January is time to acknowledge the school board and its role in supporting student achievement

Santa Barbara, Calif. (January 25, 2022) – The Santa Barbara Unified School District is proud to join more than 1,000 local educational agencies in the state in recognizing the contributions of board members during School Board Recognition Month. In this time of unprecedented challenges in nearly every sector of life, Santa Barbara is privileged to have board members who have worked tirelessly to support student learning and mental wellness in our district. 

The Santa Barbara Unified School District board is led by members Rose Muñoz, Wendy Sims-Moten, Laura Capps, Kate Ford, Virginia Alvarez, and student board member Dawson Kelly. 

“Board members are our elected representatives and a vital link between the school district and the community, their commitment to service leadership and care for the community is inimitable” said Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Dr. Hilda Maldonado. “The board sets the foundation and vision for the district, directs resources where they are most needed, and ensures accountability to the community by monitoring progress toward goals. Their end goal, of course, is to support and elevate student achievement, social emotional health, equity and educational excellence.”

During this challenging year, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees has worked to provide a focus on student needs by setting policy on a safe return to school and continued focus on safety as a primary goal during this unprecedented pandemic. The board has supported schools through setting policies around equitable funding and staffing, providing healthy and nutritious food, ensuring equity in achievement in Early Education through 12th grades, investments in social-emotional support and directing resources to students who have been historically underserved. 

“Many thanks to our Board of Education, who have been great partners to work with over the years, and who have shown exceptional leadership and dedication to Santa Barbara Unified students through this most difficult of times,” said Jon Clark, the president of the James S. Bower Foundation.

The board’s outreach with other educational community efforts is also paramount.

“Working hand in hand with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, we are able to serve students with services and support that help them get the quality education they deserve!  Close communications with our Board of Directors provides the input and perspective needed to reach our goals,” said Margie Yahyavi, the executive director of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

For District Office staff, the relationship with the board is of the utmost importance as they work together on behalf of the constituents of Santa Barbara.

“It’s a good opportunity for all of us to take a moment and express our appreciation for the public service our board members provide for our community, especially how they all keep such a sharp focus on students and staff they serve,” said John Becchio, SBUSD’s assistant superintendent for human resources.

And, ultimately, the board’s passion for the student comes across loud and clear — acting as the consistent reminder about the important work staff, teachers and administrators do on a daily basis.

“Each of the five women who serve on this board came to us with a strong and unwavering passion for serving all of our students and their families. The student is at the center of each decision they make,” said Frann Wageneck, SBUSD’s assistant superintendent for student services.


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