School, Jenkins plans on getting deeper into area schools by running
for one of the seats on the Laguna Beach Unified School District
board of education.
"I've done so much in the district," she said. "It's a logical
step to run for the board."
Since her first Top of the World Parent Teacher Assn. meeting in
1990, Jenkins has been a classroom volunteer, PTA president at Top of
the World and PTA Council Parent Education chairwoman. She also
served as PTA council president and liaison to the school board.
However, one of the most rewarding experiences of her career was
helping organize the School Bond Measure last March. Her work as
chair for the telephone banks led to an appointment to the Citizen
Oversight Committee that acts as a watchdog over the current school
construction projects and budget.
"I've kept my finger on the pulse of what's happening in the
schools," she said. "The oversight committee is the most important
committee in the district. I don't want our district to end up the
same place it was years ago when we nearly went bankrupt."
She credits the experience on the oversight committee as giving
her an intimate look at all the details that play into the
"I am in a good position to oversee the continuing modernization
of our schools," she said. "The construction is on time and on
budget. They're doing a very good job."
She foresees that the inconveniences of the projects will be paid
for by major environmental gains for students and teachers down the
Jenkins approves of the district's whole-student approach,
including its emphasis on service learning and the revised misconduct
policy approved by the board.
However, she hopes to explore reducing class sizes and introducing
more advanced placement courses into the high school and middle
"We need to raise the bar academically because there's such a
competitive climate among colleges," she said. "The larger schools
offer a greater choice of AP honors classes, and I'd like to see that
happen in our schools."
Another issue Jenkins hopes to focus on is looking at ways to
recruit and keep excellent teachers.
"One of our most fundamental responsibilities is to make our
teachers happy," she said. "We can do this by being competitive in
salary, keeping class size down and keeping open lines of
communication with the district and parents."
If elected, Jenkins plans to continue working with the PTA Council
and maintaining her close ties to some of the district's teachers.
"I care very deeply about education, our schools and about open
communication between all levels," she said.
* MARY A. CASTILLO is a news assistant for the Coastline Pilot.
She covers education, public safety and City Hall.