Parent, Nonprofit Leader, Published Author, Proponent of Open Government
Debra (who also goes by Debbie) and her husband have lived in Irvine for 25 years and have two children who attended IUSD schools. Their son has since graduated, and their daughter is a current IUSD student. Throughout the years, Debbie has been very actively involved in her children's education working as a PTA member, classroom volunteer, field trip chaperone - and even a school mascot!
Debbie is a Southern California native who earned her B.A. from UC Santa Barbara, and an MBA from San Diego State University. She worked in healthcare marketing promoting hospital and physician services.
After her son was born with a serious heart condition, needing multiple open-heart surgeries as an infant and toddler, she co-founded a nonprofit organization providing support and information to other families. She soon realized there was a communication gap between physicians and parents, which led to her conducting nationwide research with cardiologists on physician/patient communication, and publishing the novel results in medical journal articles. She was also asked to co-author chapters in two prominent cardiology textbooks and speak at an international conference for medical professionals. Her ability to work with medical professionals and parents to improve communication was always with the ultimate goal of better outcomes for these children.
This experience also helped her gain an understanding of children with different types of medical and educational special needs and she utilizes that knowledge to help families navigate the school system to ensure their children receive an appropriate education.
Debbie is a big proponent of government transparency, and has taught classes on how to obtain public records to attorneys, advocates and parents. She believes that elected officials should serve the public - as intended. During COVID, she learned more about the operations of IUSD and expressed concerns at Board meetings during public comments. The resistance to hearing her comments drew the attention of the ACLU and multiple media outlets.
She hopes to use her experience as an Irvine parent, her compassion for ALL children and her research/analytical skills to delve into the data, seek answers to questions on behalf of her constituents and all members of the public, and make informed decisions with the number one priority being kids FIRST.