As a straight ‘A’ high school student, Kerri Mariner could have gone to almost any university. Instead, she studied vocational education and became a veterinary technician.
Trustee Mariner says being able to choose between college and trade school gives her a unique perspective on the governing board for the Banning Unified School District. And it emphasizes the importance of meeting the needs of every student.
“We should have an education system built around people,” she says. “Students thrive when we adopt an individualized approach to learning—whether that means `career ready’ or `college-ready.’”
Finding your niche
Mariner says that students must be ready to compete in the Twenty-First Century global economy—whether they go to college, trade school, or straight to work as she did initially. Because she was good in math, Mariner found a niche right out of high school working as a bookkeeper at her mom’s upholstery shop.
“As I look back at my life, this is why I put such an emphasis on vocational education,” she says. “I was one of those kids.”
In her mid-twenties, Mariner worked as a veterinary technician in the Inland Empire, where she assisted with surgery, filled prescriptions, scheduled surgeries, and handled payroll.
As a representative for Trustee Area #3, Mariner emphasizes the need for students to explore their world and search for their niche from the moment they enter school. She says pre-kindergarten classes for four- and five-year-olds play a major role. Studies show 90 percent of a child’s brain develops by age five—often with lasting effects on learning.
“I have a passion for education,” Mariner says. ”Schools must thrive, so kids can thrive.”