Mayor's Appointee
Viola Gonzales

Viola Gonzales was appointed to the Board of Education on April 30, 2002 by Mayor Jerry Brown.  In January 2003, the Board elected her Vice President.  She is Chair of the Rules & Ethics Committee and a member of the Finance & Human Resources Committee.

Until November 2002, Ms.Gonzales was Executive Director of Latino Issues Forum for nearly four years. LIF ( is a statewide non-profit agency with a broad advocacy agenda.  The agency's mission is to give voice to under-represented constituencies in many policy arenas, including health and health care access, environmental health, air and water quality, energy, smart growth-sustainable development, and telecommunications and technology.  The agency more than doubled in size while she was Executive Director and gained local, state and national respect for its innovation and assertive advocacy.

Prior to this appointment Ms. Gonzales served on the Oakland Planning Commission.  In Oakland, she was Assistant to the Mayor (Elihu M. Harris) for Economic Development and Employment Projects, Chief Operating Officer of the Spanish Speaking Unity Council, and Executive Director of the Oakland YWCA, the oldest service agency in the East Bay.  Ms. Gonzales has also provided management consulting services in the Bay Area and in Washington, D.C. in the early 1970's, where she was Special Assistant to the Division Chief, Office of Child Development (DHEW).

Ms. Gonzales taught preschoolers for a year in a model bilingual program in Texas.  She was proprietor of a gift store. She was a manager in the accounting and regulatory departments of Pacific Bell. She has intentionally organized her career to manage operations in the public, the private and the nonprofit sectors.

Ms. Gonzales was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas.  She graduated from its public schools as an honor student, and through scholarship completed an associate degree at Del Mar College. She majored in economics at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas where she earned a Bachelor degree in Business Administration. Later through a fellowship, she completed a Master in Business Administration from Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. She is interested in team building, in negotiating challenging situations, in strategic planning, and in increasing organizational effectiveness by restructuring operations, systems and processes. 

She currently serves on the Verizon National Consumer Advisory Board and chairs its Corporate Social Responsibility Committee; she is on the board of the California Pan Ethnic Health Network. In the past, she has been an active director on such non-profit boards as Health Access California (President), Clinica De La Raza, Fruitvale Community Development District Council (President), Oakland Business Development Corporation, Center for Urban Family Life, Steppingstones for Cultural Growth, and Los Padrinos (Chapter President, State Vice President) among others.   

Term Ends: May 2004


District Schools
This member represents the interests of all District schools.

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