Teacher campaigns for superintendent of schools
Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series about candidates ahead of the June 7 primary.
Christy Lozano knew she had to run for office.
“I decided to run for superintendent (of Santa Barbara County schools) because I couldn’t stand by and watch the school system continue to fail our kids,” the Dos Pueblos High School physical education teacher told the News-Press.
Ms. Lozano noted that 67,500 students in Santa Barbara County, which is more than half of the youths, have fallen below the state achievement levels.
She is discussing the need for better outcomes as she runs against Dr. Susan Salcido, who has been superintendent since 2017.
The position is the county’s top educator position and supports 20 school districts and oversees a $100 million budget with 200 programs serving 70,000 children and youths.
Ms. Lozano has 18 years of teaching experience including: nine years at the high school level, four years at the junior high level and six years at the elementary level. She has taught all grade levels but especially loves teaching elementary school.
In addition to Dos Pueblos, she has taught at other Santa Barbara Unified School District schools, including San Marcos High School, La Cumbre Junior High School, Santa Barbara Junior High School, and McKinley and Cleveland elementary schools.
Ms. Lazano outlined her top three priorities when asked how she would differentiate herself from incumbent Susan Salcido. “I am running to remove partisanship from schools, refocus on full educational proficiency, and ensure that our county educational system is open, transparent, and responsive to the actual needs of our diverse community by restoring engaged leadership.”
The longtime teacher said she wants to remove partisanship from public schools “… because it doesn’t have a place there. Partisanship causes close mindedness and that doesn’t belong in our schools. It doesn’t belong in the (County) Office of Education or our classrooms.”
Her third priority is to restore and engage leadership. She explained that means looking at outcomes and acting to improve them.
“They need to put money into programs that provide positive outcomes for the kids. These are the things the leadership is not addressing,” said Ms. Lozano.
The candidate also wants to focus on safe learning environments.
“In order for students to learn, the environment has to be safe,” she told the News-Press. “They have to feel that they can be vulnerable and take risks. There has to be appropriate discipline. There has to be restorative approaches and discipline if appropriate. There are positive ways to do that.
“I believe that they are physically and emotionally unsafe right now,” Ms. Lozano said. “As a teacher I have watched the standards steadily decline. They have declined to show improvement. The bar can only go so low, and then it doesn’t work anymore. They have declined to not have to deal with problems and are at an all time low.
“We need to be good leaders who are role models for the rest of the county,” the candidate said.
She also stressed the importance of transparency, which she said involves bringing parents and teachers to the table. She added transparency is important to the budget.
Ms. Lozano also addressed critical race theory. “The problem with critical race theory is that it pits people against each other and divides cultural groups. It is the style of how it is taught and not necessarily the subject matter. It is fine to teach about race and culture and different people groups, but the way that it (the instruction) is being done is harmful and destructive.”
“I would like to see a curriculum that has proven outcomes and positive outcomes. If the current curriculums are not having those outcomes, then refocus on the curriculum that does a better job,” said Ms. Lozano.
She said improving students’ skills and preparing them for the real world involves refocusing on math and literacy, as well as other subjects that stress real-life skills.”
Ms. Lozano holds a bachelor’s in kinesiology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also has a master’s in art with an emphasis in educational leadership and an administrative services credential from California Lutheran University.
In addition to her educational background, Ms. Lozano is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served America during 9/11 — both domestically at Los Angeles International Airport and overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of a medical evacuation squadron.
To learn more about her campaign, see www.christylozano.com.
Editor’s note: The News-Press plans to publish a story later about Dr. Susan Salcido, the incumbent in the race.