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DOWNEY – Bellflower resident Dr. Ted Edmiston, a chiropractor by profession and Cerritos College trustee by avocation, is a fine example of a well-rounded man.
He has been serving on the CC board of trustees for 21 years.
A ’60 graduate of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, the board of trustees member since 1991 first studied engineering and other related subjects at the Los Angeles Community College at Vermont and Santa Monica Blvd.; got a B.S. in small business and finance from Woodbury Business College (near San Fernando Blvd.) with emphasis in marketing, advertising, and accounting; went on to Cal State Los Angeles to do further studies in business, marketing, and advertising and needing a “teaching major” for a teaching certificate took additional courses in biology, botany, and zoology; then finally obtained his 4-year chiropractic degree at Cleveland Chiropractic College on Vermont Ave.
“I taught physiological therapeutics at the chiropractic college, as well as design at Cal State LA for a while,” Edmiston says. “I had worked my way through school. I had many jobs-bookkeeper and accountant for the Health Department, as an investigator for five years, and so on. Then I got married to my former chiropractic teacher, and started my practice here in Downey. When my mom died, after twenty five years, we moved to Bellflower.”
“I got elected to the board in 1991,” he goes on. “I’ve been board president twice, secretary of the board also twice, and been on the board of the Cerritos College Foundation for 5-6 years. In a college operation such as this, there is always turbulence. The matter of the unionization of the CC faculty, for example, one of the last ones in Southern California to do so, took a total of seven to eight years. The process was a bit of work. It was like raising a two-year old.”
In one of his political appeals to residents to re-elect him to the board for Area 4 on Nov. 6 (he is opposed by public policy adviser Marisa Perez), Edmiston had this to say: “I am striving to improve our college and to solve problems arising out of this difficult economy and changing environment…Education, so necessary in meeting the demands of the future, should be available to everyone… The world is changing rapidly, students are presented with greater expectations in the field of technology. We must embrace educational technology and respond to students’ needs. Technology, both on and off campus, greatly increases access to learning and encourages student self-reliance while being affordable for students…I am for fiscal responsibility and accountability, and I will work to meet the financial demands of Cerritos College while minimizing the impact on both students and the community.”
Indeed, Edmiston sees himself as the number one board advocate for “the use of technology to enhance the instructional process” as well as “a catalyst for entrepreneurial initiatives.” But he also realizes that technology alone is not the only solution if the world is to move forward to a luminous future. He would demand especially of those who are in positions of authority and leadership, teachers included, to transcend narrow utilitarian specialization and view their work as ‘generalists’.
Drawing on his wide and rich background, Edmiston also favors the kinesthetic approach (using tactile methods) especially in a rapidly growing technological environment. This is how Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, he says, how fine tools and inventions were crafted.
If anything else, he says he likes asking someone at work probing, provocative questions, in this sequence: 1) What are you doing? 2) How is it going? 3) What do you need to make it work? 4) What are your dreams? 5) How do we make them happen? He asks the penetrating questions, he says, to make people think.
Edmiston, a Lions Club member for many years, arrived at the following five functions of the board by presumably asking himself sharp, probing questions:1) Hire and fire the president; 2) Support the president; 3) ‘Overlook’ everything; 4) Do community outreach (“We are the contact people of the community. We need to find out what the community’s needs are, and we try to make the community understand what the college is doing. It took us seven years to make the community support the bond issue”); and 5) Do a 5 to15-year long-term planning.
In brief, 70-year old chiropractor Edmiston is not your ordinary type of guy: if you listen to him long enough, you will be struck by the profundity of his vision. It brings to mind William Blake’s “To see the world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower…”
His dad was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC-Berkeley and used to take him as a kid to meetings with the likes of Edward Teller and S. Ramo; his mom served as secretary to the American Osteopathic College. His chiropractic wife, Darlene, meanwhile is “very busy with the Food Pantry” at St. Bernard’s Church in Bellflower. They have two grown children-32-year old CSULB grad daughter Amy, and their 24-year old son, also a CSULB grad.
Published: November 1, 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 29