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Pasadena Unified Announces Ombuds Officer

Release from Pasadena Unified School District:

The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) today announced the appointment of Esther C. Salinas as Ombuds Officer.  Dr. Salinas, who has served as principal of Sierra Madre Elementary School since 2011, will establish the district’s first Ombuds Office and provide families, students, and staff with objective, informal and confidential opportunities to be heard, express concerns, identify options for managing and resolving conflicts, and learn productive ways of communicating. The creation of the Ombuds Office aligns with the district’s core values and its strategic emphasis on improved customer service and effective and efficient systems.
“Dr. Salinas brings tremendous skills and experience to this important position, where she will help effect positive changes in the culture of our district so that schools and offices are more agile and responsive to the needs of families, students, and staff,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald.  “The creation of the Ombuds Office will help foster the educational and professional environments in which students can thrive and be prepared to seize opportunities for success in college and beyond.”
As Ombuds Officer, Dr. Salinas will operate independently from ordinary staff structures and report directly to the Superintendent and the Board of Education.  One of her first responsibilities will be to develop a charter agreement aligned to International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards for the Ombuds Office.  PUSD’s Ombuds Office will operate under the “Standards of Practice” and “Code of Ethics” of the IOA to the fullest extent possible to serve the interests of the district and its constituents.
Because the office will be in a position to receive important information that has been segmented until now, the Ombuds Officer will provide upward feedback to district leadership in connecting and underscoring issues and trends. In her new position, Dr. Salinas will identify gaps between policy and practice, and report on patterns or trends to the appropriate decision makers in the district, and make recommendations to prevent the recurrence of issues.
“I am honored to have served PUSD as the principal of Sierra Madre Elementary School, where I had the opportunity to work with a talented team of teachers, staff, parents, and volunteers to nurture young learners in a safe and supportive community as they grew into brilliant, creative, strong, and truehearted leaders,” said Dr. Salinas.  “I now welcome the opportunity to serve PUSD in the new position of Ombuds Officer as a resource for students, families, and staff to listen and resolve concerns, and as a place for every voice in PUSD to be heard.”
In addition to leading Sierra Madre Elementary School as principal since 2011, Dr. Salinas brings previous experience as a school principal and director of Burbank Unified School District’s human resources and educational services.
Under Dr. Salinas’ leadership, Sierra Madre Elementary was named a California Gold Ribbon School and earned the California Exemplary Arts Education Award in 2016. Similarly, during her tenure as principal of Jefferson Elementary in Burbank Unified, the school was named a California Distinguished School in 2006 and a Los Angeles County Music Center BRAVO finalist for excellence in the arts in 2007.  As principal of Conejo Elementary School in the Conejo Valley Unified School District from 2003-2005, she led the school to win the Title I Academic Achievement Award in 2005.
Prior to beginning her career as a teacher in 1995 in the Glendora Unified School District, Dr. Salinas was a research and processing coordinator for a civil engineering firm in Diamond Bar from 1987-1996.
Dr. Salinas has a Doctor of Education degree in K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings from the University of Southern California; a Master of Education in Educational Technology from Azusa Pacific University; a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from California State University, Los Angeles; and a Bachelor of Science from Bob Jones University in South Carolina. She is currently completing certification as an IOA member and passed examinations toward becoming a certified organizational ombudsman practitioner.
Full planning meetings will be held with Sierra Madre Elementary School stakeholders, students, employees, and parents to solicit input in developing the principal profile that will inform the recruitment and selection of a new principal.
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