2019 CSBA officer candidates

CSBA’s Nominating Committee met on September 15 to interview the following candidates for President-elect and Vice President of CSBA. For President-elect: Xilonin Cruz Gonzalez, Azusa USD. For Vice President: Suzanne Kitchens, Pleasant Valley SD; Gregory Krikorian, Glendale USD; Alisa MacAvoy, Redwood City ESD; Tamara Otero, Cajon Valley Union SD.

Following deliberations, the Committee nominated Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez as a candidate for President-elect. As candidates for Vice President, the committee nominated Suzanne Kitchens, Gregory Krikorian, Alisa MacAvoy, and Tamara Otero.

As provided in CSBA’s Standing Rules, qualified individuals interested in being nominated from the floor of the Delegate Assembly must submit a complete Declaration of Candidacy packet along with their written intention to run, on or before Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Intentions to run from the floor for President-elect and Vice President must be submitted to CSBA’s President, Mike Walsh at, and the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Lisa Kaplan at

For more information on the nomination process and to review the 2018 candidate criteria used by the Nominating Committee, please visit the CSBA website at

— Lisa Kaplan, Chair 2018 Nominating Committee, Delegate Region 6, Natomas USD, On behalf of the Delegates serving on the Nominating Committee.

Candidate Statements
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | President-elect

Dear fellow school board members,

I have had the honor and the privilege of serving this past year as CSBA Vice President. In that leadership role, I have only grown in appreciation of the dedicated work of CSBA in supporting school board members in California.

Public education in California is at critical juncture. Next year, our state will have a new Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction, and more than ever we need to advocate for local decision-making authority granted under LCFF. CSBA needs to be the “essential voice for public education,” and we can only be that voice by empowering our 5000-strong membership to be informed and actively engaged locally and with state policymakers.

By continuing to reinvigorate CSBA’s professional development opportunities to be RELEVANT AND ACCESSIBLE to our membership, we will make ourselves STRONGER.

By fully implementing our “Grassroots” initiative, we will EMPOWER our membership with the tools and support needed to organize our communities to demand the resources needed to ensure EXCELLENT SCHOOLS throughout our state.

These are my priorities, and they would be my focus as President-Elect of CSBA.

As a veteran school board member with 16 years of service and over 7 years participating in CSBA’s leadership as a Delegate, Regional Director and Vice President, I have the experience, knowledge and expertise to serve on our organization’s executive committee and help guide us into the future.

I respectfully ask for your vote for President-Elect of CSBA.

Thank you,

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez

Suzanne Kitchens | Vice President

Name: Suzanne Kitchens

Occupation: School Board Trustee

Thank you for the opportunity to be considered your next Vice President of CSBA Each of us in the Delegate Assembly are advocates for the students we serve. Collectively we comprise a large, passionate and diverse group that advocates for a quality public education for the students of California. My focus will continue to be to keep the needs of our students front and center. Full and fail funding for our schools will continue to be a top priority for me. Equity plus accountability equals success for our students.

CSBA Delegate Experience

Annual Conference Committee member
AEC presenter
Nominating Committee member
Legislative Committee memberCSBA Director Experience

current Board Development Committee member
past chair, member Finance Committee
past chair, member Audit Committee
Bylaws Committee
Compensation Review Committee
ELA committee Adequately Funding Education

Golden Bell validator

Graduate Masters in Governance

Leadership Institute attendee

Community Leadership

Camarillo Academic Olympics
Community Commission for Ventura County
Graduate, Ventura County Leadership Academy
Member, Association of American University Women (Camarillo)
Ventura County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board
Former Camarillo PTA Council President


Camarillo business owner, Chamber of Commerce Member
Married with three adult children all graduates of PVSD and public universities

In closing I would appreciate your vote. But whatever the outcome of the election I wish us well in the year ahead. Our students deserve our best efforts. Our future rests with them.

Gregory Krikorian | Vice President


Region 23 A Delegate

As a father of five children, community leader and volunteer, I have a true passion for our youth and public education. For the past 18 years, it has been an honor to serve as a Member of the Glendale Board of Education and to advocate for our students’ welfare. I’m confident that my public and private sector experience will contribute to the goals and mission of CSBA.

I would welcome an opportunity to be a part of the leadership team for CSBA and to advocate for the major issues facing our school districts. It is essential that we create a culture of understanding within our state legislature and that CSBA must be included in all decisions that affect our ability to govern and provide quality education.

It is with that spirit that I offer my abilities and 26 years of experience in strategic community outreach campaigns and government relations throughout the state of California. I have built a foundation of trust and confidence with our local, state and federal elected officials, by serving California at many levels.

There is nothing more important to me than the quality of education our children receive. Every decision I have made, and will continue to make, will be based on maintaining highest levels of safety and academic standards for all students.

I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to serve CSBA and I ask for your confidence in me to serve as Vice President for the CSBA.

Alisa MacAvoy | Vice President

If elected, I will help CSBA be “the essential voice of public education” by representing you and the interests of all California school districts so that ALL of our students can be successful. I will continue to listen and learn about each of your school districts. I will advocate for LOCAL CONTROL to ensure you are able to meet the unique needs of your students and community.

Working with each of you, I will fight for FULL AND FAIR FUNDING moving California to the national average of school funding by 2020 and to the average of the top ten states by 2025. As school board members, we want to educate each student to their full potential, but we need full and fair funding to do so. I will back our Grassroots Initiative to empower 5000+ school board members and our community partners to increase support for public education.

In order to have high functioning and effective school boards, we must be educated and supported. I will continue to ensure that CSBA provides important professional development opportunities, guidance materials and support systems to help us in our role as school board members.

I have 20+ years experience in education, 11 years on my local school board, and 6 years with CSBA as a Delegate and Regional Director. I would be honored to be your next CSBA Vice President.

I respectively ask for your vote.

Thank you,
Alisa MacAvoy
Redwood City School District Board Trustee
CSBA Region 5 Director

Tamara Otero | Vice President

My name is Tamara Otero and it has been my extreme pleasure to serve as a School Board Member for the past eight years, as a Delegate for three years, planning committee member for the Annual Education Conference for the last two years, and as President of Region 17 SDCSBA. I have spent the past 23 years advocating for the students of California through a variety of volunteer positions and grass roots efforts and I believe in public education and the success of students who are supported through their community schools.

I support the Mission and Vision of CSBA and believe strongly that through collaboration we can work to create better education systems in California. We must remain a connected power that drives education policy and reform. Now is the time for change, we cannot let another generation of students be left with “adequate education” as a result of less than adequate funding. Communities cannot remain apathetic to the needs of our students; we must share our story! For the last 18 years we have been targeting 21st Century learning and yet we still remain behind in the application of technology, social and emotional learning supports, funding for Special Education, and the creation of learning spaces for our students to thrive.

I am a proven leader in my district driving changes to promote relevant learning. I believe good leaders must be great listeners. I am a committed learner and a passionate advocate. I greatly appreciate your votes of support.