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CEPS Gets New Leader

By Lookout Staff

June 25, 2009 – Past PTA Council president Rebecca Kennerly has been elected to head the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), a group of education activists that pressured the City into providing additional funding for local schools.

After becoming active in education issues in 2002, Kennerly has been a member of every school funding and bond measure campaign committee and served the past two years as president of the Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs.

Kennerly joined CEPS in 2003 and was active in the grassroots movement that led to a Joint Use Agreement with the City that pumps more than $7 million in extra funding a year to the School District.

“CEPS has spent the last ten years successfully advocating to preserve and protect the integrity and excellence of our local public schools,” Kennerly said in a statement Wednesday. “Its mission is to help ensure that local public school students are prepared for the complex future that awaits them.

“This organization recognizes the enormous divide between inadequate and shrinking funding from the State of California, and the needs of children in public schools. We work to close that gap,” she said.

Kennerly will replace Shari Davis, who served as CEPS Chair or co-Chair for seven years and was recently elected president of the Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs.

“Supported by the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of volunteer hours, CEPS has accomplished a great deal for our students, our schools and our communities,” Davis said in a statement.

“CEPS has accomplished its goal of securing funding for public schools on a local level,” she said, “but with the current state budget crisis, our advocacy efforts must continue in a robust manner.”

In its short history, CEPS has left a lasting mark on education politics and saw several of its leaders reach top elected posts.

Former CEPS chair Ralph Mechur is now School Board president, former CEPS co-chair Louise Jaffe now chairs the College Board and former CEPS steering committee member Gleam Davis is now a member of the Santa Monica City Council.

“Rebecca Kennerly is well prepared and has such impressive skills and energy; she will provide the right leadership at the right time to keep up our momentum at a crucial time for our schools and our children,” Davis said.




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