I’m so grateful for your consideration and the chance to earn your vote for a position on the SPUSD Board of Education! My support of public education is lifelong, and my commitment to South Pasadena schools in particular is unwavering.
My family immigrated to the United States from India, and I became a naturalized citizen of the United States on July 4, 1976, our country's Bicentennial. I attended public schools in a Chicago suburb; majored in biology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; and earned my medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.
And as a South Pasadena resident since 2002, I’ve had the great pleasure of watching my three boys begin their education at Marengo Elementary School and, more recently, watching with pride as my oldest sons, Max and Cole, graduated from SPHS in 2016 and 2018. Max attends the University of San Francisco, and Cole will be entering UCLA this fall. My youngest son, Troy, is an SPHS freshman.
Along the way, I’ve had the distinct honor of serving South Pasadena schools in a wide variety of volunteer and leadership roles, beginning in 2003 in Max’s kindergarten classroom. There, I immediately felt at home reading to Max and his classmates, with Troy by my side in his stroller. Fast forward to 2018, when I was humbled to receive the Golden Apple Award for outstanding service to South Pasadena Schools. Fifteen years of volunteer service in between are highlighted here.
Ed, Ruby, and Cole, SPHS Baccalaureate 2018
The health and wellness of children is my true passion, personally, professionally, and as a school volunteer. After finishing medical school, I moved to Los Angeles in 1988 for a pediatric internship at LA County-USC Medical Center, which was followed by a pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, and a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. I'm a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric oncologist employed by Kaiser Permanente, specializing in the treatment of childhood cancers and blood disorders. And for 11 years now, I've volunteered as the visiting doctor for SPUSD's Growth and Development Program for 5th grade girls.
During my fellowship in San Francisco, I met my husband, Ed Elsner, who at the time was a law student at UC Berkeley. We were married several years later, moved back to Southern California (where Ed grew up), and started our family. Yes, like so many of you, we moved to South Pasadena for its schools! For 21 years, Ed has worked as a staff attorney for a non-profit legal aid organization, providing legal services to low-income senior citizens in Los Angeles County. Ed is a dedicated community volunteer as well. He was an AYSO referee for several years; he led Cub Scout Pack 7 as its committee chair from 2009 to 2015; and he has chaired Boy Scout Troop 7 since 2015.
In my leadership roles, I've consistently advocated for clear and open communication; parent and student engagement; student success and wellness; and district-wide fiscal responsibility. I believe that every child matters, and that every child deserves to be supported by a team of responsible, caring, and committed adults. Our kids deserve to be safe and engaged at school, to have a wide variety of courses and activities to foster their interests (including visual arts, performing arts, and athletics), and to have their needs met for personal growth and wellness. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to educating our children.
Troy and Max, SPMS Promotion 2018
I'm also acutely aware that delivering a high-quality, public education in an ever-changing fiscal environment requires collaboration between parents, teachers, administrators, and the community at large. I'm proud of my track record of hands-on participation in that process -- from school site councils (Marengo and SPHS), to fundraising (SPEF and PTA), to bond measure and parcel tax campaigns (Measure S and Measure SP), to district oversight committees (Measure S Citizens' Oversight and LCAP Committees). As a school board member, I will continue to be there for our schools and our children.
I'm so thankful for your support. For those I have yet to meet, I hope to meet you soon and earn your vote!
Ruby Kalra, M.D.