Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 11:38 am | Fair 71º


Noozhawk Talks: Leslie Dinaberg Sits Down with Kendre Sanborn

As the new president of the Santa Barbara Area Council of PTAs, this mom takes the concept of school volunteer to a whole new level.

Kendre Sanborn, pausing for a quick reflection at Arroyo Burro Beach, is about as an involved school parent as one can be.
Kendre Sanborn, pausing for a quick reflection at Arroyo Burro Beach, is about as an involved school parent as one can be. (Michelle J. Wong / Noozhawk photo)

As president of both the Santa Barbara Area Council of PTAs and the Hope School District Educational Foundation, not to mention the busy mother of three children, Kendre Sanborn certainly has her hands full. Here she tells Leslie Dinaberg about how she juggles it all.

LD: How did you get involved with the area council PTA?

KS: When I was the Vieja Valley PTA president I hadn’t been on the board before. I knew nothing but wanted to get involved. I thought the best way to learn about PTA was to go through all the trainings that PTA offers, and so I kept seeing the same volunteers over and over again. And when there were issues going on with our PTA they were really helpful and came to my aid whenever I needed anything.

LD: And now you’re heading up the whole thing. What area does that include?

KS: There are 27 schools currently, from Montecito all the way to Goleta. I don’t know everything that it entails yet because I’m still kind of learning everything, but we basically meet to make sure that everyone is up to their standards — they have all these criteria that they need to follow to be in good standing. It’s our board’s job to make sure that all those groups are in good standing. Then another thing the area council does is send out information to the presidents about legislation that is going on. There are a lot of areas that we cover; we’re giving information constantly to these PTA presidents.

LD: Is there anything interesting legislatively that is going on?

KS: Right now they are really pushing that the governor doesn’t cut budgets to schools. They’re also looking at the stimulus package and they’re really keeping an eye on that, because if each individual state gets money then PTA really wants to make sure that the schools get money.

LD: You’re also president of the Hope School District Educational Foundation. What does that group do? (Laughs) [Editor’s note: Leslie Dinaberg is also on the board of the Hope School District Educational Foundation.]

KS: We do fundraising to enrich the educational programs at Hope, Monte Vista and Vieja Valley Elementary Schools. And we also work to encourage collaboration and communication among the three campuses. Right now we’re working on our Fourth Annual Golf Classic, which will be held May 15 at Glen Annie Golf Course.

LD: And what is that fundraiser for?

KS: Well, the state and federal budget cuts have forced our school district to cut funding for our library program in half. So the golf tournament money will be used to help restore the library program.

LD: Great cause. Now you also volunteer at your kids’ schools, right?

KS: Yes, my two older kids go to Santa Barbara Middle School and I volunteer once a week to help serve lunch and then I was helping as an ambassador, where we talk to potential parents.

LD: What do you do at Vieja Valley?

KS: Wow, talking about the things I do makes me realize I have a lot on my plate. I count and deposit PTA money, volunteer in the classroom once a week, and I’m on the committee for the honorary service awards. We will soon be in the process of finding people to honor at our school.

LD: What about the area council event?

KS: The area council usually has a Reflections reception, which is a really neat thing. They usually put on a reception for all the winners for our area. (The National PTA Reflections Program is an arts recognition and achievement program for students, which provides opportunities for students to express themselves creatively and to receive positive recognition for original works of art.) Then there’s also an honorary service award event held once a year. This is an event for all the volunteers who are recognized at their schools to also be recognized at a community level.

And also with Reflections, if you’re a winner for the area, then the district has a reception as well, so all of those people attend, and it’s really neat to be recognized.

LD: Let’s shift a little bit to talk about you. I know you’re really busy with volunteer work now, but what did you do professionally before you had kids?

KS: I finished my master’s in clinical psychology and I was working on my hours, you have to complete a certain amount of hours to be certified. During that time I got married and had my first child. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with him. I really wanted to stay home and be with my baby. So from then on I stayed home.

LD: I know you’ve traveled a lot. What are some of your favorite trips?

KS: Africa. And, more specifically, I really like Kenya and Tanzania; also going to the Arctic was really neat. We’ve been to Japan, which was pretty cool. Next week we’re on our way to Antarctica. I haven’t been before but that’s one of my husband’s favorite places. ... We took Andrew on his first international trip to Australia and New Zealand when he was 14 months old, and he traveled so well it made me realize, “Wow, we can take him anywhere.” Then the other two just grew up doing it. They learned how to behave on a plane.

LD: And so do you guys take a big trip every summer?

KS: Yeah. ... The funniest thing. Eric was traveling a lot for business at one point and he had a lot of miles, and he was taking Andrew to some places to help gain a lot of miles. During the early ‘90s, a lot of airlines said if you fly here you get triple the miles, so he would take Andrew to Japan for the weekend just to get miles, and of course to see Japan. He ended up acquiring a lot of miles.

One time Andrew and I were on a trip and we were coming through Atlanta on our way home and I was checking in at the counter and the agent said, “OK, our flight is really full but we can upgrade Andrew, but you’ll be in coach.” And I said, “OK,fine, as long as I’m kind of close to first class.” And they said “Fine, so where is Andrew? And I said, “He’s down here.” He was 7 or something and he was so low to the ground they couldn’t see him. The agent was laughing saying “Oh, my gosh; the flight attendants are going to love this. Will he be OK by himself?” And I said, “Oh, absolutely.” Our kids have traveled a lot.

... For spring break we’re going to go to Bhutan and Nepal.

LD: Is there any place you’ve never been that you’ve always wanted to visit?

KS: Yeah, I want to go to India.

LD: Do you guys totally have it down in terms of what to pack? Five people is a lot of people.

KS: You would be shocked. When we check into hotels people are like “Oh, is this everything?” And we say yes and they are amazed. We totally have it down. Usually we travel with about two suitcases.

LD: That would impress my husband.

KS: And two backpacks. Now it took a while to get to that (laughs) but when you start traveling a lot you learn a lot of tricks. For instance you only pack for about a week, and then you learn to find a place to do laundry and obviously you want to find the least expensive places to do your laundry, especially with five people. But sometimes you have to pay high prices, but it’s a great way to not over pack. I definitely miss my shoes when I’m gone.

Vital Stats: Kendre Sanborn

Born: Dec. 5 in Santa Monica

Family: Husband Eric, children Andrew (13), Emily (11) and Claira (9)

Civic Involvement: Santa Barbara Area Council of PTAs president, Hope School District Educational Foundation president, volunteer at Vieja Valley and Santa Barbara Middle schools

Professional Accomplishments: “I’ve definitely seen how organizations work and what it is like going into an organization and being able to know what I need to do and get it done. And also being able to get along with people and be respectful of their issues.”

Best Book You’ve Read Recently: “I love to read. I’m reading The Shack. It’s really interesting because it’s kind of religious but not in a dominating way, it is not pushing one particular religion. It’s about a way to live your life and relate to other people.”

Little-Known Fact: “My husband and I have made more than 2,000 loans to individuals and their families all around the world who are in less fortunate circumstances than our own — mostly through KIVA.org, a San Francisco-based micro lender.”

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