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ABCUSD Administers Oath to New and Returning Board Members, Vice President Vote Signals Changing of the Guard

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[l-r] Clerk Soo Yoo, Board members, Sophia Tse, Lynda Johnson, Maynard Law, Letty Mendoza, Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu, newly elected President Olympia Chen and Vice President Chris Apodaca.

By Tammye McDuff

The ABC Unified School District swore in two new board members, Letty Mendoza and Chris Apodaca, at its regular meeting this past Tuesday night.

Mendoza is the second Latina on the ABC USD school board following Sally Havice. Mendoza was sworn in by her husband Senator Tony Mendoza.

Apodaca also made history as the youngest Latino to serve on the board and was sworn in by the Senator Mendoza.

Board Member Mendoza, who represents Area 1, thanked her friends and family for all their efforts and support. Mendoza sent a special thanks to Artesia councilman Ali Taj, who walked the entire district with her. Mendoza stated her message throughout the campaign would remain consistent during her term in office, “To recruit and retain the highest qualified teachers for the district, to improve and modernize classrooms and facilities and keep ABC the best it can be.”

Apodaca, who represents ABC Area 7 said, “We are one community and as one community we face triumphs together, challenges together, and we laugh and morn together.” He stated that he will not only represent his area, but the district as a whole making it a priority that students have access to social and emotional health, that students are prepared for college and the rigors of life in a digital complex world, “ Every student should succeed regardless of their social standing or income.”

Returning school board members are Maynard Law and Sophia Tse. Law served as President of the Board, was elected to the ABC Board in 2007, re-elected in 2011 and in 2015. Law is a retired Special Education Teacher as well as a retired public administrator and has been a Cerritos resident for 38 years. He has extensive involvement in the school district and the community, serving on many ABC School District advisory committees. Tse was elected to the ABC Board in 2007, re-elected in 2011 and again in 2015. Tse is a Director of Post Partum, Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Chairwoman and Board Member of the Southern California Chinese Culture, and a resident of Cerritos for 27 years.

Law is known to keep the board laughing and as Dr. Mary Sieu administered his oath of office, Law purposely stumbled when he swore,” …. That I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation …” which drew laughter from the audience and board members.

Law thanked his wife and Chief of Staff for keeping him fed with more than just fast food. “I love doing this and working with kids, we have a world class system, which I am proud to be part of,” said Law.

It was the first time for Tse to have her entire family present for her oath of office. Tse stated that all of her children work for the government, one son is a doctor, the other an engineer and her daughter works for Caltrans, and all three are ABC graduates. “I am honored and humbled to have reelected for the next four years,” she said.

The 2016 restructured board voted unanimously for Olympia Chen as President. In unprecedented vote and a sign of changing times on the Board, new board member Apodaca was voted in as Vice President. Soo Yoo, Lynda Johnson and Sophia Tse voted against him. Tse stated that she did not feel Apodaca had the experience needed. Later Tse told HMG-CN that she had to vote her conscience and what she felt was right for the school board. The 2016 Board Clerk will be Soo Yoo and Secretary is Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu.