Redlands Unified Board of Education Area 5 candidate Danielle Guillen wants every student to have educational equity.
Guillen, 29, a director for Leadership for Educational Equity, said she decided to run because she wants to be a voice for students who don’t have one.
“I decided to be a decision-maker and engage in the community,” said Guillen.
Guillen is a part of a multigenerational family of Redlands Unified graduates. She attended Crafton Elementary, Moore Middle School and Redlands High.
“I found my passion for teaching in seventh grade,” she said.
Guillen, a former math and social studies teacher for Gallup-McKinley County Schools, said that is where she realized many policies were affecting students.
“I wanted to change and understand them, so they didn’t negatively affect my students,” she said. “Students need the same access to all opportunities. I am confident I can make that happen for all students in Redlands Unified.”
Guillen said the district is handling the pandemic as well as they can.
“This is something new to everyone,” she said. “There is no playbook. The biggest priority is teacher and student safety.”
Guillen said it is too early to tell if distance learning is as effective as in-person learning.
“It is too soon to understand the effectiveness,” she said. “There is no research yet. However, 450 Redlands students have not enrolled in a distance learning program. That is roughly the size of Mentone Elementary. Those kids are getting left behind.”
Guillen said residential growth is inevitable, and the district should collaborate with the community about building a new middle school.
“We should engage with the community members who will be impacted,” she said.
In terms of adding ethnic studies classes to the curriculum, Guillen said they should be mandatory.
“Adding those classes is just the beginning,” she said. “We need to create a culturally responsive educational system by adding to the curriculum, making sure we are using diverse authors and being inclusive to our foster, homeless and LGBTQ communities. Inclusive education leads to culturally aware students.”
Guillen’s top priority is ensuring all students have access to high-quality education and are meeting state standards.
“Social and emotional learning is also a priority,” she said. “We need to work with local organizations and county departments to make counseling available to all students, especially during a pandemic.
“I also want to make sure teachers feel supported,” Guillen continued. “I want to make sure they have everything they need for distance learning. If we don’t have healthy teachers, we don’t have learning.”
Guillen has received support from multiple members of the community. Including endorsements from Councilman Eddie Tejeda, Mayor Pro Tem Denise Davis and the San Bernardino County Democratic Party.
- Age: 29
- Occupation: Director, Leadership for Educational Equity
- Community Service: Creating bilingual STEM activities for families and mentoring alumni in the Inland Empire pursuing policy careers or systems change.
- Education: Bachelor’s degree from Yale University and master’s in public policy from USC.
- Family: Multigenerational family of Redlands Unified graduates, including her sister who is a current Redlands Unified student and parents who met at Redlands High School.
- Area 5: Parts of Highland and Redlands east of University Street, south of Lugonia Avenue and north of Reservoir Road.