DR. STEFAN BEAN
Superintendent, Aspire Public Schools, Los Angeles
Principal, Aspire Public Schools, Los Angeles
Principal, Cornerstone Academy, Los Angeles
Assoc. Professor, Cal State University - Dominguez Hills
Doctorate, California State University - Fullerton
Master's, Loyola Marymount University
Bachelor's, University of Southern California
About Stefan Bean
Dr. Stefan Bean has spent the last 24 years serving Southern California communities and students. Education has always been a passion of his – so much so he devoted his life to it. But recently the quality, corruption and policies hampering positive reform became a dinner table conversation even for those without kids. That’s when he knew he needed to do more.
Last year, Dr. Bean's wife, Janet passed away from cancer. As part of his commitment to his wife, Dr. Bean vowed to continue their pursuit of selflessness, by serving and protecting the students and families of California. It is why he has entered the race of OC Superintendent of Schools.
Dr. Bean is the American Dream and the very best of conservatism. He is the example of resilience and self-determination we want for students - the Republican mantra that there is no obstacle too great that, with hard work, he cannot overcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to join in our effort and help make a difference!
Stefan was born as Nam Le Thanh in Saigon in the early 70s of war-torn Vietnam. He was stricken by polio at the age of two, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Due to this debilitating disease, he was soon after abandoned by his parents. He was later discovered sitting on the streets and taken to an orphanage where he was further neglected with little to no medical care. On April 6, 1975, as Saigon burned in the background, his future was forever changed with Operation Babylift- a humanitarian war effort to rescue Vietnamese orphans and unite them to adoptive parents in America. Stefan has vague memories of that day; frantic staff grabbing orphans and their personal effects and loading them onto waiting planes. In the commotion, Stefan’s bags were loaded on the first plane and he was accidentally redirected onto the second plane. This mistake proved critical, because the first plane crashed 12 minutes after take-off killing 141 of the 149 orphans on board. This would be one of many examples where Stefan would see, “the finger prints of God on his life.”
Stefan escaped the war, but different obstacles awaited him in the US. At 4 years old, he was thrust into the foster care system and placed with the Beans who would eventually adopt him. Despite adoption officials’ warnings of Stefan’s health condition and recent trauma, the Beans adopted Stefan without hesitation. He would be one of 12 children; 2 biological and 10 international adoptees, in the Bean family. From day one his parents encouraged Stefan to be independent and refused to see him as any less than any of their other children. Those early years proved difficult as Stefan grappled with English, adapted to a new life, and adjusted to normalcy after seeing unspeakable things during the war. If that wasn’t enough, he underwent multiple surgeries including muscle transplants on his legs and stomach. He also had pulmonary issues and most of his teeth were abscessed which required extensive dental procedures. But with the unconditional love and support of his adoptive parents he not only survived but thrived.
In his early years, Stefan was enrolled in public school, but when he wasn’t getting the support he needed, his parents transferred him to private school where he began to excel. Despite his physical limitations, he availed himself to things he could do in sports and extracurricular activities. Instead of being frustrated that he couldn’t play basketball or baseball like others, he would umpire sandlot baseball games and join student council and develop his public speaking. He was a straight A student, elected as sixth-grade class president and his eloquent speaking skills earned him an opportunity to make a speech in Washington D.C. advocating for the disadvantaged. After high school graduation, he would receive a full scholarship from USC where he earned a BA in business administration.
In college, during a student work program, he would meet the love of his life Janet Soares. They dated for a year, was engaged for a year and married in 2000. Their strong and deep connection was mainly their faith which became the foundation for their family and dedication to serving others. They created a loving family with four beautiful children, while they immersed themselves in work and ministry. Through it all, Janet was the rock of the family supporting Stefan as he pursued higher degrees; which allowed him to move from teacher, principal and later Superintendent. Stefan succeeded in his endeavors through his academic aptitude and experience, undergirded by strong support from his family. And even with his busy schedule and physical limitations, Stefan was a loving father that highly invested and involved in raising his 4 children.
In 2014, Janet was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to the brain; at least 12 brain tumors were discovered and she was given a 6-month death sentence. Faced with this devastating news, Janet drew strength from her faith in God and reaffirmed Stefan that she will live longer than 6 months. With sheer determination and unwavering faith, Janet underwent multiple rounds of whole brain radiation and chemotherapy every 3 weeks for 6 years. Each session ravaging her body causing multiple grand mal seizures, leaving her paralyzed and in rehab for weeks. Against all odds and powered by her faith and love for her family, Janet lived for 6 more years to witness the formative years of her children’s lives and passed after a grueling and valiant battle with cancer. Following in their parents’ example, Stefan’s eldest (Sophia) was admitted to USC in 2021 and his other children are thriving despite their family’s great loss. Janet and Stefan’s example have become the foundation to their children’s strength, resilience and bright countenances in the face of tragedy. They have shown their children what it means to be forged by life’s fires and come out even more brilliant on the other side.
Life without the love of his life and the mother of his children has been unbearably painful, but Stefan has endured with his faith. He treasures the time he had with Janet and knows she would want him to continue to live his life with meaning and purpose. Now as a single and proud father of 4 children, he is dedicated to using his talent and experience in education to inspire, cultivate and educate our next generation into people of character and virtue.