Jon Primuth | Changing of the Guard for School Board

Jon Primuth takes over as president, replaces Elisabeth Eilers who finishes 1-year term

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | | New Board of Education President Jon Primuth, center, is congratulated by outgoing president Elisabeth Eilers, left, and incoming Board Clerk Dr. Suzie Abajian.

With full confidence, Jon Primuth is ready to step up to the challenge as the newest president of the South Pasadena Board of Education.

Primuth moves into the top seat after two years as a member the board, replacing Elisabeth Eilers who finished her 1-year term in office.

As he looks to the year ahead, Primuth said it’s important that the community hears the Board of Education’s priorities and progress it’s making on a number of fronts. “I think we have a really cooperative board right now,” he said. “We look at a lot of things at a lot of angles, but because we have a lot of trust with each other, we end up working as a cohesive unit. It’s really important to have a culture of working together as a unified body, and that trickles down to teacher morale and, naturally, student achievement.”

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In Primuth’s mind, the job as president calls for facilitating the board in working together. “It means listening, asking questions, looking for alternative perspectives, making sure that each member of the board feels like they have a strong stake in the outcome and are listened to,” he said. “I want to facilitate discussion. I’d say that’s the No. 1 goal in terms of what I do at the board meetings.”

Outside the boardroom, Primuth recognizes he will have a high profile role in the community and plans to attend his share of events, from PTA meetings and Chamber of Commerce functions to Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action (WISPPA) events.

“I’m looking forward to it because I love this community,” he said of the opportunity to be the board president. “This is one of those rare times and places when you can help people live in a healthy community. We all understand we have a very unique and special city and we try to make it a better place. I love this town, and when you love something, you want to spend time nurturing it.”

Eilers, showered with praise as the outgoing president, was presented a gavel on a plaque by Primuth, who served as board clerk for one year before becoming president.

“What a blessing it has been and a joy to be a part of this board under your leadership,” said fellow board member Julie Giulioni told Eilers. “Your grace and graciousness are constantly inspiring.”

Added Dr. Michele Kipke, a longtime board member, “To my friend and fellow board member, thank you. Thank you for your passion, thank you for your commitment to our students. Because of you our students are much better off.”

Eilers stressed that school board is comprised of a five-member team and credited those around her for the board’s many accomplishments over the years, saying she’s had the “privilege of working with the finest of people.”