ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> Make way for the women.
The new five-member Rowland Unified School District board now consists of four women and one man for the first time in the history of the district, according to sources within the community.
“It shows us how far women have come in terms of leadership,” said Heidi Gallegos, one of the four women on the RUSD school board.
Sworn in Tuesday night were the two newest board members, Lynne Ebenkamp and Angelena Pride. They replaced two men: Gilbert Garcia, who lost, and Robert Hidalgo, who left for the Mt. SAC board.
Pride, the top vote-getter in November’s election, is African-American. She is the first African-American ever elected to the Rowland Unified school board.
“I am proud of that. It is definitely something to be proud of,” said Pride, who did not make race an issue during the campaign.
But diversity is an issue in the district, which includes a majority of Asians on the south side and a majority of Latinos on the north side. RUSD operates 19 schools in Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, Industry and West Covina — with 15,000 students and more than 700 teachers.
Ebenkamp was born in Belize. Board member Judy Nieh is Asian-American, as is Cary Chen, who was re-elected in November with Pride and Ebenkamp. Gallegos said she is a mixture of many ethnicities.
“You don’t get that kind of diversity on a school board typically,” said Gallegos, who was named board president Tuesday night.