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School Board Profile: Beatriz Leyva-Cutler

Beatriz Leyva-Cutler is in the middle of her 11th consecutive year serving as a member of Berkeley’s School Board. She was first elected in 2008, and has been re-elected twice; she is currently in the middle of her third term.

Leyva-Cutler ran for office due to her devotion to Berkeley students and her desire of an equitable education system. “I chose to run for office to be a policymaker who would put the district on the pathway to addressing the achievement gap through the 2020 Vision and now through the LCAP,” Leyva-Cutler said.

The 2020 Vision and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) are efforts to ensure academic achievement across all races, set goals, plan actions, and leverage resources to meet those goals to improve student outcomes. Leyva-Cutler’s objective when running for office was to “represent a community of concerned and vocal representatives who pushed for the 2020 Vision to be a priority,” said Leyva-Cutler.

Prior to running for this position, Leyva-Cutler had never run for office, or even worked on a campaign. However, in 2007 she found help with Emerge California, an organization which helps and prepares Democratic women who are running for office. “Through this leadership program I learned the ins and outs of running for office,” she explained. Leyva-Cutler is extremely proud of being elected to office, “Nobody else in my family has ever run for office … it has meant a lot to me to run three times and be re-elected twice to continue this work as a board member,” she said.

Leyva-Cutler is focused on making sure all students benefit from the resources that the district has to offer. She believes these resources should include “quality instruction, welcoming schools and family engagement, safe and healthy facilities,” and making sure that students’ voices are being heard. She works to ensure that “every day in each of our schools there is a quality education for all,” Leyva-Cutler said.

Leyva-Cutler is not yet sure if she’ll run for a fourth term in 2020. She knows that the School Board has been consistently dedicated to Berkeley’s students and ensuring their successes, in particular erasing the achievement gap. However, she still believes that there are unresolved issues to be addressed within the school communities. “Every elected official should be educated on why it matters to build a community of learners that understands and supports social, racial and economic justice,” said Leyva-Cutler.