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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Roy Boulghourjian- Pumping New Blood into the PUSD

Roy Boulghourjian- Pumping New Blood into the PUSD

by Pasadena Independent
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Roy Boulghourjian during one of the debates- Photo by Terry Miller

Roy Boulghourjian during one of the debates- Photo by Terry Miller

By May S. Ruiz
His inspiring immigrant success story began inauspiciously halfway around the world. Today, he is an elected member of the Pasadena Unified Schools District’s Board of Directors.
Roy Boulghourjian fled Lebanon in October of 1982 to escape the civil war. His early years in the US were spent in the construction industry, where he toiled for two years. He later moved on to a better job in the diamond wholesale business and worked as an appraiser, sorter and sales manager.
Grateful for the new life and opportunity that he had been given, Roy decided to give back to the community. Through his church in Glendale, he volunteered to teach ESL (English as Second Language) to immigrants on welfare. This was when the teaching bug bit him.
Roy left a well-paying post in the jewelry business and proceeded to teach full time. He taught high school Math and Economics in both the public and private sector.
He then went on to serve as vice principal for two private high schools in Pasadena and Canoga Park, where he stayed for several years. During this time, Roy also got involved in Pasadena politics and became a board member of the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF). He currently sits on the Finance Audit Committee of PEF and the Measure TT Citizen’s Bond Oversight, and ACT Pasadena.
In 2011, he was invited to be Principal for a Day at Marshall Fundamental School and witnessed the Pasadena high school experience first-hand. He was pleasantly surprised at what he learned: he realized that all the gloom and doom he had been hearing about the Pasadena educational system was unfounded.
This singular experience led him to start visiting various high schools in Pasadena. Everywhere he went, he found teachers who were caring, knowledgeable and capable of educating young minds. He met students who were polite, diligent and ambitious. Roy started advocating for Pasadena public schools.
Roy joined Mt. Sierra College in 2011 as Adjunct Professor of Math and Economics. In two years, he moved up to become Department Chair of the Business and General Education Department.
The eye-opening experience Roy had the day he served as principal remained in his mind and compelled him to run for a PUSD seat. During a panel discussion among the candidates held before elections they were asked what the district’s challenges and opportunities were. Roy said Pasadena’s greatest assets are its wealth, people, organizations, and business community. The challenge, according to him, is to promote the idea that a community’s values are reflected in its public schools.
On his website, Roy lists the following priorities: Increase enrollment and retention rates; ensure the efficient implementation of the common core; and continue and expand the Dual Language Immersion program.
On March 11, 2015, an overwhelming 68% of voters elected Roy to Pasadena’s District 2. Elated and eager to get started, Roy says he wants to immediately work on reversing the bad image that has hounded the school district for decades. One of his first courses of action is improving the curb appeal of the schools. He believes that parents would feel better about enrolling their children in public schools if these were clean and safe.
Roy claims that Pasadena is ahead of all the other districts in terms of its investment in curriculum, textbooks and training but he would like to work at getting better parental involvement in their children’s education. He also wants the district not to rely solely on government funds to finance programs. To this end, he aims to build bridges between PUSD and the business community.
There is much work ahead for this new member of the board, but Roy Boulghourjian is up to the task. He will put all his energy and effort at rehabilitating PUSD’s image. And when Roy puts his mind to it, there is no stopping what he could achieve.


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