradition of world-class education. We need leaders who step up for our students, not step out on them; leaders who embrace equity, fairness and inclusion, not division, distraction and abandon; leaders dedicated to the steadfast principle that every child deserves to identify and achieve their maximum potential. We need leaders with an open eye toward constructing opportunity when others merely criticize. My proven leadership experience, skills, principles and values will promote our board’s ability to set forth well-reasoned policy embracing every child for who they are, the vision to see what they can become and the dedication to make it happen.
My dedication and loyalty to SMUSD students has consistently compelled me to work with our district to truly and meaningfully understand our challenges and partner with our community to overcome them. When I witnessed public school financing as SMUSD’s primary challenge to every child receiving the highest-quality education, I immediately became a San Marino Schools Foundation trustee, annual campaign co-chair, and thereafter vice president of grants. My years of SMSF service have been dedicated to ensuring our community’s generous donations were used for the highest benefit of all SMUSD students. When I learned of gaps in student safety, I coordinated with Chief Rueda (SMFD) and Chief Incontro (SMPD), devised a plan and secured bleed control kits for every SMUSD school to help protect every child, their teachers and staff in a mass emergency. When COVID-19 closed our campuses, I requested to join our School Reopening Task Force to ensure our schools were best prepared to keep students, teachers and staff safe while providing the high-quality education our students deserve.
My goals are high, yet achievable: ensure financial stability and sustainability of expanded elementary school art, music and computer labs, expanded middle school and high school guidance counseling, wellness programs, and hands-on learning opportunities, CTE Pathways incorporating internships, and dual enrollment while following data on block scheduling and broader AP access. Let’s unite, not divide the community, because Together We Thrive!

Doreen Summers

As a lifelong advocate of public education, I understand the value a public school provides to its students and community. I am a mom of twins who have attended Carver, HMS, and are now freshmen at SMHS. When we moved back to California from the East Coast five years ago, we picked San Marino for its top-rated schools and the tightknit feel of this community.
Coming from a state which is currently ranked No. 1 in education, I have firsthand knowledge of what an excellent public-school system looks like. And while SMUSD has a lot to offer, there is still work to be done. My goal is to make San Marino the district other districts emulate.
To improve the SMUSD experience and to keep San Marino children in our schools, I propose we:
• Expand offerings in Advance Placement programs
• Allow students open access to honors and/or AP courses
• Expand on course offerings for which high school students also receive college credit
• Expand our foreign language offerings and introduce language as early as elementary school
• Build/enhance partnerships with our surrounding community such as: JPL, Art Center, Caltech, entertainment studios and local museums to create innovative, low/no cost learning experiences for our students, like a speaker series and mentorship programs.
My professional background as a legal administrator and compliance specialist for one of the largest law firms in the world gives me the necessary skill set to meet the business acumen required of a board member. I am well versed in matters involving administration, policy development and human resources. I know how to effectively navigate budget constraints. I enjoy collaborating with people who have differing points of view.
As an actively involved parent, I have successfully advanced agendas in the educational space including: obtaining smaller class sizes; creating pathways for parents to navigate curriculum changes; and lobbying against inappropriate state mandates.
I understand that SMUSD, like many districts in California, has budget shortfalls directly impacting the school curriculum. However, a tight budget requires ingenuity, not inertia. We cannot keep approaching our fiscal shortcomings the same way and expect different results. It is time to change the vision and our approach.
A vote for me is a vote for our children.


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