A pair of school board members from separate districts serving Huntington Beach were honored at this week’s Orange County School Boards Association dinner.
Susan Henry, president of the Huntington Beach Union High School District’s Board of Trustees, earned the prestigious Marian Bergeson Award on Oct. 7 at the Irvine Marriott, while Celia Jaffe, a former Huntington Beach City School District board member, was named the winner of OCSBA’s Maureen DiMarco Award.
Established in 1974, the Marian Bergeson Award is annually presented to a school board member who promotes and enhances public education through board leadership and community service. Bergeson, in addition to being a past member of the California State Assembly, California State Senate and Orange County Board of Supervisors, is also a former California Secretary of Education.
Henry, a Huntington Beach Union trustee for more than 15 years — she’s pictured above on the right, along with Bergeson (center) and OCSBA President Meg Cutuli — has taken on numerous county and state leadership positions and responsibilities during her tenure.
For starters, she’s been a member of the OCSBA Board of Directors since 2004, serving as its president in 2008-09. An active member of the California School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly since 2006, she is currently CSBA’s director of Region 15 in Orange County. Statewide, she has represented the county as a member of CSBA’s Linked Learning Taskforce and Golden Bell Review Committee, and she currently has a seat on CSBA’s Bylaws Committee.
Before joining the school board, Henry was president of the Fountain Valley High School Foundation, director of the Orange County Coalition of Public Schools Foundations and executive committee member of the Huntington Beach Union Council of PTAs. As a member of Huntington Beach Union’s Board of Trustees, she has served as president four times.
Meanwhile, OCSBA’s Maureen DiMarco Award recognizes exemplary and far-reaching leadership in addressing the broad needs of youth in Orange County. It was first presented in 1993 to recognize the contributions of Maureen DiMarco, who, in addition to being California’s first cabinet secretary for child development and education, served as president of the California School Boards Association and the Orange County School Boards Association.
Jaffe — she’s on the right with OCSBA Past President Francine Scinto — has been credited for her visionary leadership and steadfast commitment to public education, both in Orange County and throughout the state. She was elected as PTA president for her local elementary school in 1992 and has been an active member of the California State PTA, serving on various commissions and committees.
She has served as president of the Huntington Union Council of PTAs and later joined the Fourth District PTA, where she held the positions of legislation roundtable chair, leadership chair, vice president of advocacy, executive vice president and president. Jaffe is currently the California PTA vice president of education.
As a Huntington Beach City School District board member for more than a decade, Jaffe was board president twice and spent time on numerous committees, including the Huntington Beach Educational Foundation, the Parent Advisory Committee for GATE and the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee.