Gina Jamerson lived in Elk Grove for less than two years before she became the president of Toby Johnson Middle School’s site council.
On Jan. 26, the Elk Grove Unified School District board appointed her to their vacant Trustee Area 4 seat after interviewing her along with three other applicants.
“I was very excited and very humbled and honored that this board put their trust in me,” Jamerson said.
She spoke with the Citizen about her new role on the school board that governs 67 schools in a district that educates more than 63,000 students.
“I’m impressed with the school district, but I also see the areas where there is a potential for growth,” Jamerson said. “Knowing I have the expertise and skills to bring to (the district) seems like a good fit to me.”
Bobbie Singh-Allen vacated the Trustee Area 4 seat last year when she was elected mayor of Elk Grove. Jamerson will now serve the rest of her predecessor’s term that ends in November 2022. Trustee Area 4 represents the school district’s western side and includes Elk Grove’s Laguna, East Franklin, Lakeside, and Laguna West communities.
“My hope is that in whatever way I can connect with folks,” the new trustee said about reaching out to her constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Obviously, connecting in-person will be challenging. We can use Zoom or the phone.”
Jamerson works as the director of the Guided Pathways team at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which is a nonprofit that works to improve services at community colleges.
She said that her team coordinates with the state’s 116 community colleges on matters such as increasing university transfer rates and closing achievement gaps, “all while looking through an equity lens.”
Jamerson previously worked at Sonoma State University for nearly 20 years where she was involved in student outreach and recruitment. She recalled her interactions with students who were never told they could attend college.
“It was about empowering students to consider a path they may not have considered before,” Jamerson said about her work at Sonoma State.
The Lake County native grew up as the daughter of educators. Her mother worked as a teacher and her father, David Geck, was a Lake County School Superintendent. Jamerson earned her bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies at California State University, Chico.
During her school board interview, Jamerson said her parents’ conservations gave her an insight on how education administrators view fiscal responsibility and education policy while she also heard how those policies impacted classrooms.
Before she was appointed to the school board, she watched the board’s Jan. 22 online workshop where they discussed the challenges of reopening schools for in-person learning during the pandemic. The district faces an uncertain future in deciding if it is safe enough for students to return to classrooms or if they should stay home to take online classes.
“My hope is that people can see the issues as complex as they are, and understand that everyone is trying to do what’s best for the students within the limitations,” Jamerson said.
“Everyone wants the students to be able to return to the classrooms - it’s about trying to find the way to keep students, staff, and families safe.”
Jamerson can be contacted via her Elk Grove school district email address at firstname.lastname@example.org