Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez CSBA President at AEC 2019.
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez CSBA President at AEC 2019.
CSBA’s 2020 Officers
On Dec. 7, 2019, at the close of CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show, Azusa Unified School District Trustee Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez took the reins as CSBA President. Cruz-Gonzalez is joined by Pleasant Valley School District Trustee Suzanne Kitchens as President-elect, Natomas Unified School District Trustee Dr. Susan Heredia as Vice President and La Mesa-Spring Valley School District Trustee Dr. Emma Turner as Immediate Past President. This group of esteemed leaders marks just the second time in CSBA’s history that its officers are all women — and the first time that the organization’s elected leadership is represented by four women of color.

A native Californian, fifth-generation Azusa resident and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Cruz-Gonzalez brings nearly two decades of education leadership experience to her new position. She has dedicated her career to improving outcomes for all students, with a focus on increased support for English learners. Now in her 18th year as a school board trustee, Cruz-Gonzalez has been an active member of CSBA, most recently holding the office of President-elect and previously serving on the CSBA Board of Directors by 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 program in May 2015.

In addition to her advocacy work through CSBA, Cruz-Gonzalez is the director of policy and initiatives for Californians Together, directing a project that supports immigrant and refugee students. Cruz-Gonzalez has also served as president of Californians Together and 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.

Suzanne Kitchens headshot
Suzanne Kitchens CSBA President-elect
Susan Heredia headshot
Susan Heredia CSBA Vice President
Emma Turner headshot
Emma Turner CSBA Immediate Past President
Kitchens, who is also an Executive Committee member for the Ventura County Schools Boards Association, is also in her 18th year as a school board member. Kitchens has previously served as president of the Pleasant Valley School District Board and has been an active member of CSBA for nearly two decades. She has held roles as a CSBA Director and Delegate, and as a member of the Nominating, Legislative, Annual Conference, Board Development, Bylaws, Compensation Review and Education Legal Alliance committees. Kitchens, who is a tax accountant by trade, has also chaired CSBA’s Finance and Audit committees and graduated from the association’s Masters in Governance program.

Heredia, who is a professor of education, emerita at Sacramento State University, has been an active member of CSBA and a longtime advocate for California public school students. She is entering her 20th year as a trustee on the Natomas USD Board of Trustees. She has served as CSBA’s Director-At-Large, Hispanic, as well as chair of the organization’s 2019 Annual Conference Committee. Heredia has also been a member of the association’s Annual Conference, Policy Platform, Board Development, Bylaws, and Golden Bell Review committees, as well as the Equity Network, Accountability Task Force, No Child Left Behind Taskforce, Federal Issues Council and Governance Study Group.

In addition to serving as CSBA President in 2019, Turner has also served as a Delegate and Director-at-Large, African American, and as Vice President and President-elect. Elsewhere, Turner was elected as Pacific Region Director, secretary/treasurer, chair-elect and then chair of the National Black Council in 2016. She currently serves as treasurer for the All Kids Academy Head Start program, which encompasses more than 20 schools. In these positions, Dr. Turner continues her advocacy work, which includes publishing articles on the conditions and challenges faced by African American students across the nation.