LOS ANGELES– The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region along with its local chapters of ANCA Hollywood and San Fernando Valley West announced a very early endorsement of current LAUSD Board of Education President Steve Zimmer in his reelection bid.
“President Zimmer has demonstrated time and again his commitment to our community, to the advancement of the Armenian Cause and a deep care and concern about the students and the schools in LAUSD. Our early endorsement decision was driven by his strong track record of service, including working productively with the ANCA regional and local chapters even prior to being elected to office and ensuring future generations, teachers, and administrators alike are properly trained and taught about the Armenian Genocide of 1915,” stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with him and urge our community members to not only cast their vote for him on Election Day, but help him on the campaign trail to cross the finish line,” added Asatryan.
“I am honored to stand with the ANCA-Western Region and the Armenian community today and every day. Our partnership is dynamic and important – from advocating for genocide education and full recognition to fighting to make all dreams come true through public education,” stated President Zimmer. “This endorsement is incredibly important to me and the campaign as we build an unstoppable coalition for public education. I thank the ANCA and commit myself to our partnership always,” added Zimmer.
His close relationship with and understanding of the needs of the Armenian community dates back to his teaching days at Marshall High School, which has always enjoyed a large Armenian student population. Since taking office, Zimmer has worked closely with the regional ANCA and its local chapters in Hollywood and San Fernando Valley West in addressing many needs of the Armenian American community, including promoting the hiring of Armenian teachers and administrators in LAUSD, initiating an audit of the Magnolia Charter schools tied with the Turkic Gulen movement, which resulted in revoking the charter agreement from two Magnolia schools.
As President of LAUSD, he initiated and saw through the unanimous passage of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and committing to teach district wide on the subject matter. As a follow up to the resolution, Zimmer also personally communicated with all principals in the district requesting that all schools engage in the training and teaching of the Armenian Genocide.
As the community and the world marked the Armenian Genocide Centennial, Zimmer motioned for all Armenian instructors to have the day off and for the Armenian Genocide to be observed as a religious holiday, so not to affect their sick leave. He had the same exception made for all Armenian students, allowing them to participate in the historic March for Justice in Los Angeles. In the same year, Zimmer also co-hosted the launch of the ANCA-WR America We Thank You documentary – encouraging all social science chairs and school board members to attend the event and panel discussion, which highlighted the unprecedented response by the US, through the 1st congressional sanctioned humanitarian organization, the Near East Relief that helped save the Armenian nation from annihilation during and in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.
Currently, the ANCA-WR, Gen Ed and UTLA are working closely with Zimmer who will be hosting a professional development seminar to train the social science teachers on the Armenian Genocide.
Zimmer began his career in 1992 as part of Teach For America, the national non-profit dedicated to educational equity. Access and equality for all students has remained his guiding principle. He has always stressed innovation that invites students into the learning process. When he taught English as a second language at Marshall, Zimmer used an experiential approach that related to his students’ daily lives. He created Marshall’s Public Service Program to make public service intrinsic to the student experience. Marshall’s Multilingual Teacher Career Academy, which Steve founded in 1998, served as an early model for LAUSD’s Career Ladder Teacher Academy.
Steve is a passionate advocate for at-risk youth and played a pivotal role in establishing school-community initiatives to support and stabilize families. The Comprehensive Student Support Center he founded with another Marshall teacher provides health care services for students and their families. He helped create the Elysian Valley Community Services Center, a community owned-and-operated agency that provides after-school, recreational and enrichment programs, a library, and free internet access.
As a member of the LA school board, Steve has continued advocating for vulnerable students. He authored the school board resolution in support of the Dream Act, federal legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students who do well in school and attend college. Steve also led the way on a resolution to make the District a hunger-free community by exploring new strategies to increase children’s participation in school meal programs and easily connect them with other agencies that provide food resources for hungry families.
The 4th District LAUSD Board of Education election is on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. In order to vote, you must be registered. To register to vote online visit www.hyevotes.org or call 818.806.8683.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.