Nemeth, Elder and Strutzenberg win election to Redondo Beach Unified Board of Education

by Donald Morrison

Rachel Silverman Nemeth, Dan Elder and Rolf Curtis Strutzenberg won election to the Redondo Beach Unified School District Board of Education on Friday, emerging from a field of eight candidates in what was one of the most competitive school board races in memory. The all mail-in election was held March 2, but City Clerk Eleanor Manazno’s office did not complete counting ballots until this afternoon.

Nemeth and Elder, who campaigned together, outdistanced the field, tallying 5,280 votes, or 16.01 percent, and earned 5,273, or 15.99 percent, respectively. Strutzenberg placed third, with 4,827 votes, or 14.64 percent. 

“It’s been a long journey to get here with an incredible amount of support from the community and my family,” Elder said following the final count. “Now the real work begins as our entire educational community recovers from the tragic impacts of the pandemic. I look forward to working with everyone to ensure all our children thrive in Redondo schools.”

Debates surrounding Covid-19 and the reopening of schools ignited an unprecedented interest among parents looking to fill the three seats in last Tuesday’s election.

Elder was born and raised in Manhattan Beach. He went to UC Santa Barbara before settling down in Redondo Beach. He works in computer security and has two kids in Redondo public schools, a third grader and a sixth grader. 

Dan Elder currently serves as the school mascot at Lincoln Elementary School, where he dresses up as the school’s trademark lion for various school events and fundraisers. Photo Courtesy of Dan Elder

In an interview from February, Elder said the RBUSD was right to push back the reopening date amid a record surge of positive coronavirus cases in LA County. Elder said he was passionate about minimizing the loss of learning that came from a year of online classes. 

Originally from Iowa, Strutzenberg came to Southern California in 1996 to help design a new airplane for an aerospace company in Redondo Beach. He attended college in Arlington at The University of Texas and received a postgraduate degree in Belgium. Strutzenberg has two sons, one in third grade and another starting kindergarten next fall. 

During the campaign, top priorities for Strutzenberg were to make sure students are better supported during remote learning and to safely get the schools reopened in a timely manner.

Rolf Strutzenberg said he places great value in listening to the wants and needs of the teachers. He believes the entire school district will run better, pandemic or not, if the teachers are better taken care of. Photo Courtesy of Rolf Strutzenberg

Nemeth is a family law attorney with Voss, Silverman and Braybrooke. She attended UC Davis, where she majored in psychology and child development. Nemeth has two kids, a son who is a junior at Redondo Union and daughter who graduated from Redondo Union in 2020. 

Nemeth said she planned to run for a spot on the RBUSD school board even before the pandemic. Quickly and safely reopening schools were the most important issues to Nemeth during her campaign. “I am truly humbled by this win and excited to work hard for our community,” Nemeth said.  “RBUSD has given my children the highest quality of education I could hope for, and I will be dedicated to working with parents, teachers, administrators, and students to maintain this legacy of excellence.”ER

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Written by: Donald Morrison

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