School Board Candidate Drops Out

Those seeking seats include challengers Zahir Robb and Dr. Ruby Kalra and incumbents Julie Giulioni and Michele Kipke. | South Pasadena Unified School District Building on El Centro

A fifth candidate seeking a seat on the South Pasadena Board of Education, whose name will appear on the ballot, has reportedly dropped out of the race.

That leaves two incumbents and two challengers seeking three seats in the Nov. 6 election.

Ivonne Press, who filed on the last official day to register in August, has now decided not to seek a seat. Current Board of Education members Julie Giulioni and Dr. Michele Kipke will join newcomers to the political scene, Zahir Robb and Dr. Ruby Kalra, in a bid to serve on the school board. Elisabeth Eilers, a current board of education member, has decided not to seek reelection.

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Meet the candidates

Incumbent Julie Giulioni

PHOTO: City Of South Pasadena | | Julie Giulioni

Julie Giulioni began her term on the Governing Board in 2013, after a lengthy “volunteer career” with South Pasadena schools. She has served in executive board roles (including President) in the PTAs at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and is a Past President of the Board of Trustees of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation. Julie grew up in South Pasadena and moved back so that her two children would benefit from the same high quality education that she enjoyed. A former teacher, professor and university department chair, today Julie is a consultant, speaker and author on a variety of leadership and workplace learning topics.


Incumbent Dr. Michele Kipke

PHOTO: City Of South Pasadena | | Dr Michele Kipke

Dr. Michele Kipke has served on the Governing Board since 2008. She was the Board President in 2010-2011 and 2014-2015, and the District Liaison to the City of South Pasadena’s Youth Commission in 2006. From 2006-2008, she served on the Board of Trustees of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation. Since 2004, she has been a Court-Appointed Special Advocate and an educational guardian for children under the jurisdiction of the Department of Children and Family Services. Michele is a Professor of Pediatrics and Preventative Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, and Vice-Chair of Research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. A longtime resident of South Pasadena, Michele is the proud mother of two children.


Challenger Dr. Ruby Kalra

PHOTO: City Of South Pasadena | | Dr. Ruby Kalra

On her election website, Dr. Ruby Kalra says she has given years of dedicated service to South Pasadena schools as a volunteer leader, including president of the South Pasadena Council PTA, president of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, president of the SPMS PTA, and recipient of the 2018 Golden Apple Award for outstanding service to our schools.  Ruby is a hard-working, collaborative team player with a depth of experience and a thoughtful, inclusive leadership style.

As a school board member, Kalra will continue to advocate for clear and open communication, parent and student engagement, student success and wellness; and fiscal responsibility.

Challenger Zahir Robb

PHOTO: City Of South Pasadena | | Zahir Robb

“I’m running for school board so that every one of our public school students is prepared for the 21st century; to ensure parents’ voices are heard; and to work with all South Pasadena residents — because we all have a stake in the success of our schools,” Robb wrote on his election website.

He added: “I love this city – and I love working with kids. Staying engaged with my community and schools has been a priority since I moved back to South Pasadena.  I serve as Vice-Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, act as a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain, and volunteer as an AYSO Division Coach and referee. Furthermore, I am an active member of Dads Uniting Dads in Education and Service (DUDES), a YMCA basketball coach, and a group leader with the YMCA’s Adventure Guides/Trailblazers program.”