CSBA’s 2019 Officers
Dr. Emma Turner | President

Turner brings decades of leadership experience to the position. She retired from the United States Navy in 2004 after serving 27 years and rising through the ranks to become an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Along the way, she earned a doctorate in psychology while raising a family.

Upon retirement, she turned to civic service, and in 2008, became a trustee of La Mesa-Spring Valley SD — a San Diego County district of about 12,300 students in grades K-8. After her election to the school board, Turner also joined CSBA and received training in school governance and leadership, ultimately earning a Masters in Governance from the organization. While serving her community as a board member, Turner has worked in many roles with CSBA and other educational organizations. At CSBA, Turner has served as a Delegate and Director-at-Large, African-American and as Vice President and President-elect.

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | President-elect

Elected by a group of CSBA delegates from throughout the state, Cruz-Gonzalez ascends from her previous position as Vice President.

Now in her 17th year as a school board member, Cruz-Gonzalez has been an active member of CSBA, most recently serving as the Vice President and previously serving on the CSBA Board of Directors representing the greater San Gabriel Valley. As an advocate for the state’s public education system and a committed lifelong learner, Cruz-Gonzalez has also served on CSBA’s Legislative Committee and the Council of Presidents. She completed CSBA’s Masters in Governance training in May 2015.

“I am thrilled to have this position and to continue my advocacy work with CSBA,” Cruz-Gonzalez said. “As CSBA President-elect, I am committed to championing the fight for equity and high-quality education for all of California’s 6.2 million public school students.”

In addition to her advocacy work through CSBA, Cruz-Gonzalez works for Californians Together, directing a project that supports immigrant and refugee students. Cruz-Gonzalez has also served as President of Californians Together and President of the California Latino School Boards Association. She has additionally held positions on a variety of national and state nonprofit boards, including the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Education Trust-West Allies for Equity, and Opportunity Action.

Tamara Otero | Vice President

Now in her ninth year as a school board member, Otero has been an active member of CSBA before her election to Vice President by CSBA delegates from across the state. She completed the Masters in Governance program in 2011, has served as a delegate since 2015 and worked on the Annual Education Conference & Trade Show planning committee for the past two years. Otero, who is a mother of four and an entrepreneur, was also named School Board Member of the Year for San Diego and Imperial Counties in 2017.

“I believe that the School Board is the catalyst for the advancement and transformation of a District. 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,” Otero said. “I am a determined learner and a dedicated listener; and I look forward to working collectively as we advance California to the top of education in student outcomes and fair funding.”

Mike Walsh | Immediate Past President

Walsh is a board member in the Butte County Office of Education in Oroville and an active member of the California County Boards of Education. Working in education since 1992, he is currently the co-owner and founder of Beacon Services, a management consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning and leadership development.

In addition to serving as CSBA’s 2018 president, Walsh has been a member of CSBA’s Board of Directors for eight years, serving as Director-at-Large, County since December 2011 and a member of the Executive Committee since December 2015. During his time as CSBA, Walsh has served ably on numerous other committees, including as chair of the Legislative Committee. As a leadership facilitator, he provides career-specific workshops for students to help them discover and develop the leadership skills needed to succeed in high school, college and their chosen profession.