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By Henrietta J. Burroughs       Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today              Facebook    Twitter         Blog
March 18, 2015                
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Photo of Laura Martinez
  East Palo Alto City Council member Laura Martinez


It was a special announcement and it was made during the East Palo Alto City Council's regular meeting on March 17. At the top of the meeting, Council member Laura Martinez told everyone in the council chambers that she had been "offered the opportunity" to serve as a trustee on the governing board of the Sequoia Union High School District.

Martinez smiled throughout her announcement and she had a lot to smile about.

The Sequoia Union High School District's governing board had unanimously selected her over five other candidates during its meeting on Wednesday, March 11. Martinez will complete the remaining nine-month term of Olivia Martinez, a long-standing board member, who left the governing board at the end of April. She had served on the board since 1999.

Laura Martinez will officially join the Sequoia Union School District's six-member board as an interim board member, when she is sworn in Wednesday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the school board offices on 480 James Avenue in Redwood City.

With her big smile still showing, Martinez immediately invited everyone to the swearing in ceremony. "Just come out and enjoy the celebration," she said.

While she did not state in her remarks that she was resigning from the East Palo Alto City Council, her resignation was strongly implied.

"This isn't really a goodbye," she said. "I really look forward to continuing to serve the great community of East Palo Alto in my new role and I know there will be many opportunities for the city and the district to work in partnership for the good of the students here in East Palo Alto.... I just want to end with saying it's been a pleasure working with my city council members, the staff, community members in representing the city for the past six years and I leave this position with gratitude and appreciation for the wonderful experience I've had here and I've just been honored to serve here."

With that she thanked Mayor Lisa Yarbrough-Gauthier for allowing her to make her "very special announcement."

Yarbrough-Gauthier, in turn, thanked Martinez for serving the city and for serving two terms as mayor. "We appreciate all that you've done for the city, and your commitment to the city. I'm looking forward to the continued progress in your work with the Sequoia District. It's good to have a representative from East Palo Alto sitting on that board that will be able to look after our children. So, again, I just want to thank you for your leadership and your assistance here on the council.

Both Council members Donna Rutherford and Larry Moody congratulated Martinez on her new position and thanked her for her service to the city. Moody added that he was pleased that the school board finally saw fit to appoint someone from East Palo Alto as a board member and he hoped that the district would develop precincts in which the city would always have a representative on the school board.

Yarbrough-Gauthier presented Martinez with a plaque from the city council. East Palo Alto's new city manager Carlos Martinez took a photo of Martinez with three of her city council colleagues. Councilmember Ruben Abrica was absent from the meeting.

Martinez then took her seat and continued her duties for the last time as a member of the East Palo Alto City Council, since she said her new position didn't start until the next day.

Martinez will have her first board meeting as an interim trustee on the Sequoia Union High School District board on April 1, 2015. The school board meets every two weeks. Get more information about the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees here on the district website.

The author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, can be contacted by email at epatoday@epatoday.org.

Related Information

See a 2011 television interview with five candidates for the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees on Talking with Henrietta. The show, called Meet the Candidates, can be see here.