With Our Thanks
When I joined the Redondo Beach Unified School District (RBUSD) in July 2006, I knew nothing about the Beach Cities Health District (BCHD). Ten years later, it is a very different narrative.
BCHD is a critical and caring partner in our school district’s whole-child approach to teaching and learning. BCHD embraces
the notion that students who find social and emotional balance, students who manage stressful situations with calm and focus, students who maintain a healthy diet, and students who exercise regularly are more inclined to thrive academically. Redondo Beach Unified School District students are more well-rounded than ever, and this can only help them in their adult lives.
Of course, any great organization typically (although not always) has a great leader. In this case, Susan Burden is that leader. Susan is the chief executive officer of BCHD. She has been in this position for over 12 years. When I joined RBUSD not knowing a thing about BCHD, Susan was the one who walked me through their mission and vision. (I couldn’t get past the fact that the BCHD offices were exactly where I received eight stitches in my chin in July 1985 after an injury playing beach volleyball in Hermosa Beach.) As Susan shared every detail, it was clear that the organization’s purpose aligned to my values as a parent and as a public educator. BCHD’s focus was indeed RBUSD’s focus.
Over the last 10 years, Susan’s team and the RBUSD team have partnered with a multitude of projects and movements—Blue Zones, MindUp, Walking School Bus, Streets for All, LiveWell Kids, and so many more. Susan has been instrumental in leading the BCHD charge to create healthier, happier, and more resilient students.
Susan is retiring this month from her role with BCHD. This will be a sad day for many, including me. Perhaps my biggest pet peeve when it comes to public education is what I call the Espousal Theory. That is, many public educators and alleged student advocates talk a big game about improving the lives of our youth as well as the communities in which they live. However, when you see these same people at their workplace, their deeds (actions) do not align with their espoused values. I can assure you that Susan Burden does not fall into this category. What she says, she does—daily. On behalf of the entire RBUSD family, thank you, Susan, for your relentless pursuit of bettering our students’ lives, not to mention the fabric of the Redondo Beach learning community. You have been a friend that none of us will ever forget. On behalf of the Board of Education (Anita Avrick, David Witkin, Brad Serkin, Michael Christensen, and Brad Waller), thank you!
Steven Keller, Ed.D.
Proud Superintendent of Schools