By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
It could be said that Bao Nguyen, 31, of Garden Grove, is a fan of community organization. Nguyen, who will be appointed to the Garden Grove Unified School District’s school board Tuesday, prides himself on his involvement in the community.
His goal for his time with GGUSD?
Building community relations and communication.
“As a member of the board, I will help our district foster collaboration through organizing and strengthening existing partnerships with the community, especially parents, in the education of GGUSD’s student,” said Nguyen.
“I will use my multilingual and interpersonal skills to engage with the community across cultures and inspire increased participation for the benefit of our students.”
Nguyen has been appointed to fill the gap left by the absence of former board member Dr. KimOanh Nguyen-Lam. Nguyen-Lam took an appointment in Washington D.C. in June.
Nguyen attributes his adult education achievements to the foundation that was built when he was a student in GGUSD to his graduation from Pacifica High School.
One particular moment in that education stands out to him. A seventh grade biology teacher Ann Stepp, author of, “Grunion: Fish Out of Water,” was teaching about the positive effects of “practicing random acts of kindness,” as well as showing home videos of the comedian Steve Martin being a funny teenager.
Nguyen said that Stepp had gone to Huntington Beach to dig in the sand for grunion eggs during springtime brought them into class to incubate and allowed the students to observe the embryonic growth under microscopes. Stepp then helped her students create the conditions for them to hatch right in front of the class.
“Ms. Stepp has passed away from cancer, but her teachings continue to inspire me,” said Nguyen.
After his time in GGUSD, Nguyen went on to get a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California at Irvine, a master of arts in religious studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and a California State Certification in mediation from Orange County Human Relations.
Nguyen will have a term that will last until November 2012, However, he plans on running for the school board again after this term has ended.
“I am a life-long resident of our district, a product of GGUSD schools and I share in the struggles and victories of my fellow neighbors,” said Nguyen, “I can effectively relate to our diverse community in three languages; English, Spanish and Vietnamese. This gives me the ability to listen and recognize subtle commonality to build bridges of understanding and foster collaboration across cultures.”
Although Nguyen admits that the biggest challenge in his future as a board member will be navigating through tough budget issues as California continues to cut funding, he says that the first step he takes will be the hardest part.
“Learning how to be a board member will be toughest lesson,” said Nguyen, “But one that I’m looking forward to.”