David Mendez

RBUSD considers renaming Redondo Shores for Pat Dreizler

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Pat Dreizler, seen here at Redondo Beach Unified School Districts 2015 State of Education event. Photo by David Mendez

by David Mendez

The Redondo Beach Unified School District is planning to name one of its schools after Pat Dreizler, a woman considered by many to be the “matriarch” of Redondo Beach.

The discussion came before the RBUSD Board of Education during a meeting last Tuesday, though it had been percolating in the head of board member Brad Waller for months. Waller didn’t bring the matter to his colleagues until he realized that there was nothing in the board’s rules to prevent renaming a facility in a person’s honor while that person was still alive.

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“It’s not that we want to rename everything all the time, but I think we have a good opportunity to recognize Pat Dreizler for everything she’s done over the years,” Waller said. “It’s incumbent on us to do this now and we can honor or while she can know about it.”

Dreizler and her husband moved from the midwest to Redondo in 1956. She began her service as a volunteer with the South Bay Youth Group, 1736 House, and the Redondo Beach Woman’s Club, among many groups. She also worked at the City of Redondo Beach as recreation supervisor.

The former Patterson Elementary School would have been the top choice because it was the school her children attended, but that site was named surplus property in 1983. Most of its buildings were torn down last year, and the land leased to Fountain Square Properties. It will become The Kensington assisted-living facility.

A few other schools were bandied about in private, but one choice quickly became apparent: Redondo Shores, a continuation high school that provides an alternative for at-risk students.

“Shores represents the underdog – some kids are struggling academically, or with organization, or are behind in credits. They’re kids who need a bit of TLC,” said RBUSD Superintendent Steven Keller. “Pat never misses that graduation. In the 12 years since I’ve been here, she’s always been the advocate for the underdog, always.”

“She is a beacon in this city. She is extremely supportive of everything that has to do with the district, and especially Shores,” RBUSD Board Member Anita Avrick said. “When it was brought up that we should consider naming a school after her, Shores was the only one I could think of that would fit perfectly.”

Dreizler declined to comment on the proposal, stating a preference to wait until the matter has been settled.

But according to Keller, the conversation he had with Dreizler after the first board discussion “was the best, most happily emotional phone call I have made in the last five years.”

The matter will come back to the board, likely on Aug. 28 or Sept. 11. 

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