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Governance – Azusa Leaders for Learning

Dr. Linda Kaminski

Linda Kaminski joined the District in July 2012. Prior to joining AUSD, Dr. Kaminski served as Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services in the Upland Unified School District for seven years. A resident of the San Gabriel Valley for 30 years, she began her career as a bilingual teacher and later elementary principal in the Pasadena Unified School District.

She began her work at the central office in the Glendale Unified School District as the Coordinator for Research and Evaluation. The last 13 years she has served as Chief Academic Officer/Assistant Superintendent for the Santa Ana, Santa Monica-Malibu, and the Upland Unified school districts.

Dr. Kaminski received her Bachelor Degree from Santa Clara University, Master of Science from Pepperdine University, and Master of Education and Doctor of Education from Harvard University.

Yolanda Rodriguez-Pena

Yolanda is honored to be the Co-Chair of the ALL Foundation. She is a proud mother of four children and grandmother of four grandchildren who all attended and currently attend schools in the Azusa Unified School District (AUSD).

She currently serves on the AUSD School Board and is actively involved in the community including the Neighborhood Improvement Zone; Treasurer, Azusa Beautiful; Director, Azusa Homework House; Director, California Latino School Board Association; and Delegate, Democratic 48 District.

She is retired from the Garvey School District with 40 years of service as an Instruction Aide and Attendance Technician. She looks forward to being an advocate for students, parents and staff of the school district.

Maricela Cueva

Maricela is President of VPE Public Relations a national full-service communications and social media agency. Maricela serves as the Chair of the ALL Foundation. The formation of an educational foundation has been the dream of many of the city’s educational and civic leaders including Maricela for many years. Maricela strongly believes that creating strong collaborative partnerships with the City, university, college as well as the business community will result in direct benefits to the children of the AUSD.

Maricela is also very passionate about the importance of parent engagement in a child’s education and firmly believes that involved parents can make a dynamic difference in a child’s cognitive development. It is her firm commitment as a member of the Foundation to work diligently to provide the necessary funding sources to assist AUSD to increase its parent engagement and participation through parent education/involvement, community outreach, special events as well as continuing specialized techniques already established by the District.

Maricela is active in community programs in Azusa and has worked with city leadership on a myriad of community based projects that target both the educational and quality of life in the community. She currently serves as the president of Azusa Beautiful and as a board member of the Canyon City Foundation. Her philosophy is that by working collaboratively, we can make Azusa strong and our school district stronger.

Joseph Rocha

Joe lives by this motto, “Never Give Up, Never Give In, and Never Stop Giving”. His compassion for students, senior citizens and veterans has been evident as a member of the Azusa City Council. He has served on the Azusa City Council for 20 years and as Mayor of Azusa since 2007.

Joe has worked relentlessly with the local Veterans’ groups. He gives his leadership skills in planning and preparing the activities such as: Veterans Day, and Memorial Day. He helped create and construct the monument placed in front of our City Hall. He also started a local food bank based at Lee School in 2007 because he saw that his students were hungry. Today, that food bank is operated under Pathfinders Ministry every Friday giving food and clothes. During the holidays, this group has an annual toy drive – just for Azusa children. Working with the Azusa Unified School District and the City of Azusa, he has worked to provide temporary housing for Azusa students and their parents should they become homeless since 2007. Being a teacher, he saw first hand the impacts of being homeless especially for the children.

Joe retired from Azusa Unified School District after 45 years of service as a 3rd grade teacher and an Evening Administrator for Azusa Adult Education. He loves his hometown and it shows in all he does. His Azusa home is his retirement home. He plans to live out his life in Azusa.

Diana Williams

Diana is honored to be a member of the Azusa Leaders for Learning (ALL) Foundation. When asked to join, she did not hesitate to respond with a yes. Her two adult children attended school in the AUSD. She and her husband had a good rapport with educators and faculty, and they entrusted them to educate their children at school while they educated them at home.

When Measure K was proposed to fund school improvements she did not hesitate to get involved in promoting the bond. As a homeowner, she knows that we must invest in our schools to maintain a safe infrastructure to ensure our schools are up to standard and are safe for all students. Previously, she served ten years on the City of Azusa, Human Relations Commission and was chair for last seven years of her term. Diana is a passionate community advocate, and supports community efforts to empower and improve educational opportunities for all students and residents.

Diana is retired. She previously worked for the City of Los Angeles and has served as President of her union, AFSCME, Local 3672, Executive Administrative Assistants for the past eight years and was actively involved in employee/worker relations. Diana looks forward to making a difference in the Azusa Unified School District as a member of the ALL Foundation.

Michele Verdugo

Michele Verdugo is honored to serve on the ALL Foundation Board as the Treasurer. Michele was “Azusa Educated” and currently works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory within the Earth Science division. She has three children who are also AUSD educated; one daughter is currently attending Azusa Pacific University.

She also worked diligently on the Measure K committee to get bond passed for our AUSD children and teachers to fund school improvements. Since working in a Science and Engineering environment, she realizes the importance of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program for our AUSD student’s.  Michele attributes her success to the village that raised her such as her parents, teachers, work supervisors and mentors. Knowing a child’s success is a collective effort by many she hopes to help close the gap.

Melissa Romanek

Melissa has lived in Azusa her entire life. She currently work at Slauson Middle School as the ASB Clerk. She had worked for Azusa Unified for 25 years. She has held many positions in my career at AUSD, such as child care aide, computer lab assistant, adult education clerk, parent education teacher and k-12 substitute teacher. She is an active volunteer in multiple organizations. She is a member with California School Employees Association (CSEA) and was appointed on a state level committee 2 years ago to set up seminars to help keep union members informed about their retirement benefits. She also volunteers with Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA). She is currently on her 8th year as a troop co-leader. She serves on the “Neighborhood Service Team” as the registrar. Melissa can always be seen around Azusa volunteering at any event that the city is hosting. She believes in empowering others and giving EVERYONE a voice! She believes in spreading kindness and staying positive. With parents, families, schools and the community working together we can give each and every child in Azusa a well rounded education and life experience.

Shawn Millner

Shawn is an over 20 year Azusa resident and homeowner. An active community member, Shawn served five years on the City of Azusa, Planning Commission, and chaired during her final term. Shawn is very proud to have been a part of some of Azusa’s most highly regarded and successful development projects during her Planning Commission tenure – Target, Rosedale master-planned community, Vulcan mining, and the Metro Goldline parking structure, just to name a few.

Expanding upon her community service, and with a commitment to investing in the educational improvement of our District’s infrastructure, Shawn campaigned in support of the passage of Measure K, and was later appointed to the Measure K Citizens’ Oversight Committee in which she served as a committee member for five years.

Shawn with more than 25 years of experience in Human Resources, currently works for The Frostig Center.  Shawn eagerly awaits the many opportunities in support of our AUSD students in serving on the ALL Foundation Board.

Diane Viera

Diane Viera is honored to a member of the Azusa Leaders for Learning (ALL) Foundation. Diane works at Azusa Pacific University in the School of Nursing as the Director of the Neighborhood Wellness Center and Grant Administrator. She oversees all grants in the School of Nursing and manages all day-to-day functions of the Neighborhood Wellness Center. Diane has worked at APU since 2011. Prior to working at APU, Diane worked in community service agencies serving clients with substance abuse disorders, homelessness, and domestic violence.

Diane received her Bachelors degree in Criminology and Masters of Science in Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne. She will be receiving her second Masters degree in Research Administration in May 2019.

Diane was raised in the San Gabriel Valley area and cares deeply about the health and education of the children and adolescents in the area. She looks forward to being a member of the ALL Foundation and making a positive impact in the Azusa community.

Mayra Rico

Mayra has been a resident of Azusa for fourteen years and is a proud parent of three children. They all attend Azusa Unified school district schools. As she became a parent volunteer, she noticed the need for parent involvement and became a big advocate of it. She understands that many parents want to be involved but can’t because they are working hard to put food on the table, therefore, she needed to also be their voice and advocate for their children. Mayra believes that if we want our Azusa community children to be successful we need to be an example to all of them. She believes that if we want to see a change in the world we need to go out there and make a difference.

She currently serves in various committees in the Azusa school district including Parent representative for the Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Parent Rep for the Student Attendance Review Board, Parent Rep for the Superintendent’s Round Table, Parent Rep for the Parent Advisory Council.  She is passionate about our children having access to music education and works closely with the Director of the Azusa Music Conservatory, Dr. Koops, at APU, to bring a fun summer music program “Collaborative Arts Summer Camp: Opera for the Community.” 

Miki Carpenter

Miki is currently the Director of Recreation and Family Services for the City of Azusa. Miki previously served as the CEO of the YWCA San Gabriel Valley and also worked for the VA Medical Center, Citrus Valley Health Partners, First 5 San Bernardino, the University of La Verne, and Western University of Health Sciences. She has served as an administrator of grants from the CDC, LA County Department of Public Health, and federal and state transportation and health programs. She has also served as a consultant to several Southern California urban and rural communities in the areas of strategic planning, community and program development, transportation planning, and evaluation. Miki attended Paramount Elementary, Foothill Middle, and Azusa High Schools in the Azusa Unified School District. She also attended Citrus College and received her BA in Social Ecology from UC, Irvine, a Master of Public Health degree from UCLA, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from USC.