Jennifer Rubendall

Jennifer Rubendall, 2013 LDUSD school board candidate. Photographed on Monday, October 21, 2013. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer / October 21, 2013)

As a parent, Jennifer Rubendall has been active in the school district that has served her two teenage boys. She has held positions as PTA president of Palm Crest Elementary School and La Cañada High School 7/8.

Rubendall, 47, currently serves on the executive board at the high school while running a small business in the city: Urban Fitness Pilates Studio. She spoke about her campaign for the La Cañada school board with the Valley Sun at her studio on Foothill Boulevard.

Valley Sun: You mentioned Common Core, the parcel tax and other current issues facing the district. Are those your main motivations for running?

Rubendall: It all came together. I’ve always wanted to be a part of making things happen and at PTA, you’re kind of bound to that one school that you’re with and in this case, it’s [LCHS 9-12] and I feel I can help a lot more in the community with this position.

This is the ultimate volunteer position in our town, and I really want to reach out and be a big part of it. I’m the type of leader who likes to get in and make things happen. For me, it’s really exciting.

How would being a small business owner help you on the board?

I have a very good feel of what [community members] want and what they like. I think it has allowed me to pull back and focus on my business. My ultimate goal is to be involved with my business on a larger scope.

I love working one-on-one with my clients, but I know I can help the studio more when I pull back and help on a bigger scope.

It’s kind of the same way I look at the school board. I can do a lot at each site as a PTA member, but pulling back, I know I can do a lot more.

It’s been a great parallel.

What parcel tax rate do you support?

I support the rate [the board] currently looked at, and that’s the $450 [rate.] It’s enough to allow us what we need to do, and not so much that it won’t be passed.

We have to be smart about this. I think they’ve done a great job researching the current levels and taking a pulse of the community and also taking into account that this is a campaign here, and we’ve all been talking about it.

At this point, the district will be able to limp along. It’s going to be such a large deficit if we don’t go for the larger [parcel tax amount] that we’re going to have to do another [measure]. Perhaps it’s a bond.

I really have faith in our community that we are going to pass it. If we don’t, it’s going to have to be other revenue options [identified].

As a parent, is there a specific issue that affects you?

The Common Core and how it is translating into the classroom with the technology. As far as anything separate, I would like us to pay attention to what’s going on [on] the campus.

Everyone talks about drugs [on campus]. It’s not rampant, but it would be great to really snip it and take care of it. Especially with Red Ribbon Week, if we could just reach out and make a change for one kid, it’s a great feeling. I would like that to be on the agenda.

You said you were the campaign manager for current school board member Ellen Multari. How did that come about?

I’ve known Ellen from when she first came to our schools. She became involved with the PTA at Palm Crest. And she’s just so bright and so articulate and so nice. When she asked me, I was executive vice president at [La Cañada High School 7/8 PTA].

I believed in Ellen 100%. She is just such an asset to the board. I was very happy that that all came together.

It was a good experience.

Did the experience give you good practice for your own campaign?

Yes, I guess. You never know until you’re in that situation. It’s been a different experience; nothing like I’ve ever done before.

This interview was edited for space and clarity.

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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