It’s the final Burbank Unified School District meeting this year and with it a reshuffling took place Thursday night at city hall as Steve Ferguson, the BUSD president, gave way to Dr. Emily Weisberg.
The term runs for one year and commences in December 2023 and runs through December 2024.
Dr. Armond Aghakhanian is now the vice president, a position formerly held by Weisberg.
Abby Pontzer Kamkar is the new clerk, which Aghakhanian previously held.
Nick Schultz and Nikki Perez, the new mayor and vice mayor, respectively, also came and gave Ferguson a proclamation and praise.
“We are thankful for you showing up,” he said of the two and is honored to sit in the middle chair. “The greatest honor of a lifetime is to sit in this building. I believe in these values. We’ve made wonderful progress, and this year wasn’t easy. It’s always raining on the school board.”
Ferguson went on: “This staff is on fire for kids,” he said. “It really is time to invest in them and to get them across the finish line. I want to thank our city partners, the district staff and the administrators. This has been a pleasure of a lifetime.”
Aghakhanian said had high praise for Ferguson.
“Degrees are just degrees. You’re there. You’re in the fields. You know,” he said. “You treat everyone equally. We’re here because of education. It takes a strong leader.”
Aghakhanian then quoted from one of his heroes, India’s Mahatma Gandhi, a lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist, who said, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
The meeting began by adopting a commendatory resolution for Sharon Cuseo, the assistant superintendent of instructional services, who is retiring.
Among the many jobs, Cuseo, the highest-ranking Latina in the BUSD, is an assistant principal at Burroughs High and the principal at Dolores Huerta.
“She has led with dignity and has been an inspiration to so many,” said outgoing president Ferguson. “You’ve been the guardian for our kids.”
Superintendent Dr. John Paramo chimed in on Cuseo.
“Sharon set a high standard,” he said. “She taught me how to be a better leader.”
Cuseo then offered a brief and heartfelt goodbye.
“I love the district and I enjoyed my job,” she said, hoping not to shed any tears.
The Burbank High vocal group, In Sync, under the direction of Brett Carroll, came by and sang several holiday songs which made for a festive evening.
The student representatives were also on hand as Paris Tesfu, from Burroughs and Andranik Bilbulyan, from Burbank, spoke about what their respective schools are doing.
Juan Noguera, the director for the Burbank Adult School addressed the board and spoke about the good that the school is providing and also gave a slide show. The enrollment is increasing and that’s a good sign of progress and something to be proud of.
The school offers adult basic education, adult secondary education, career and technical education training, English as a second language, parent education/family success initiative and personal enrichment.