CSBA honors Placentia-Yorba Linda USD trustee Karin Freeman as 2021 Board Member of the Year
CSBA is thrilled to present Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District trustee Karin Freeman with the 2021 Board Member of the Year Award. Freeman has served in public education for 32 years at the local, state and county levels and demonstrates thorough knowledge of school district governance, issues and programs with a focus on student learning and achievement.

The Golden Gavel Award honors individual school board members who exemplify best practices in effective governance and boardsmanship. Freeman was chosen from among nearly 5,000 school board members making up 977 school boards throughout the state.

“For more than 30 years, Karin has guided her district and helped to create a dynamic and supportive learning community that prepares students for successful futures,” said CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia. “We are honored to recognize Karin’s exemplary efforts to improve student outcomes and well-being — an area of particular focus for her.”

Freeman has taken what she learned through CSBA’s comprehensive professional development opportunities — including completion of the Masters in Governance program, Orientation for New Trustees, Board President’s Training and participation in various Legislative Action Days, as well as both attending and presenting at the Annual Education Conference — to represent her district in working with policymakers throughout the state. In addition, she has been a CSBA Delegate since 2002, helping to ensure that CSBA is in alignment with the interests and needs of her community.

Her advocacy doesn’t stop with CSBA — Freeman has represented Placentia-Yorba Linda USD on the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program board since 1991. She has also held a position on the Orange County School Boards Association for many years, was elected to the Orange County Committee on School District Organization in 2007 and has been a member of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce for over 30 years, where she serves on the Education Foundation Committee. She is a member of the St. Jude Medical Center Community Health Committee, a founding chairperson of the Yorba Linda Historical Society and a member of the Placentia Historical Society.

CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia (left) and Placentia-Yorba Linda trustee Karin Freeman
CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia (left) and Placentia-Yorba Linda trustee Karin Freeman

Freeman is fully committed to the district’s strategic plan that she helped craft, known as The PYLUSD Advantage. The plan serves as a road map, setting specific strategies that guide decision-making to ensure students experience the advantage of an outstanding education. Freeman has placed particular focus on the “Safe and Respectful Environment” strategy and has helped the district fine-tune procedures and practices related to emergency preparedness and response, behavioral support, mental and emotional wellness, and physical health. This included a $2 million investment in mental health resources to benefit all students across 34 school sites.

“Although faced with a variety of challenges during the recent year and a half, school board members continue to rise to the occasion,” said Freeman upon receiving the award. “We all know that our students are depending on us to navigate the twists and turns in order to assure the best education possible. This recognition from CSBA is quite humbling, and I willingly share this with all board members throughout the state.”