The Educate Our State Board of Directors is committed to advocating for a great education for all the students of California.
For our Educate Our State Leadership board, please visit this page.
Delaine Eastin, Chair (Davis)
As a teacher, as a legislator, as California's State Superintendent, and in other roles, Delaine has spent a lifetime working on behalf of children. Delaine served as the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) for eight years from 1995 to 2003, the first and only woman in history elected to that position. As an elected constitutional officer, Delaine managed more than 40% of the California budget and oversaw the education of 6.1 million children. Superintendent Eastin championed state standards and assessments aligned to standards, reduced class size in kindergarten through third grade, and oversaw a strengthening of arts education and hands-on science, including gardens in school. As SPI she fought to rebuild California school libraries and to wire schools for technology. She was the architect of the innovative Net Days, copied nationally in more than 40 states and internationally in more than 40 countries. Delaine has been an advocate for substantial increases in school construction funding, improved school nutrition, universal preschool, full-day mandatory kindergarten, better career and technical education and greater civic engagement of students. She advocated a longer school year and more safety nets for children who fall behind. Prior to serving as SPI, Delaine served 8 years in the California State Assembly where she chaired several committees, including the Education Committee. After she termed out as SPI, Delaine was the first Executive Director of the National Institute for School Leadership and then a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Educational Leadership at Mills College in Oakland. She continues to serve on a number of boards that support the education, health and civic engagement of children from preschool to college. An elementary school in Union City is named after her. She has received numerous other awards and state and national recognition for her contributions to children. Delaine is a graduate of UC Davis with a Masters from UC Santa Barbara.
Cushon Bell, Secretary (Pasadena)
As a student, a teacher, and now as a parent, Cushon has had a lifelong connection to California public schools. After 14 years of teaching, Cushon left the classroom to spend time with her children, but she didn’t leave the education field. In addition to membership in her school site council and PTA and founding her school’s African-American parent council, Cushon shifted her focus to parent engagement and advocacy through social networking and presentations at parent workshops. She has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Pasadena Education Network for her work as an advocate for all children. In 2011, Cushon was selected to represent the state of California at Parenting Magazine's Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. A wife and mother of three, Cushon is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Ruth Burton (Bakersfield)
Ruth was born and raised in Honduras. She and her husband Bruce moved to Bakersfield twenty-five years ago, where she found her passion for teaching. Ruth worked with migrant children in the rural areas of the southern San Joaquin Valley as a teacher, utilizing her bilingual teaching skills to offer new immigrants into the U.S. an education that included a great deal more than academics. While any good teacher can attest to the energy required in a normal classroom, this migrant population also confronts the challenging issue of poverty, which requires a level of teacher commitment far and above a traditional school environment. Ruth committed her heart and soul to this profession for almost 15 years and recently retired from the classroom. She has four children: daughters Ruthie and Ana, both married with children and living in the bay area. Ana is a teacher, and Ruthie is an Industrial Engineer. Her son Danny, also married, after eight years in the Navy, lives in Los Angeles, and works for Wells Fargo. Her son James graduated from Haverford College and works for City Bank in South Africa. . Ruth studied English in England, accounting in Honduras, and worked for almost a decade for the Central American Bank for Economical Integration. She earned her Masters degree in Spanish language, literature and culture at UC Santa Barbara.
Katherine Welch, Treasurer (Piedmont)
Katherine is galvanized by the message and the approach of Educate Our State, and first joined the board in 2011. She served as Board Chair from 2013-2015. She served on the board of Gateway Public Schools in San Francisco from 2008-2014 and is currently on the board of Head Royce School in Oakland. She has a diverse business background with experience in corporate finance, venture capital, non-profit education and general business management and operations. Katherine has been actively involved as a volunteer in the non-profit sector for over 20 years in many capacities. After a tireless effort to raise funds for her children’s public school district several years ago, she realized that, more than ever, systemic change in California’s public education system is the only solution for our children – and parents are the best messengers for that change. Katherine graduated with an MBA from Harvard University and a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.