Get to Know Your McKinley Site Director, Hildur Carlen

Hildur Carlen, McKinley Site Director

Hildur Carlen, McKinley      Site Director

Even before getting involved with BCE, Hildur Carlen was passionate about funding for public schools. This fall, she started a two-year term as Site Director at McKinley. She has a 4th grader at McKinley and an 8th grader at BIS. 

So why Burlingame?

My husband is a software engineer. We lived in New York, but in 2004 we moved here for his job. After living in San Mateo for a year and renting for a long time in Burlingame, we eventually bought a house near McKinley. One of the main reasons we stayed in Burlingame was for the Spanish immersion program. Our oldest daughter was in the first Spanish immersion class.

Why did you become involved with BCE?

Even before my oldest daughter started school, I’ve been aware of the funding issues for California schools. I’m also a former teacher – I have a master’s degree in education – and knowing first-hand how badly the schools need money, I wanted to put my efforts there.

I first got involved with the McKinley PTA as the Newsletter Editor and Walk-a-Thon Co-Chair. Over the years I’ve worked to pass several ballot measures that benefitted our schools, then volunteered on the BCE marketing team for two years before taking on this role as the McKinley Site Director.

I know it can be overwhelming coming in as a new parent in the district, and I want people to know that they can reach out to me. My role is really more of a liaison between BCE and McKinley. As a member of the BCE board, I can be the voice for McKinley. People have a lot of different perspectives and priorities, and it’s good to get all of that feedback.

What makes your school special?

At McKinley, I think the school really benefits its strong community. We have great events. My personal favorites are Multicultural Night and the Harvest Festival. Since our very first days, Paula Valerio, our principal, knew my daughter’s. It  impressed me to have my kindergartener greeted by name.

At BIS, the expectations are high, and the kids seem to meet those expectations. There are some really great teachers there who clearly like working in Burlingame and are really dedicated to our kids.

For me, the fact that our kids have dedicated PE and library staff, and have the band and all of these other things thanks to BCE funding is amazing. I don’t think we’d have half of what we have, and our classroom sizes would be bigger, if we didn’t have BCE.

What three words do your children use to describe you?

Fun, good listener and huggable.

–Jennifer Colvin, Managing Editor