CSBA honors CNUSD Board President Mary Helen Ybarra as 2023 Board Member of the Year

CSBA honors Corona-Norco USD Board President Mary Helen Ybarra as 2023 Board Member of the Year

The California School Boards Association announced CNUSD Board President Mary Helen Ybarra as the 2023 CSBA Board Member of the Year recipient. Since 2014, Ybarra has demonstrated what it means to lead for students, the schools they attend and their community.

The Golden Gavel award honors individual school board members and governance teams who exemplify best practices in effective governance. Ybarra, who is passionate about equity and advocating for English learners, was chosen from among approximately 5,000 school board members making up nearly 1,000 school boards throughout the state.

“Mary’s commitment to all students, advocacy for the underserved and commitment to hearing student voice exemplify the difference school board members can make by supporting the conditions for student success and working to close opportunity and achievement gaps,” said 2023 CSBA President Susan Markarian.  

Ybarra accepted the award on Nov. 30 at the 2023 CSBA Annual Education Conference and Trade Show.  The conference is the premier continuing education event for California school boards and the largest education leadership conference in the state.

As the school board president of the seventh-largest district in California, Ybarra fully committed to excellence in all that she does to represent the students, parents, teachers, support staff and administrators of the Corona-Norco USD. Her work includes a strong focus on student learning and on the efforts to remediate learning loss, as evidenced by the implementation of a universal screening tool that measures students’ progress in literacy and math. Ybarra is highly engaged in efforts to support mental health and wellness for students and staff, as demonstrated by the student calming rooms at all schools and the district’s ongoing fentanyl awareness campaign. She has also been instrumental in promoting and growing STEM, career technical education and dual immersion language programs.

“As an English learner from Baldwin Park, I never imagined that I would be recognized for my community involvement on this scale,” Ybarra said during her acceptance speech. “This recognition is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the dedication and hard work of our entire Corona-Norco school district, including my fellow board members. Recognitions like these underscore the importance of community involvement and participation in our local school systems.”

To learn more about the Golden Gavel awards and all the winners, visit the program’s website at http://awards.csba.org/golden-gavel/.