Santa Cruz Education Foundation to host special screening of Waiting for Superman followed by panel discussion; Sponsored by the County Office of Education

October 16, 2010
11:30 a.m.
Nickelodeon Theatre, 210 Lincoln Street
Tickets $15 at the door; Reserve your seats here

From the classroom to the capitol, parent to parent, teacher to student, Oprah to Facebook, we are in the  midst of a national conversation about public education. The film Waiting for Superman, directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) seeks to further the discussion and spark grassroots action through the compelling story of five young students.  The Santa Cruz Education Foundation, as advocates for our public schools, welcomes the opportunity to frame these issues in the context of our own community through a special showing of the film followed immediately by a panel discussion on October 16, 2010.

Our panel will be convened by Michael Watkins, County Superintendent of Schools and moderated by former Assemblymember John Laird.  Panelists include George Martinez, Educator; Mary Gaukel Forster, Principal of Delta Charter School; and Ellen Moir, CEO of the New Teacher Center. The event is hosted by the Santa Cruz Education Foundation with the support of the County Office of Education.

The film weaves the story of five children in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and the Bay Area into a larger picture of policy, achievement data and the education reform movement. The families of the five young children are filmed in their quest to find alternatives to their neighborhood schools; dramatic tension is supplied by the admission lotteries held by the charter schools they seek to join. While the film touches on polarization between teachers unions and education reformers, in the end it is a call to action to recognize the importance of classroom teachers and to support our neighborhood schools.

As supporters of public education, we believe that it is our job to ensure that all children have an outstanding neighborhood public school.  This is our collective responsibility. It is hard work that requires the full and engaged partnership of parents, educators, neighbors and community leaders. Together, we are Superman.  Our kids deserve nothing less.

Please join us on October 16 to view this film and engage in conversation about the successes, needs and challenges of our public schools. Seats are limited; please reserve your seats here by October 14; tickets purchased at the event. (Please note that the Santa Cruz Band Review will be taking place during the show; allow time to navigate street closures.  We recommend parking in one of the extended hour garages or lots.)

About our Panel

John Laird –Moderator, former Assemblymember
Raised in Vallejo and educated in Vallejo public schools, Mr. Laird’s parents were both educators. John Laird was a leader in public policy and elected office, representing parts of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara Counties in the California State Assembly. He served four years as Assembly Budget Committee Chair, and authored eighty-two bills signed into law, including the establishment of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. He was a leader in civil rights, coastal protection, children’s health, and higher education. Most recently John campaigned for the 15th District California Senate seat; he previously served nine years on the Santa Cruz City Council, including terms as Mayor in 1983-84 and 1987-88, as well as eight years on the Cabrillo Community College Board of Trustees. He graduated from Adlai Stevenson College, UCSC.

George Martinez, Educator
George has been involved in public education for 32 years. He taught mathematics for 22 years; he also co-founded the highly regard Math Academy program at Santa Cruz High School.  George is a passionate supporter and innovative developer of effective programs to increase student achievement.  Throughout his career in public education George has advocated for the improvement of the learning environment and working conditions for all school personnel. George has served on state and national policy councils with the California Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.  He is currently a commissioner with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Ellen Moir, CEO, New Teacher Center
The New Teacher Center (NTC), a national organization dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. NTC strengthens school communities through proven mentoring and professional development programs, online learning environments, policy advocacy, and research. NTC seeks to insure that the nation’s low-income, minority, and English language learners, those students most often taught by inexperienced teachers, have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. Ellen is widely recognized for her work in beginning teacher development and school reform.  Major awards include the 2008 National Staff Development Council Contribution to the Field award; the 2008 Full Circle Fund Impact Award; the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. 2005 Prize in Education; and the 2003 California Council on Teacher Education Distinguished Teacher Educator Award.

Mary Gaukel Forster, Delta Charter School Principal
Mary Gaukel Forster has been a teacher and an administrator for over 26 years. She has taught grades 1-12 and has been an elementary principal, a high school assistant principal, an alternative school principal and a director of curriculum and instruction. As an alternative principal, Mary created, staffed and opened a high school program and a middle school. Mary was named the Alternative Administrator of the Year, 1996/97, by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Region X. She was a representative to the ACSA state level Educational Options committee, an educational consultant to the Pajaro Valley Student Assistance and Prevention Program,  a member of the Monterey Bay Regional Partnership (School to Career), the Cabrillo College Articulation Committee, California Department of Education Department Drop-out Prevention Team, and the Pajaro Valley Healthy Start Collaborative Committee.

About the book
Waiting for Superman
, the book, is available now from Bookshop Santa Cruz.  We thank Bookshop Santa Cruz for helping to promote this event and support our schools.

About DonorsChoose
DonorsChoose.org is a national clearing house matching classroom needs with donors.  Every book purchased includes a $15 donor gift card; pledging to see the film also generates a $5 gift card that can be applied to classrooms in need locally and across the country.