Gwen Dowdy-Rodgers to become first Black woman on San Bernardino County school board – San Bernardino Sun

The five-person group overseeing 400,000 San Bernardino County students in 33 school districts will have two new representatives following the Nov. 8 election, including a longtime San Bernardino City Unified school board member.

Gwen Dowdy-Rodgers is poised to take her seat as the first Black woman to serve on the county board after winning more than 60% of the vote in Area D, which represents Rialto, San Bernardino and Snowline school districts. Mike Gallo, appointed to replace longtime Trustee Hardy Brown II after Brown resigned in 2021, did not seek elected office.

“You don’t think about history as yourself often,” Dowdy-Rodgers said in a recent phone interview, “but this is just another reminder how with being intentional and honoring things others have done, you end up stepping into history.

“I’m still trying to grasp it all.”

Set to take her fourth oath of office, Dowdy-Rodgers recognized the Black leaders in education she follows: Dorothy Inghram, the county’s first Black teacher and the state’s first Black district superintendent; Brown, the first Black person to serve on the county school board; and, of course, her mentor, Margaret Hill, a San Bernardino icon who died late last year.

“The county has definitely honored those legacies,” Dowdy-Rodgers said, “so to be a part of it, it’s a huge honor for me.”

Election results have yet to be finalized — the San Bernardino County registrar has until Dec. 8 to certify the vote tally — but as of Nov. 21, Dowdy-Rodgers maintained a 14,500-vote lead in the race. There were about 11,000 ballots remaining to be counted at that time.

See the latest election results.

Likely to join Dowdy-Rodgers on the San Bernardino County Board of Education are newcomer Ryan McEachron, who was leading incumbent board member Ken Larson in the Area A race, and incumbent Area B representative Rita Fernandez-Loof, who received more votes than a pair of challengers.

The board oversees the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

New trustees will be sworn in next month.

“My love for San Bernardino continues to go beyond just where I’ve been sitting,” said Dowdy-Rodgers, who vacated her seat on the San Bernardino City Unified school board last week. “Now I’m able to work with more of our communities across the board and be that consistent and committed voice for the community.

“I told everyone, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’” she continued. “I’m still here in San Bernardino.”

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