The Burbank Board of Education said goodbye to a 13-year veteran of the Board, welcomed a new member and elected a new slate of officers at their last regular meeting of 2020 on Thursday, December 17.
December 17 was also the last day of the fall semester for Burbank Unified School District students.
In a first hour that was poignant and by turns, emotional, representatives of several organizations that work closely with the Board of Education thanked and lauded the diligence and dedication of outgoing Board member Dr. Roberta Reynolds.
“Dr. Roberta Reynolds has been a tireless advocate for students and a supporter of public education,” commented Congressman Adam Schiff, in a pre-recorded video message. “She has shown great care and commitment in developing an inclusive and engaging atmosphere for all students and parents in the Burbank Unified School District.”
Newly-elected Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos also spoke at the meeting, telling Reynolds, “Thank you for your years of service and for making a difference for our schools and our community.”
Representatives from the Burbank Teachers Association, Burbank Association of School Administrators, the Burbank Arts and Education Foundation, Burbank Council PTA and more also shared memories and gratitude for Reynolds’ service, many noting her commitment to equity and inclusion for all students and that she was a founder of Burbank’s local PFLAG chapter.
Burbank Council PTA also shared a video of comments and thanks from parents, teachers, administrators and community members for Reynolds’ years of dedication and leadership.
State Senator Anthony Portantino called in during Public Comments with his thanks for Reynolds’ leadership over the years. State Assemblymember Laura Friedman recorded a video message of gratitude and a representative from County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office also called in to acknowledge Reynolds’ service.
“Thank you Dr. Reynolds for your service to this community,” said Superintendent Matt Hill, noting her “commitment to serve all student in Burbank” and her example of leadership.
“The last 5 1/2 years, your leadership guided me,” he added. ” I am really excited, as the other speakers said, you’re not going far. You’re changing hats, you’re changing seats. I know your commitment to the City of Burbank and the school district will be there.”
Reynolds was also addressed by her fellow school board members, Steven Frintner, Charlene Tabet, Steve Ferguson and Armond Aghkhanian, who noted her leadership and commitment to the community.
Reynolds responded to the outpouring of gratitude and respect from the Burbank Unified community with characteristic humbleness and brevity.
“My only goal is to try and do a good job,” she said. “I’ve lived here all my life… now I get to be PTA nana.”
Reynolds thanked the staff, teachers and her colleagues for their words.
“All of you have captured the things we have done together,” Reynolds added. “I am merely transitioning to a community role.”
She noted she was looking forward “to our next conversations and our next adventures together.”
Burbank City Clerk Zizette Mullins also shared some words of praise for Reynolds and then administered the Oath of Office to the incoming Board Members, incumbents Aghkhanian and Ferguson and newly-elected member, Dr. Emily Weisberg, a Burbank resident and private school teacher.
The Board then elected its slate of officers for 2021: President Frintner, Vice President Tabet and Clerk Ferguson.
New Board member Weisberg addressed fellow Board members and the community of BUSD with some remarks, reaffirming her commitment to equity for all students. She mentioned that as a member of the BUSD Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, she has been involved with the group’s efforts for much of 2020.
“I am humbled and honored to have earned the opportunity to work alongside my colleagues on this Bord to suport and advocate for Burbank Unified students, parents, teachers and staff,” Weisberg said.
Frintner, in his new role as President of the Burbank Board of Education, also addressed the Board and BUSD community.
“We work best together as a team,” he said. “As I start the year, I know I have some great teammates. People, who, in my time on the Board, have given me great examples in how to lead and shown me the passion and dedication to the students and staff of our district that this position takes.”
He acknowledged challenges ahead, particularly from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, noting that “this is the first time that budget issues weren’t our number one concern.”
“When change happens, when decisions are being made, someone will always feel like their opinions aren’t being heard… they’re being left out… in the words of our President-Elect, I feel we need to be opponents, not enemies,” Frintner added. “If we can take the time to see things from a different perspective, to value each other’s ideas rather than dismissing them out of hand, to treat each other with respect, then we can continue to make this school district a great place for our students, our staff and our community.”
The Burbank Board of Education is comprised of President Steve Frintner, Vice President Charlene Tabet, Clerk Steve Ferguson and members Dr. Armond Aghakhanian and Dr. Emily Weisberg. More information on the Board can be found online on their webpage.