PALMDALE — The City Council nominated a Lock­heed Martin engineer to represent the city on the Board of The Palmdale Aero­space Academy.

Ellen McIsaac, an aero­naut­ical engineering as­so­ciate manager, was sel­ect­ed from among the three applications for the po­si­tions received. The vote was 4-0, with Councilman Juan Carrillo absent.

The nomination was prompted to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Anthony Gagliardo. The term expires July 31, 2021.

The Council praised all the applicants and said their choice was not to re­flect adversely on those not selected.

“Any one of them would be a good pick. I think that right now though we need to fill that spot with an aerospace person,” Mayor Steve Hofbauer said.

Councilwoman Laura Bet­ten­court, who served pre­viously as the city’s rep­­re­sentative to the academy Board, said it is heavy with mem­bers with educational back­grounds.

“I think the students de­serve to have somebody with­in the field that they are learning, somebody that reflects what their goals and ambitions are and someone that can men­tor them in a way that a person who doesn’t have aerospace experience would not be able to help them with,” she said.

Having worked pre­vi­ously at Northrop Grum­man, Bet­ten­court said she is familiar with the dif­fic­ulties women face in the field and that having a woman en­gineer on the board would be beneficial.

In addition to her po­si­tion with Lockheed, where she is the technical in­tern pro­gram manager, Mc­Isaac is also involved in area science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gin­eering and math (STEM) educational pro­grams through the Aero­space Valley Ro­botics or­gan­ization and other ro­­bot­ics efforts with the FIRST pro­gram, as well as the Society of Women En­gin­eers, where she is cur­rent­ly president of the An­tel­ope Valley Section.

“Supporting STEM edu­cation is my passion, and I have been leading and vol­un­teer­ing for a variety of STEM-focused non-profit or­gan­izations for over a dec­ade,” she wrote in her ap­pli­cation for the board position.

“It’s really tough, be­cause we’ve got some really qual­ified people here,” Mayor Pro Tem Austin Bishop said.

He initially backed nom­in­ating John Porter, the as­sist­ant superintendent of spe­cial education/student ser­vices for Palmdale School District, who is re­tiring in July.

Bishop recommended Porter for his background in education, which he felt would be valuable for the board.

The third applicant was Jo­seph Parisio, a teacher in the Palm­dale School Dis­trict with 15 years’ ex­per­ience.

“It’s an aerospace school, we need to have some aerospace rep­re­sentation there,” Bettencourt said.

To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.

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