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Rio Hondo Board of Trustees Say Goodbye to Mary Ann Pacheco and Madeline Shapiro

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Rio Hondo Board of Trustees Say Goodbye to Mary Ann Pacheco and Madeline Shapiro

Board members Diana Laureano, Vicky Santana, Mary Ann Pacheco, School President Teresa Dreyfuss, and board members Norma  Edith Garcia and Gary Mendez pose for a picture during Shapiro's and Pacheco's last board meeting. (Photo by Brayan Altamirano)

Board members Diana Laureano, Vicky Santana, Mary Ann Pacheco, School President Teresa Dreyfuss, and board members Norma Edith Garcia and Gary Mendez pose for a picture during Shapiro's and Pacheco's last board meeting. (Photo by Brayan Altamirano)

Board members Diana Laureano, Vicky Santana, Mary Ann Pacheco, School President Teresa Dreyfuss, and board members Norma Edith Garcia and Gary Mendez pose for a picture during Shapiro's and Pacheco's last board meeting. (Photo by Brayan Altamirano)

Board members Diana Laureano, Vicky Santana, Mary Ann Pacheco, School President Teresa Dreyfuss, and board members Norma Edith Garcia and Gary Mendez pose for a picture during Shapiro's and Pacheco's last board meeting. (Photo by Brayan Altamirano)

After losing their bid for re-election Board of Trustee President Madeline Shapiro (Area 5) and Trustee Member Mary Ann Pacheco (Area 3) attended their last board meeting Nov. 14th in the boardroom. Newcomers Rosaelva Lomeli, who is replacing Pacheco, and Oscar Valladares, who is replacing Shapiro, will be sworn in Dec. 12th.

It was an evening of heartfelt goodbyes as the two now-former trustees received commendations and certificates for their lifetime service to Rio Hondo College.

Shapiro was a former educator in East Whittier City School District for over 24 years before becoming a trustee in 2009. Pacheco was a former full-time English professor at Rio Hondo College for 37 years before she was elected to the board in 2011.

The offices of Majority Leader Ian Calderon sent Ruby Calderon to present certificates for trustee Shapiro and trustee Pacheco.

“Thank you for your outstanding and dedicated service to the students of Rio Hondo College. Your efforts were truly invaluable and will benefit our community for generations on behalf of the residents of the 57th District,” said Ruby.

Mayor of South El Monte Gloria Olmos and her mayor Pro Tem Angel Richards were also in attendance to give their respects to trustees Shapiro and Pacheco.

“I want to thank you for all your hard work, on behalf of the city of South El Monte, myself and Mayor Pro Tem and the council, for your commitment to teaching and education and for serving the students…You left a legacy behind of powerful women following in your footsteps…God bless you on your future endeavors,” said Mayor Olmos to Shapiro.

Mayor Olmos couldn’t hold back her emotions as she presented Pacheco with her certificate from the city of South El Monte, stating that “Mary Ann, you’ve been a pillar in our community for many, many years but have served as a board member tremendously…for your hard work and dedication to education we want to thank you,” continued Mayor Olmos, “I remember thinking ‘when I grow up I want to be like her.’ You have energy that is amazing and you have served your community extremely well. Your [successor’s] going to have big shoes to fill, I reminded her of that coming in. I said to her ‘Now that you got there you’re going to have some big shoes to fill,’ because you [Mary Ann] are everywhere.”

South El Monte Mayor Gloria Olmos, Trustee Mary Ann Pacheco, and South El Monte Mayor Pro Tem Angel Richards pose together during Pacheco’s last board meeting after losing to Rosaela Lomeli. (Photo by Brayan Altamirano)

Mayor Pro Tem Richards also praised Pacheco’s legacy of advocating for students from South El Monte and the district as a whole.

The offices of some of California’s Democratic leaders sent commendations and certificates for both Shapiro and Pacheco. From Senator Dianne Feinstein to Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and assemblymembers Cristina Garcia, Ed Chau, and Blanca Rubio, as well as the mayor of Whittier Joe Venatieri.

“Trustee Shapiro was here when I was first elected…Thank you for your mentorship and support. A lot of the initiatives that we have here at Rio Hondo College, the fact that we are student-centered came from the heart of the board of trustees and in that way we have no differences amongst us. We all came from the same place. Madeline, thank you for your service, you will both be missed. It’s kind of ironic that now that you’re retired you have all this time to be our second ambassadors your time on the board is also coming to an end,” said board member Vicky Santana.

“Mary Ann and Madeline, I just want to thank you both for bringing such heart, passion, and compassion, civility, and professionalism to this board. I’m really thankful that together through- we went through some difficult times. I think Vicky put it well, we were always focused on students and what’s best for the college. And even though we disagreed on details we always reached the same conclusion. I just want to thank you for that,” said board member Norma Edith Garcia, “This is a legacy, also, of educators who have committed their entire life to service, to students and to the community.”

Rio Hondo President Teresa Dreyfuss also shared words about these two women, “I have worked with Madeline for the past nine years and with Mary Ann for the past five years as a board member…including during negotiations on opposite sides. We worked hard as a team and they work so hard for the students and for the success of students…Thank you for your work to the college. I know your heart, both of you, are for student success. We will miss you tremendously.”

Shapiro took a moment to speak to the board and that she had been advised to talk about her tenure here and accomplishments, but admitted she felt uncomfortable doing so. Instead, she decided to speak about what she has learned in her time as a board member.

 

Some of us are less concerned with the common good and more concerned with a self-serving agenda and those so inclined seem to pursue those agendas relentlessly to the detriment of all.

– Madeline Shapiro 

 

“First and foremost I have learned that governing for someone like me is difficult,” said Shapiro, “from the beginning I’ve always wanted to do what is best for the college and have endeavored to put students first and treat employees and colleagues with the respect they deserve. The difficulty in pursuing this course in governing arises from two sources. The first is the varying perspectives in constituents…the deeper problem to be dealt with has to do with the nature of human beings. Some of us are less concerned with the common good and more concerned with a self-serving agenda and those so inclined seem to pursue those agendas relentlessly to the detriment of all. It is not a difficult task to delude oneself into thinking that ‘if something is good for me it is good period.’ People in any sort of leadership position with this self-serving, non-reflecting mindset usually do great harm when remained unchecked. And I’ve learned that when you check such people you become their enemy and are treated accordingly. I accept that. Standing up to bullies has been the core of my work in my role as a teacher, union leader, and as a trustee. Sometimes the bullies win temporarily.”

Shapiro went on to thank the students and employees that spoke to her “honestly about their concerns” and trusted her enough to continuously stand by her when they disagreed with her. She also thanked President Dreyfuss’ creativity in solving “very difficult problems.”

 

I understand that during the course of the election some staff members stated that they hated me. It saddens me profoundly. There is much too much hatred in the world today. It mustn’t find a place at Rio Hondo College.

-Mary Anne Pacheco

 

“I’m very emotional right now,” admitted Pacheco when she stood before the board, “thank you so much…I have now served on the board of trustees for five years and have the opportunity to work with some outstanding and truly dedicated board members…For me, in whatever role I was engaged it was always about the people. They were and are Rio Hondo College…I am grateful for the experiences I have, the skills I was able to develop and the perspective I was able to maintain…I have always tried to do my best to whatever I have committed to…I think I was a good teacher, focusing not on the subject matter as on the students and their learning I think I was a good union leader, advocating for both faculty and students and for a better future for both. I think I was a good trustee, working hard to promote the college and to build community partnerships. I gave all that I could for the college, the students, and the communities they come from…I understand that during the course of the election some staff members stated that they hated me. It saddens me profoundly. There is much too much hatred in the world today. It mustn’t find a place at Rio Hondo College. I hope that the energy required to hate is used for better ends. Transformed and directed towards other most positive things. I don’t hate anyone and I wish only the very best for everyone at Rio Hondo College.”

Those in attendance at the meeting wished both Shapiro and Pacheco the very best in their future endeavors.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov.20 print edition. Email Diana Juarez at diana.juarez8805@my.riohondo.edu.

 

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Rio Hondo Board of Trustees Say Goodbye to Mary Ann Pacheco and Madeline Shapiro