The Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) Board of Education held an Organizational Meeting on Dec. 13 in which the 2023-24 cabinet was installed, including its newest member, Judy Manouchehri, and Rachelle Marcus, who begins her second term. The board also elected Noah Margo and Amanda Stern to the positions of new president and vice president, respectively, and thanked outgoing member Gabriel Halimi.
In her outgoing remarks as president, Mary Wells shared highlights from the past year. “My first goal as president was to ensure that the board was better informed so that we could make better decisions,” Wells said. “We have made changes to our meeting agendas, the board meeting structure, and our committees in order to improve how and when information is shared with the board.”
During her time as president, the board refined the district’s mission statement and vision statement, and further defined its core values: excellence, integrity, wellness, inclusion, safety, and community. Wells introduced the first ever BHUSD Community Pledge, and under her leadership, the board passed a resolution in support of the women of Iran and their fight for human rights. “All of these efforts raise the visibility of our school district and create opportunity in the city for our families and students,” Wells said.
“As everyone knows, this board identified a multitude of issues and made the hard decisions necessary to make the bond program to modernize our school facilities, and security programs more effective and efficient,” Wells said. “We completely restructured the construction program and safety program to provide transparency and accountability.”
Marcus, who begins her second term, was installed by Wells. “As many of you may know, my husband was very ill, and I was debating whether I wanted to run again,” Marcus said. “And unfortunately, because he passed away, the decision became very apparent that my heart is in the school district, and I couldn’t leave it at this time. My work was unfinished.”
Manouchehri was installed by Judge Richard Stone, who graduated from BHHS in 1974. “I knew I could apply my professional skills as a real estate construction and business attorney, and my personal experience as a product of our school system, for the betterment of our schools, our beautiful community, and most importantly, our children,” Manouchehri said.
Margo was installed as president by Dr. Brian Goldberg, who also served on the school board from 2007 to 2015. “Please understand that while not every vote that has and yet to come across this board will be unanimous, all of us, all of us, sincerely believe we are casting our votes in the interest of the district success,” Margo said. “This and past boards have worked and will continue to work tirelessly to put in motion all of the elements needed for our district to succeed.”
In his last year as president, Margo announced a new initiative called “Now Noah Knows,” to showcase the unique teaching methods of each educator. In the segment, Margo will meet one on one “with some of our incredible teachers and learn something new.”
Stern was installed as vice president by Nathan Kruger, who currently serves as the Vice Chair of the BHUSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. “We have a challenging year ahead,” Vice President Stern said. “We continue to face pandemic related learning loss, mental health problems, intense political tension, and a robust but complex construction program. This collective anxiety is tempered however, by the phenomenal success of our students.”
In other board business, Wells was appointed as clerk and as the representative to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, and Marcus as the annual representative to the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association.