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Nancy Watkins, running for the Orange County Board of Education, Area 3, California

Area 3 contains North and East Orange County.

“There are often a lot of barriers for people who want to run for election, and I think that it’s really important that good people see that they can take power, that they can share their voice… It’s incredibly important that people who have knowledge and who want to serve, have that opportunity.”

Nancy is a lifelong learner, an educator, a mother, and a community advocate. Born and raised in Diamond Bar, Nancy’s journey through education shaped her passion for learning and teaching. Her academic journey began with a political science major and a dance minor at UC Santa Barbara! She later obtained a teaching credential from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in public policy from Claremont Graduate School. Finally, she completed her educational doctorate in educational leadership and policy through a joint program between UCI and Cal State Fullerton. With her background in education and experience as a mother, she feels uniquely positioned to address issues facing students and positively impact the education system.

Nancy’s decision to enter the political arena stems from a deep-seated concern for the most vulnerable children in the seven school districts within this area. She feels compelled to step forward and advocate for these students’ rights to quality education and support services. Seeing the board’s focus shift towards politicized issues and charter school approvals rather than student welfare, Nancy saw the urgent need for good leadership in her community.

For Nancy, the school district’s core issues revolve around creating strong, safe, and effective schools. Beyond academic achievement, she emphasizes fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where all students can thrive. In the last five years, we learned that the board has allocated $10 million for private legal counsel to address various legal matters. These include lawsuits concerning COVID protocols, redistricting boundary lines, violations of the Brown Act, and lack of financial disclosure. Through her advocacy, she aims to transform public education into an inclusive space that prioritizes student well-being over political agendas.

Nancy is proud of the diversity and interconnectedness of Area 3 in North Orange County, where she has deep roots and connections. She has a strong bond with the community, having spent a significant portion of her teaching career in the Placentia, Yorba Linda Unified School District, and raising her family there. She also resides in Orange, where she observes political unrest surrounding the school board. Nancy emphasizes the importance of staying informed and involved in local school board matters, especially given the diverse interests and attention surrounding education in the region

Outside of her political endeavors, Nancy is a mother of three boys and two dogs—with two rescue pups named NYX and Thor! Along with a passion for dance, we discovered that Nancy has a black belt in TaeKwonDo! Nancy’s unique background and passion for education and community engagement position her as the good person Area 3 needs.

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