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Meet the New Student Board Members for the 2023-2024 School Year!

This year, we welcome two new student representatives to our Board of Education - Mirabelle Kruger (Encinal Jr. Sr. High School) and Lianna Lau (ASTI) - and welcome back Talia Kotovsky (returning student member for Alameda High School).

Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi swore in the students at its August 22 meeting. We asked each student board member four questions to help introduce them to the community.

Student Board member Talia Kotovsky

Talia Kotovksy, AHS Student Board Member

What led you to take on a second term as a student board member?

Talia (AHS): I loved being a student board member last year! It was a huge learning curve for the first couple of months, figuring out what we were actually talking about at board meetings, learning how to speak in a more academic/business-like tone, and learning to work with adults as well as other student board members. Around the time the second semester started, I felt like I understood my role a lot better, which made me ultimately decide to run again. I wanted to do the most I could with the experience and knowledge I now had.


What drew you to the student board member position?
Lianna (ASTI): Ever since I was little, I loved helping out in classrooms and setting up events. It wasn't until I was out of elementary school that I realized how complex each school and its system really is. Fast forward to high school, and I'm even more interested in the way a school district works to maintain the needs of students, parents, and staff while still improving and implementing new programs and policies. The Student Board Member position allows me to be a voice for ASTI's small but mighty community. I hope to address any concerns that arise, with the goal of cultivating a community that uplifts. With this position, I can also be involved in the inner workings of the school district to be able to see the meticulous structures working together that ensure the district runs smoothly.
Mirabelle (EJSHS): My family has always been pretty informed and into local politics. I found out about the student board position via a now-former board member. I've been in the school district throughout my entire career of schooling, and I became interested in giving my own input and insight into what's going on in the district and my school, as I'm also highly involved in a bunch of different activities through my school.


What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure?
Talia (AHS): I definitely have a lot of ideas for this year! I'm not sure if all of them are super possible, but I'm thinking of making a student board member handbook so that new SBMs can know what they're getting into. I'm also very interested in the grading for equity policy, continuing my work in various subcommittees, especially ACCYF, and also working with the new SBMs for Encinal and ASTI!
Student Board member  Mirabelle Kruger

Mirabelle Kruger, EJSHS Student Board Member

Lianna (ASTI): During my tenure, I hope to implement more mental health support programs and encourage more inclusive round table discussions for groups that feel underrepresented. By establishing support for these groups, a sense of community and connection will spread. I also intend to create events that integrate values of inclusion for the district as a whole. With the values of AUSD behind these events and the hope of fostering a stronger community within us all, I hope to create thoughtful experiences that everyone can be part of.
Mirabelle (EJSHS): I want to float the idea of students being able to vote in school board elections, specifically voting on school board members and such. I found they do this in a couple of other districts and wanted to propose this idea and figure out if it were something our district/board would be interested in doing. I personally would have loved to be able to participate in something like this during high school.


What other hobbies, activities, or jobs do you participate in?
Talia (AHS): I have a few other activities under my belt. I'm on the Youth Advisory Board for the School-Based Health Center, I'm the commissioner of Alameda High's Environmental Committee, I'm on the PBIS committee for Alameda High, I'm the president of the Jewish Student Union for AHS, and I work at Greens and Grains in the Marketplace! I also love to hike, camp, climb, and read.
Lianna (ASTI): I've always been interested in the framework of education and learning. This has led me to be a student board member of EBAYC, a nonprofit that works to provide support programs and enrichment opportunities for students in underfunded neighborhoods. We work across the school districts of Oakland, Sacramento, and Fresno. Outside of school-related programs, I play lacrosse. I've been playing ever since sixth grade and have loved it from the very beginning. Besides the agility and competitiveness of the sport, the places and friends I meet from lacrosse are irreplaceable. As of lately, I've picked up cooking and baking, but I don't think the kitchen and I get along too well.

Lianna Lau, ASTI Student Board Member

Mirabelle (EJSHS): I do a lot of activities, and they can sound a little scattered. Some of the biggest parts of my life would be the radio show I run at my school every Monday morning on KJTZ. I also play water polo and swim on my school's teams. To fill any of the extra time I have, I go to the plethora of community service events/programs I'm involved in. I'm also incredibly involved in Model UN at my school, as international relations is one of my biggest interests.


What advice would you give students who want to take on a leadership role?
Lianna (ASTI): We all start somewhere! Take the first step and go for the position. During your tenure, you are bound to make mistakes, which is normal! Just like everyone else, leaders also make mistakes. These mistakes don't define who you are as a person and certainly not as a leader. Instead, see these mistakes as gold, or in other words, an opportunity to learn, which is priceless. With an enthusiastic mindset and the eagerness to learn, you are bound to succeed.
Mirabelle (EJSHS): I would tell other students to be prepared as much as possible. Never procrastinate on the set tasks you know you'll need to do eventually, as more stuff will continue to stack up for you to check off. Also, remember to listen to others around you and to be perceptive to new and other ideas.


What advice would you give the new student board members?
Talia (AHS): Some advice that I would give to new student board members is to explore your new role and get to know the people you'll be working with! I learned the most last year about what I could do by talking to different administrators at our school and the school board members. I talked about all the ideas I had and suggested things that actually ended up being implemented. You don't know the influence you can have until you try!