Two San Diego County school officials have taken leadership positions with the California School Boards Association, the CSBA announced Thursday.
Emma Turner will take over as president of the organization, which oversees more than 1,000 school districts and county offices of education around the state. Turner has been a trustee of the K-8 La Mesa-Spring Valley School District since 2008.
In one of her first acts, Turner issued a statement praising Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, “particularly his commitment to the Local Control Funding Formula, school construction, services for young children and families, and recognition of the challenges facing school districts in the form of rising costs for pensions and special education.”
Turner added: “Now that the arrow is pointed in the right direction, we need to augment positive intent with substantial and concrete investment. We have the largest economy in the country – the fifth-largest in the world – and yet we rank 41st nationally in per-pupil funding and 45th in the percentage of tax revenue dedicated to public schools.”
She said the Proposition 98 guarantee of school funding “doesn’t allow us to keep pace with the rest of America or to provide what our students deserve.”
“We need greater investment in our students, in health, in counseling, in math, science, technology, career preparation, and the creative arts so that we can improve student performance, close opportunity and achievement gaps and propel our children and our state to reach their full potential,” Turner said.
According to the CSBA, Turner most recently served as the district’s vice president.
Prior to entering the field of education, Turner served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years. She retired in 2004 as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
“I’m honored and grateful to have this opportunity to expand my work on behalf of California’s 6.2 million public school students and to continue my commitment to equitable student outcomes and the elimination of the achievement gap,” Turner said. “I pledge to bring passion, focus and dedication to CSBA’s efforts to ensure students are college and career ready after high school.”
Tamara Otero of the Cajon Valley Union School District will serve as the group’s vice president. Otero was chosen School Board Member of the Year for San Diego and Imperial counties in 2017 and has served as a school board member for nine years. Turner and Otero will both sit on the CSBA’s 2019 Executive Committee.
“I believe that the school board is the catalyst for the advancement and transformation of a district,” Otero said. “Our children deserve more than status quo and together as united members of CSBA we can change the landscape and the trajectory for all students.”
— City News Service contributed to this report.
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