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Election: Norma Miyamoto

Norma Miyamoto is running for one of the two open Governing Board seats in the Nov. 6 election. (Linus Smith/The Telescope)

Q: What is your educational & career background?

A: I was a communications and journalism major with both a bachelors and masters degree. I taught journalism for eight years at Mira Costa College, and I was the advisor for the campus newspaper. I have about 30 years of experience in community college education, nine were teaching and 21 in primarily with administration.

I think the interesting perspective that I will bring to being a trustee, is that in the community college setting, I have worked in nearly every classification of employee. In that I served 18 months at MiraCosta College as a news writer, that was a classified employee, I served here at Palomar as an administrator. After I retired in 2015, I came back on two different temporary assignments, and was doing special projects and dean assignments, in that capacity I was a temporary employee. I’ve been a full time faculty, and a part time faculty.

So I really have a broad perspective from an employee base, of what the community college environment consists of, and I think that will be very helpful as I serve in a trustee role


Q: Why are you running?

A: A couple reasons. I realized after I retired, that I retired a little too soon, and that I still need purpose in my life. But most importantly, is I really do love Palomar. As I got out of the car this morning and I was walking in across  campus, and I got [students] during passing hour, the campus was buzzing. I see the students walking… it just feels good. I still have my heart and soul here, I like seeing young people, learning and exploring their world and I like being a part of that.

I also believe in the Dave Ramsey kind of theory, that the retirement years are for service and for giving back. I’m fortunate enough to really not need to earn a living at this point, and yet, I still want to work, and so I will do so hopefully in this service capacity.


Q: What is your ultimate campaign promise & goal?

A: One is to be accessible to all stakeholders. I want to be available for meetings, phone calls, emails, texts, whatever technology I’m capable of using. But I will be available. I believe that has been one of the challenges right now on campus, it’s a little bit of an inability to gain accurate information. But you do so as a trustee by listening, and asking questions of the stakeholders involved.


Q: What separates you from other candidates?

A: My knowledge and experience at Palomar College, that is truly what I bring to the table. Because of my knowledge and experience of how this organization operates I know what questions should be asked, and I also believe that my journalism training.. You know, I know where to dig and how to dig and where to go to, to get the information needed.

So I would say both my academic career training, and my experience of this college makes me a unique candidate.


Q: What is your history with Palomar, and why is the college important to you?

A: I served 19 years in a permanent capacity. I started actually as the manager of marketing communications with my journalism background. Then about four years later I competed for, and was successful in attaining the position of director of extended education, so that moved me to the instruction side of the house.

After that position, my last eight years as interim dean and then permanent dean.


Q: What is the biggest problem facing Palomar, and how would you help fix it?

A: I know personally that employee morale is very low. We tend to have a motto here at Palomar, “Students first”, and I believe that but I’m going to modify that slightly and say employees first. Because the employees, the staff, the faculty, are the ones that take care of the students. They meet the students’ needs, both in services provided and instruction.

If the employees pull in the parking lot in the morning, don’t feel great about being here, don’t feel valued, don’t feel heard, they are not going to be able to serve [students] as well as they should be. I think that we need to be very cognizant of the people and the work follows, and the work gets done better and the students get served better.


Q: How will you help improve Board relations with faculty?

A: I as a trustee would be available to all stakeholders, I’m going to listen, and I’m going to ask the appropriate questions. I believe that there’s been somewhat of an edict, and it’s not all that uncommon that trustees are to communicate only with the superintendent president.

This not unique to Palomar, but when you have that one conduit of information there is potential for the information being, not inaccurate, but it’s one source and you know that you need several sources, because there are many perspectives to every issue. I will personally as a trustee make sure that I’m talking and listening to different stakeholders. I will urge my fellow trustees to do the same. So that we’re not just listening to the administration’s viewpoint


Q: How much time do you spend talking to students, and trying to understand their needs through your conversations with them?

A: Right now, not a lot of time but I certainly will in the future. I can certainly make myself available. As the superintendent/president does, there’s a standing hour once a week where I’m available on campus. How are you really going to understand students’ needs without speaking [to] and hearing [them]. I think as a former dean, I will continue that dialogue and let students who I am and how they can find me, I will make time for that.


Q: What do you believe students’ biggest problem is, and how would you help fix it?

A: For most students, it’s money, it’s resources, it’s time. Most students are juggling a lot of things, this is not your full time job. It’s about students finding all the financial resources that are available resources, you know accessing those resources and being successful here. Every class you take here is part of your permanent record, so your time here as students is extremely important, and it follows you.


Q: Do you plan on maintaining a strong relationship with the student body after the election, if so, how?

A: Absolutely. By making sure the student body knows I’m accessible. The Associated Student Government is the vehicle on campus that represents the whole, so I will make myself known to that group and be open to an invitation from them to attend their meetings on a regular basis if they so desire.


Q: What do you believe the role of The Telescope is on campus, how is it important to the community?

A: First and foremost it’s a learning vehicle for [the students].It’s an experience that replicates the real world in a fairly safe environment. Number two, it’s a voice, it’s a real newspaper, so it should be treated and regarded with respect. It’s a vehicle for news and for conveying important, newsworthy items.


Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?

A: I just want to stress how important it is for community colleges to continue to thrive in our community

I’ve lived a fair amount time, but I don’t have all the answers, and I think the answers are out there amongst all of you. I think that I can hopefully be a conduit to bring everyone together, a catalyst to move us forward together. It’s definitely not about me running for this office, it’s not about me. I’m not interested in fame or fortune here, I just want to give back to the community – it’s more about making the school a better place.

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Election: Norma Miyamoto