Dr Armina Gharpetian has a busy dental practice in the center of Glendale, a family that includes three growing daughters, has just been elected to the Glendale Unified School District Board and is one of the new members of the Alumni Council.
Gharpetian, a 1991 graduate, says that she always wanted to be more involved with the campus, but with finishing her education, beginning her practice and then starting a family, she just didn’t have time. “One day I saw a FaceBook post for [alumni] board members,” she said. “My kids are a little bit older now; my life is more stable, so I have the opportunity to give back to the community. That’s also the main reason I decided to run for the school board. It was the right time to step up and get involved.”
She shares a spacious office with her husband Vartan, a real estate agent. She has a boutique practice specializing in Invisalign invisible braces, and the flexibility of this working arrangement affords her the opportunity to be directly involved in the day-to-day workings of Glendale Unified. “Statistically, schools that have more parental involvement do much better than schools that do not, so our challenge as a district is to find more ways to get parents to volunteer. This is very critical because with budget shortfalls, schools cannot afford to cover every program,” says Gharpetian. “I started volunteering one day a week when my oldest started kindergarten. Now my littlest is in first grade, so we have another 11 years left. This is what got me into it – it takes a while for an individual to be ready [for district service], it takes time to learn about various boards and policies and how things work. I am the only one of the five board members who currently has kids in K-12, and that’s also a challenge for our board. Issues are different now and things are changing really fast. We’re doing our best to keep class sizes low and keep our educational enrichment programs going.”
Gharpetian says of her time at Glendale, “I’m so proud of it! GCC paved my road to go to UCLA and then dental school; I absolutely recommend it.” Her twin sister, now an optometrist, was also a GCC alumna. “GCC is something that belongs to the whole community. We have a gem here on North Verdugo Road. I recommend it to all my friends whose kids are graduating from high school – it’s small and community-oriented and financially feasible. Take advantage of it. It’s like a second home.”
Gharpetian encourages alumni, particularly the newly graduated, to make visits and attend events. “So many successful individuals have come through GCC. Alumni networking is just the best way of getting people together and growing the team.” How to do that? “A lot of my friends and family members went to GCC – I’m going to take them one by one and get them involved,” she says with a laugh.