February 09, 2009

By Paul Feinberg

Soon after arriving in Los Angeles in 2007, Assistant Professor Bruce Carlin happened to catch sight of a flyer for a meeting about developing a new charter school. Founding families were being sought to help bring a middle school to the Wilshire-La Brea area of West Los Angeles -- an area residents felt was underserved by the local school district. With his new Ph.D. in finance from Duke University, Carlin was a natural to assist the group with its monetary planning and in meetings with real estate developers, so he joined the board of the New Los Angeles Charter School (New LA).

Carlin is now very pleased that New LA opened for classes on January 31. The school is hosting its first class of sixth graders - and plans to enroll seventh and eighth grade students over the next two years.

Watch a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Carlin assists the school with financial planning, a task that goes hand-in-hand with his skills as a finance professor. He considers his work on behalf of the school an extension of his role as an educator and as a citizen of Los Angeles.

"This is a worthy cause. I'm happy to get involved and work pro bono for children in need of an education," Carlin said. "As UCLA Anderson is a leader in the business community and we're facing (tough) economic times, it makes sense for members of our faculty to assist the community."

He also believes that the university as a whole has a stake in the city's public education opportunities -- particularly on the west side of town where many of the faculty and staff reside. He notes that UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has made the improvement of the area's schools an issue for the university and would like to see UCLA back the type of endeavor that New LA represents. Social missions aside, his involvement with New LA gives Carlin a sense of personal satisfaction.

"It just feels good," Carlin said. "The stuff I'm doing is easy. It's a fairly simple budget and I just try to make sure we stay liquid. It feels great now that we're making an impact."

Visit the New Los Angeles Charter School Web site.

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