Efi Banales is exactly what the Santa Barbara Unified School District needs right now in an elected leader.
— Educational commitment. “It’s a crime that our Spanish-speaking students are testing at the fourth-grade level,” she said in a recent online interview. She correctly understands how English as a Second Language tracking is tragically creating a two-tiered system that isolates Spanish-home speakers and is holding kids back. Her work at La Cumbre Junior High after-school homework program with parents and students is a model for what truly works.
— Hiring skills. One of the most important roles of an SBUSD board is vetting and recommending future principals. Efi is one who has served for years at the right hand of multiple principals, and she has an eagle eye for the difference between a good principal and a bad principal.
— Student connection. As a 28-year employee for SBUSD, from 1989-2021, at four schools — Franklin, Washington, Santa Barbara Community Academy and La Cumbre Junior High — she has known literally thousands of students from the Eastside and Westside by name. She knows their stories.
— Local connection. She knows the community and has lived on Santa Barbara’s Eastside for more than three decades. She is a distinguished and respected member of the community.
— Quiet courage. The majority of students in Santa Barbara are Latino, and Efi is unafraid to be a voice for this unique and special parent community. She’s not afraid to “make waves” as many immigrant parents are, and she is passionate about getting Latino parents involved in their student’s education.