“Oprah. Jordan. Ali. Obama. Gandhi,” he began.
“In our society, we have a particular way of honoring those who exhibit a brand and standard of excellence that is unyielding in everything they do” said J.M. McGaugh Elementary School Principal Dr. Isaaic M. Gates as he prepared to announce the school’s Hero of the Heart for 2021.
People “whose commitment to a cause and compassion reaches deep into the heart and spirit of our humanity elevate them to society’s highest platform – the one name status,” he continued.
Farnaz. McGaugh’s Hero the Heart for 2021, “has reached the one-name status,” said Gates, noting that Farnaz Pardasani “embodies a spirit of excellence beyond reproach.”
Pardasani, who currently serves as President of the McGaugh Parent Teacher Association, works tirelessly to ensure that parents and students have what they need to succeed, said Gates.
He said Pardasani personally authored a grant application that raised the $3000 needed to cover the costs of a social/emotional parent workshop.
“Day or not, busy or not,” Gates said Pardasani “will make or take a call” to support the school and its parents. He said the 4th District PTA association has acknowledged the great work and success Pardasani and her team have achieved during this challenging year.
Through out conversations, it is clear that she is invested in McGaugh’s success, my success, our partnership and our friendship,” the McGaugh principal said.
Borrowing a line from “my friend Dr. Gregg Stone, when your name is mentioned in a positive relationship with Farnaz, you know you are standing among tall timber.”
“Oh my goodness, how beautiful,” said Pardasani as she stepped up to the microphone.
“I’m truly honored and humbled by this recognition, and to be honest with you, I feel a little bit uneasy to be recognized and awarded for doing work that has been so personally rewarding to me.”
“The thing about volunteers and volunteerism is that you do it because you care. You see a need, you roll up your sleeves and you work hard to fill that need,” she said. “When you get recognized for it, it is a humbling experience.”
She thanked the PTA executive board, the PTA Leadership team, the room parents, the volunteers, the custodial staff and all who are supportive “every step of the way.”
Pardasani thanked Gates and former principal Roni Ellis for the help and support for the PTA, for which programs like “Astronomy Night” could never have happened.
Before the pandemic, she said a corps of local astronomers visited the campus and taught the students about the stars, moon and planets.
“It was our intention to light the spirit of learning, science and STEM,” she said.
She also mentioned programs like the International Culture Club, “where we really, truly celebrate different cultures and traditions and show kids that differences are our strengths.”
Dr. Gates was so supportive of the PTA that “he dressed up like a rockstar and lip synced a medley of songs to my eyes and to the children’s eyes,” the PTA president told the board.
Finally, Pardasani thanked the teachers, who she termed “passionate, hardworking and the best in class who truly are the lifeline of McGaugh.” “Without their support and dedication, none of it would be a success.”
“McGaugh is truly a special place, because of its people. We care about the whole child, the social emotional wellness and academic excellence. Yes, we are a beach community, but we do care about academic excellence.”
“I will truly cherish the recognition.”
School Board member Diana Hill thanked Pardasani for displaying grace “in everything you do.” Hill said Farnaz is able to “be frank about things,” but does so “in such a graceful and respectful manner.” “I’m very glad that you are a part of the Los Al family and for sharing your beautiful grace with us.”
“This recognition is so well deserved,” said school board member Meg Cutuli.
District Supt. Dr. Andrew Pulver called Pardasani “a woman of character, wicked smart and a fierce advocate for our students and staff.”
He said Farnaz has had an “incredible impact” on McGaugh, some of which he called “lasting changes.”
Like Hill, he noted her grace and noted her “strong and honest feedback.”
“She understands the McGaugh community,” the superintendent said, “and knows what they need.”