by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
ALL-American educator Henry Brooks Adams once said that “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” This golden nugget of wisdom is at the core of FilAm educator Mark Pulido’s vocation.
Currently serving his second four-year term as the president of the ABC Unified School District Board of Education, Mark Pulido is a super achiever and perfect role model in his community. He is also the District Director of the 27th District under State Senator Alan Lowenthal at the California State Senate.
Pulido made history when he was first elected as president in 2001. He was the first to run without opposition in the district. He was re-elected overwhelmingly four years later in 2005. Under the ABC Unified School District are around 20,000 students in 30 schools and countless infant/children and extended-day care centers in the cities of Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, as well as portions of Lakewood, Long Beach, and Norwalk.
A second generation FilAm, Mark’s parents migrated from the Philippines in 1952. His dad, Rudy Angeles Pulido, came from Naic, Cavite together with his family to join Mark’s grandfather who served the US Navy in 1927 until his retirement. Mark’s mother, Ester Lagmay, also migrated in 1952 since her father joined the US Army.
Mark has been a high achiever. Born and raised in California, he was never content with just being on the sidelines. He was very active in school serving as UCLA Student Body President where he earned his Bach-elor’s degree in History and Asian American Studies. He also served as an after-school tutor, college recruiter, and established a peer-counseling program. From college, Mark went on to get a Master of Public Policy degree from The University of Chicago.
“My parents taught me ear-ly to value family, hard work and education,” said Mark.
Mark has been heavily involved in Filipino associa-tions through the years. He founded the Club Kaibigan while he was in Whitney High School. In college, he was a past president of the UCLA Samahang Pilipino. Mark volunteered for many organizations and social service agencies in the Historic Filipino Town area of downtown Los Angeles before it had that historical designation. He tutored Filipino American students at Virgil Junior High School, Belmont High School and Marshall High School through his involvement with an organization called PREP and in partnership with SIPA. And while taking his master’s, he was an active member of the University of Chicago Samahan.
Pulido was the founding National Youth Chair of the National Federation of Fili-pino American Associations and is a lifetime member of the Philippine Society of South East Los Angeles – PHILSELA. He also did his part in helping WWII veterans through volunteer and advocacy efforts with Filipino Civil Rights Advocates and FASGI. Mark served on the Board of Directors of the Filipino American Heritage Institute, which operates the Filipino American Library.
Mark met his wife, Gloria Perlas, at Whitney High where they became high school sweethearts. They attended college together at UCLA and were married in 1969. That same year, they went home to visit the Philippines. They now have a 6-year old daughter, Malia.
Pulido’s consistent outstanding performance has earned for him many honors and awards like the UCLA Chancellor’s Marshall Award, Ninoy Aquino Award 1993, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship 1994, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Institute Fellowship 1996, Filipinas Magazine Award for Youth Leadership 1998, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Man of the Year 2002, and the Los Angeles New Millennium Lions Club – Citizen of the Year 2006.
Mark lives with an attitude of gratitude and reciprocity. He believes that he has been the recipient of so many blessings from the community and it’s time that he gives back of himself.
“I have been living in Cerritos for the last 35 years. I want to give back directly to the community that gave us so much. And I believe that the best way for me to serve is in education. I have worked directly with youth most of my life, ranging from sports coach to college recruiter and academic tutor to career mentor. All my adult life, I have fought for youth, education and our community.”
“I am so very honored and humbled to have been given this important responsibility to lead, serve and work hard to provide the best public education possible for our students in this district. From the bottom of my heart, I thank the community for this opportunity to continue serving the children, families and residents of ABC,” Pulido stated.
They say every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Truly, Mark Pulido has autographed his work with excellence.