Helen’s great, but Kim Rhodes has never gotten the credit she deserves

Not quite so here. From today’s MyBurbank:

The Burbank Parent Education Program held its annual Spring Gala on Saturday, April 14. Founder and honored guest Helen Von Seggern was in attendance along with approximately 250 Burbankers to support the long-running parent and child education program.

Von Seggern founded the Burbank Parent Education Program in 1966 and was program director until 2000. At age 104, Von Seggern has attended almost every Spring Gala.

Although Helen definitely created the modern parent ed program that Burbank knows and loves today, an incipient program had actually been around for years bouncing from one borrowed bungalow and log cabin to another. And it was Kim Rhodes who brought Helen in to help run it back in the late 1950s or 1960 or so. For years the Adult School had no real centralized location anywhere aside from the old John Muir campus on Grinnell and Third and so it was scattered all over town.

Kim later transferred her efforts (and interests) to Burbank’s equally well regarded English as a Second Language program, which of course made her a pariah in the eyes of many establishment Burbankers. Where Helen had all the political constituency and young mom and dad interests, Kim only had the Mexicans from North Hollywood.

And don’t think she was wasn’t forced to feel that way either from most of the old and reactionary BUSD administrators and board members. Many of them were actively hostile to the whole idea of ESL. The program though was quite lucrative for the district, what with all of the state and federal funds it was receiving and then siphoning off for other uses, and that of course was the only reason why it was allowed to exist.

So why do we mention this now? It’s because Kim Rhodes — for all of her efforts and dedication — was in the end treated very, very badly by the BUSD, as had been the late David Bayer the year before. And for much the same reason. In many ways Kim Rhodes was the heart and soul of the Burbank Adult School and she deserves to be remembered at least as much as Helen.


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