FOCUS ON GRANTS: New College and Career Counselors Bring Deep Experience from Inside and Out to Costa

By Leanne Huebner, MBEF Board Member


What do you get when you combine a former College Admissions Officer with an experienced High School Counselor? An unstoppable and truly inspirational duo at Mira Costa’s College and Career Center.

MBUSD, parents, students, and the community at-large are thrilled to welcome Judy Park (left) and Caryn Ramirez as the two new college and career counselors at Mira Costa. Caryn and Judy will work with students as they plan and prepare for their journey beyond high school – providing guidance, assistance and recommendations as they consider their future college and career options. → Read the rest of this article

MBEF’s New Video


Many thanks to our great team of volunteers who worked on the new MBEF video.
We are so grateful for your ongoing commitment to our schools and our community.
Julian Ryder at Ryder Communications Group
Steve Tobenkin (Video and Editing)
Don Anderson (Copywriter and Script)
Peter Figen (Still Photos and Video)
Steve Gregan (Sound Recording and Mixing)


By Leanne Huebner, June 2014

Recently, our MBEF crew caught up with a number of the most impressive Mira Costa students from the Class of 2014 – the valedictorians. One unique factor about Mira Costa is that any student who receives an “A” in every single class during their four years of high school – no matter what track they embark upon – can aspire to become a class valedictorian. This year, Mira Costa will graduate 22 valedictorians and we tracked down a few before they hit the beach for some well-deserved sun time before college.

Nicole Barman

Nicole Barman

Nicole Barman is a member of National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation. She is also a member of Mira Costa’s Model United Nations team and has dedicated her time to Sandpiper Juniors. She was also a member of the Mira Costa Swim Team for two years. Nicole is thrilled to be attending the University of California Berkeley in the fall.

MBEF Impact: Whether it be the hands-on labs and experiments we have in our science classes, the small class sizes, or our amazing extracurricular programs, MBEF has never failed to present MBUSD students with endless opportunities–allowing us to gain more from our 12 years of education than the majority of students in the nation.

Nicole’s Teacher Shout-outs: Mr. Fauver, Ms. Shales-Clark, Ms. Sieker. Mr. Westerberg → Read the rest of this article

“Teacher, My Hero” – Going Beyond the Call of Duty in Manhattan Beach Schools

By Leanne Huebner

Honor Your TeacherWhile Manhattan Beach teachers are a big reason why our schools are ranked third in the state, there’s so much more to our backstory. It is a story line of dedicated teachers that make our public schools great for our children. As part of Teacher Appreciation Month, here’s just a sampling of the many stories submitted of how our teachers just go beyond their call of duty every day. These stories are representative of the talent and dedication we have in our teachers here in Manhattan Beach. → Read the rest of this article


FarnazMBEF is very pleased to announce the hiring of our new Executive Director, Farnaz Golshani Flechner. Ms. Flechner joins the foundation as our third Executive Director, bringing her 17 years of nonprofit leadership experience to this critical role in MBEF. Ms. Flechner is the past Executive Director of the Los Feliz School of the Arts, a premier LAUSD charter school serving over 500 students. In addition, she contributed significantly to such diverse institutions as Chrysalis, a workforce development organization for homeless people, and Tides, a San Francisco-based management service organization for over five hundred nonprofits and philanthropists. She holds an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. We recently caught up with Farnaz about her future with MBEF.

→ Read the rest of this article

Oh, The Places They Have Gone! MBEF’s 30 Under 30

Entrepreneurs.  Techies.  Teachers.  Researchers.  Entertainers.  Manhattan Beach public schools creates them all and some.  Of course, we all know Mira Costa High School consistently ranks in tops of our nation’s high schools and sends its graduates to some of the most competitive colleges in the U.S.

But what happens next?  Where do they all go?30and30 again again

We thought we would highlight just a few of our impressive recent grads who now are building companies, advancing into higher education, reaching new heights and contributing to the world.  And learn just a little bit of how MB schools impacted their varied paths in their early lives.

There’s plenty more out there too but we had to stop somewhere.    For us at MBEF, it justifies our work supporting our great public schools.  Please don’t forget how important your donations are investing in this success.



FOCUS ON GRANTS: Counseling Makes It Happen

Ever since California funding reductions forced cuts to counseling, MBEF has been supporting Mira Costa’s reknown College and Career Center counselors who help our students find that right path beyond MBUSD.

Last year, Costa graduates matriculated to 175 colleges across 39 states and four countries. Class of 2013 Costa graduates are now freshman at every UC, nearly every Ivy League university, USC, MIT, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, and scores of other top-notch universities. Over the last few years, approximately 95% of Costa grads have matriculated to either four- or two- year colleges.

Costa is fortunate to have its CCC team and seven other counselors. While the American School Counselor Association recommends one counselor to 250 students, California public schools on average provided only one counselor for every 810 students in 2010, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Thanks to its annual MBEF grant, Mira Costa has nine counselors for a ratio much closer to the recommended amount, at roughly 270 to 1.

This year, two new faces – Megan Anspach and Kristi Branim – joined the College and Career Center to tackle the arduous but rewarding tasks of finding post-Costa opportunities for the Class of 2014 and beyond.

→ Read the rest of this article

MBEF Increases Grants; Keeps Classes Small and Saves Teacher Jobs

Last spring, MBEF President Nina Patel announced that the foundation had approved $5.385 million in grants to the  MBEFSchoolBoardGroupShotManhattan Beach Unified School District for the 2013-2014 school year.

The grant includes an additional $385,000 over MBEF’s grants to the district last school year.  This funding will save teacher jobs – especially to keep classes small and retain reading specialists at the elementary level, and to maintain small English classes from 6th to 12th grades.  Click here for a complete list of MBEF grants.

In March, MBUSD issued layoff notices for 26.4 full-time equivalent staff positions (known as FTEs).  Since that time, MBUSD has looked for ways to find savings in other line items, like books and supplies.  With the additional MBEF grant money combined with such savings, MBUSD was able to rescind those layoff notices and retain most of those teaching positions.

Earlier this year, MBEF raised another record-breaking year of donations with its Annual Appeal posting more than $4.7 million.