Carmen Avalos

President, Board of Trustee for Cerritos College

Cerritos, California

Carmen Avalos is President of the Board of Trustee for Cerritos College in Cerritos, California. She served on the board from 2005-2009 and was again elected in November 2012. She is a dually elected official as she is also the elected City Clerk for the City of South Gate. She has served the City since March 2001. She is the first immigrant Mexican-American to serve in both positions. She was the only Latina on the Cerritos College Board from 2005-2009. Her work as an advocate for voters’ rights led to an anti-discrimination lawsuit against Cerritos College for its violation of the California Voting Rights Law. Because of the lawsuit, the college went from an at-large voting district to a 7-district Cerritos Community College District. As a result the board went from zero Latino/a representation to 3 Latinas representing the diverse college community.

Ms. Avalos was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and immigrated to the United States at the tender age of two. Carmen graduated from South Gate High School in 1987 and was the first student ever to deliver the graduating speech in Spanish. She attended East Los Angeles College and then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) in biology with a minor in Chemistry. She also earned a teaching credential at CSUDH. She earned a Masters Degree in Educational Administration in 2011 from CSU Long Beach. She is working towards a 2nd masters degree in Public Administration and plans to graduate in Fall of 2015.

Carmen’s dream was to return to her alma mater, South Gate High School, to teach Biology. During her first year, Carmen received the Teacher of the Year Award.

Ms. Avalos is a proud parent of six wonderful children, four of whom are currently attending Aspire and KIPP schools. She believes in the opportunity for all to succeed regardless of challenges in their life. We only have one time to get it right for educating our kids. She is a strong supporter of quality education and choice for parents.

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