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March 7, 2017 — Local Elections
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Los Angeles Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board of Trustees, Trustee Area 4

Photo of Allison Holdorff Polhill

Allison Holdorff Polhill

13,510 votes (13.99%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Supporting all models of public education that are thriving and ending the battle between traditional and non-traditional schools.
  • Addressing the budget shortfalls and fixing the budget with my vast experience.
  • Uniting a fractured board to be student focused with my expertise in school governance



UCLA, Loyola Law School BA - Political Science, Juris Doctorate (current)


Allison Holdorff Polhill is a public school governing board leader, an educator and a parent. She has served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees at Palisades Charter High School (PCHS) for the last six years. As an educator, Allison has taught Debate and Speech as well as Ethics and Human Communication at the high school and college levels. As a lawyer, Allison successfully represented three Native American tribes, preventing the nuclear industry from dumping radioactive waste on their sacred grounds. A graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School, Allison is also a proud former student of Southern California public schools. Allison’s three children are all local public school graduates as well.  


Allison was elected four times as a governing board member at Palisades Charter Elementary School, Paul Revere Charter Middle School and PCHS.   PCHS is one of the largest schools in Los Angeles with 3,000 students from 100 zip codes representing the culturally rich and diverse demographics of our city (34% free and reduced lunch, 24% Latino and 14% African-American).  While on the board at PCHS, Allison worked to create a balanced budget of approximately $30 million each year.  As a board member one of Allison’s final actions was to approve a PALI-UTLA agreement.  This agreement is an example of what can happen when teachers, bargaining units, administrators, and boards look at the entire budget and determine what is best for students. With Allison’s legal and governance background, she consistently led and allocated resources based on students’ needs first.


Allison has been a champion for social justice and maintaining diversity at public schools.  When LAUSD abruptly halted bussing to PCHS, forcing students from disadvantaged areas to go back to their sending schools, Allison took action.  She lobbied on behalf of families from all over the city, encouraging PCHS to pay for all current students’ transportation so they could graduate from PCHS.  Allison also assisted in creating transportation options at PCHS to ensure that incoming PCHS students from outside the neighborhood could continue to attend PCHS. 


As a parent, Allison has served public schools as a volunteer in countless capacities:

Chair of various booster organizations, sports team parent, auction fundraising chair, parent assistant in elementary school class rooms, teach appreciation event coordinator, just to name a few.   As a National Collegiate Debate Champion, Allison most recently co-founded the PCHS debate team where she continues to serve as the coach for students. 



Allison’s three children Alex, Lucy and Carter are all public school graduates, are now in college. Allison, has spent the last eighteen years working at public schools making a difference for thousands of students. Having navigated her children through Los Angeles public schools over the last 20 years, Allison has a fresh perspective of the needs of students.  Allison comes from a family of educators. Two of her sisters are elementary school teachers, her mother a retired college counselor and her stepmother, a retired high school teacher.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (4)

  • Palisades News
  • National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), Los Angeles County Committee (LACC)
  • Women's Political Committee (WPC) - State PAC
  • Speak Up

Elected Officials (2)

  • Caprice Young, Former Board Chair, LAUSD
  • Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Individuals (5)

  • Josh Elson, Chair Visual and Performing Arts, UTLA Teacher
  • Adam Wolman, Creative Consultant/Producer, Vice President of Communication Palisades Democratic Club
  • Nancy Cassaro Fracchiolla, Drama and Production. UTLA Teacher
  • Kate Anderson, Executive Director, Center for Strategic Public-Private Partnerships
  • Pam Magee, Ed.D.,Executive Director/Principal, Palisades Charter High School

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I’ve seen the difference a local community, responsible school board, and great teachers and leaders can make for our students. I was fortunate to attend a local public school in Southern California. My teacher, Mr. Roper, recruited me to be on the debate team. He had a profound impact on my life. After graduating high school, I honestly believed that anything was possible. Every student deserves a Mr. Roper! I went to UCLA and became a National Champion Debater. Recognizing the importance of critical thinking, I am the debate coach at Palisades Charter High School (PCHS). I have a law degree from Loyola Law School and have served as an elected member of the PCHS Board of Trustees for the last six years.


Becoming a parent was the impetus for my involvement in Los Angeles public schools. My traditional law career took a back seat to a student-focused career – specifically their education. I jumped in head first – assisting at all their schools – volunteering in the classrooms, teaching debate, re-writing charters, fundraising and serving as an elected school board member.


I quickly realized that high quality schools require effort on the part of their communities and these schools are not available in ALL zip codes. In 5th grade my son brought home a friend from an underserved area of LA. His grandmother wanted a better education for him because his local school was inferior. We learned that hundreds of kids were taking busses for several hours each day to attend the Palisades Complex. It was worth the commute with great teachers like Ms. Haga, Mr. Honda, Ms. Fracchiolla, Ms. Newbill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Martin, Ms. Saiza, and Mr. Steil. Sadly, thousands of students on waitlists were denied the opportunity to attend these excellent schools. Bound by their zip codes, many students with no other educational options attend low quality schools.


Wanting to support ALL kids, I have spent the last 18 years working at public schools. I have been a governing board member at Palisades Elementary, Paul Revere Charter Middle School and PCHS. PCHS has 3000 students from 100 zip codes representing the culturally rich and diverse demographics of Los Angeles. This school has a $30 million budget and negotiates with PALI-UTLA, a bargaining unit for teachers. The Board is comprised of members ranging from educators, students, parents and lawyers to financial experts. With differing backgrounds, members share opinions, take action, and allocate resources based on students’ needs first.


I was instrumental in establishing governing policies that ensure decisions are student focused, discourage micro-managing and encourage oversight of excellent instruction. PCHS had a revolving door of leadership due in part to a Board that would micro-manage its leader. For the past six years, Pali has experienced stable leadership. I also served on 13 school committees ranging from Risk Management and Fundraising to Facilities. Having local control of funding and decisions enabled our Board to retain talent and create innovative programs. This experience taught me that the most important role of a school board is to act in the best interest of its students. It is also imperative to govern with the utmost responsibility and balance budgets.


My kids are now 18, 20 and 22. Thanks to public schools in our area: Alex is a musician pursuing a career as a recording engineer; Lucy is studying environmental science at UC Irvine, currently in Indonesia with a shark conservation project; and our youngest, Carter, is pursuing a degree in Photography at Art Center College of Design. It is time for me to give back.


I am ready to represent Board District 4 at LAUSD and commit to: (1) adopt a students’ first agenda; (2) support excellent educational choices for ALL students and localized autonomy for schools in general; and (3) address gross budgetary shortfalls in a fiscally responsible manner. Let’s UNIFY LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS and create excellent educational choices for ALL students.

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