It is with great sadness that the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education learned of the sudden passing of Principal Jo Ann Caines yesterday. Those who worked with her described her as a courageous leader who was a tireless advocate for justice and education of all students. She set a high standard for educational leadership and was recognized as an icon of the westside.
Caines joined Santa Barbara Unified School District in 1987 as an English as a second language teacher at La Cumbre Junior High School. She worked her way up to becoming Assistant Principal of La Cumbre and in 1995, became Principal at Adams Elementary School. She returned to La Cumbre Junior High School in 2005. Caines is recognized for her unwavering, transformative leadership that raised educational opportunities for every child.
Board member Kate Parker, who has a seventeen year history with Jo Ann Caines, as a parent at Adams and La Cumbre and as a school board member, stated: “Jo Ann Caines is the reason I ran for school board in the first place, and I owe her a bottomless debt of gratitude for so much that has happened in my life. The biggest beneficiaries of her passion and dedication have been her family and the children of the Westside. My heart goes out to her family. And for the families of the Westside who have lost such a tremendous advocate and champion for children, please know that her mission was our mission, and we will all make sure that her legacy lives on.”
Among Caines’s many accomplishments, she will be remembered as the architect behind the Program for Effective Access to College (PEAC) program. The program is designed to significantly change the educational trajectory of children who have not typically been afforded opportunities that result in school readiness, by providing them with a clear pathway and support to achieving their goals.
Principal Jo Ann Caines will be missed by all those who worked with her and the thousands of lives she transformed throughout the community. She was widely admired for having a heart that was bigger than life. Santa Barbara Unified School District staff send their thoughts and deepest sympathies to her family and the La Cumbre Junior High School community during this time of grief.