Dr. Alex's Platform
Claremont Unified School District (CUSD) has a long and rich history of educational excellence and stability, which is an important part of what makes the city of Claremont such a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. The educational quality of CUSD was a major reason my family and I moved here and have made Claremont our forever home. Every single day, as a physician, I see the negative downstream mental and physical health consequences of poor education or education that does not meet families’ needs. I am committed to reinforcing and nurturing the health of our community by contributing my experience as a healthcare professional toward the legacy of high-quality public education in Claremont. I will continue to cultivate collaborative relationships and to advocate for evidence-based decisions and solution-oriented governance. I have the knowledge, experience and temperament to help ensure CUSD’s success into the future.
Health, Wellness & Safety
As a physician, I believe that the mental and physical health of all members of CUSD is crucial in order to be our best every day to support our learners. The issues that impact all aspects of health are varied and complicated, requiring a comprehensive, team-based approach. And we all need school environments where everyone feels safe and secure so that we can focus on the task at hand: educating our kids. I look forward to collaborating with multidisciplinary health teams both within and outside CUSD to ensure both physical and mental health and safety of all CUSD stakeholders, whether they be students, staff, faculty, para-professionals, or committed volunteers. My central mental health concerns include addressing bullying, suicide prevention, stress and anger management, violence prevention and intervention, substance abuse, as well as digital and campus safety. In terms of physical health, I would support age-appropriate education that focuses on optimizing personal safety, inclusive and differentiated movement activity, athletics, nutrition, and health literacy.
Fiscal Responsibility & Funding
Given our current funding mechanisms and the reality of shrinking student enrollment, CUSD is currently not on a sustainable financial path. This means we must continue to engage in thoughtful planning, both short and long term; we need to continue to explore innovative financial- and community-based mechanisms to support our schools; and we have to be disciplined in centering knowledge- and data-based decision-making processes to ensure we are maximizing our programs, people, and facilities with a keen eye on fiscal responsibility and on ensuring that we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Educational & Academic Excellence
Claremont is known for its excellent schools and we must continue to ensure that success. While our schools successfully serve the varied and unique needs of most of our students, it is also true that every student learns in different ways and has different needs. I will advocate for evidence-based educational instruction, as well as for a diversity of options and services, so that every student and family feels engaged in their educational journey. To meet the needs of our students, we must also invest in the recruitment, support, and retention of the best teachers available, both through robust, intentional outreach to identify exemplary educators and by investing in ongoing professional development that elevates not only their individual growth but that of their students. I will advocate for student-centered learning, programs, and services that allow our youth to pursue their
talents and interests including, among others: International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and high-quality Career Tech and Skilled Trades education. I also support providing access to deep learning in the performing and visual arts, STEM, environmental sustainability, and physical education.
Equity & Diversity
Successful teams are always stronger and smarter together. To thrive, we need to ensure that we actively solicit a plurality of voices and perspectives regarding CUSD governance. And while it is not critical to my performance as a leader, doctor, or community member, I am deeply aware of my privilege as a white male in the context of our society. Added to that, I am a documented, educated, physically independent, and otherwise-advantaged American. Some of this I earned, but most of it was an accident of birth, and I am grateful to come from a familial, educational, and professional perspective that is rooted in humility, gratitude, and service. As I understand it, my job in life has always been, at minimum, to do my level best to learn as much as I could and then to apply my learning in service to others. As someone who is dyslexic, I did not read until 5th grade. “Dr. McDonald” was only made possible thanks to specific educational instruction and tools that met my individual needs as a student, and I believe that because every student has the potential to succeed in the pursuit of their self-determined goals, we owe it to them to do our best to meet their unique needs. All educational policy decisions should be viewed through the lens of equity, inclusion, thriving and belonging.
Transparency & Parent & Community Engagement
The CUSD Board of Education helps to set the vision for the district, and serves as a conduit to the community. The Board also supports and helps to hold the Superintendent and staff accountable for fulfilling that vision. As a parent, I am deeply invested in the educational success of CUSD, yet I fully respect and understand that any functioning Board, no matter the sector, cannot always cater to individual issues and must stay focused on the larger picture—serving the collective needs of all students and members of CUSD. I am excited to continue lifting up and benefiting from time-tested programs such as Claremont Educational Foundation (CEF), Claremont After School Programs (CLASP), Tracks Activity Center (TAC) and Youth Activity Center (YAC), as well as drawing on other partners such as the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, our city leaders, and local nonprofit partners. Because community and parent engagement is essential and transparency in governance is critical, I will work to ensure that the voices of parents and the community are heard and respectfully considered.