Senate Leader Atkins Announces Appointments to California Cradle-to-Career Governing Board: Senator John Laird, San Diego Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, Dr. Meredith Lee

September 9, 2021

SACRAMENTO –Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) has appointed three top leaders to serve on the governing board of the Cradle-to-Career Data System, which links information across spectrums like education and social services in an effort to better equip policymakers, educators, and the public to address disparities and improve student outcomes.

Pro Tem Atkins, who has three appointments to the board, appointed Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), San Diego City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, and Dr. Meredith Lee. The appointments take effect today.

“The Cradle-to-Career Data System is an essential tool in crafting the policies and support services that will give Californians a head start as they navigate the education system and enter the workforce,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “I took special care to appoint experts in data systems, youth development, and public policy so that the best of the best are helping guide this important program.”

Senator Laird was elected to the Senate in November 2020. He currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education. Senator Laird previously served as Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, and also served in the Assembly from 2002-2008.

“A strong start in life starts with solid support from family and the crucial institutions like children’s health services, daycare, after school programs, mentorship efforts, and most importantly our schools,” Senator Laird said. “From K-12 primary schools, community colleges, CSUs, UCs, to other institutions, we must ensure parents and kids get a clear, full picture of all that is available to them to succeed. It’s with that in mind that I thank Senate President Pro Tem Atkins for appointing me to this vital oversight role.”

Councilmember Elo-Rivera was elected to the San Diego City Council in November 2020. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of Youth Will (RISE San Diego) and as a Trustee for the San Diego Community College District. Pro Tem Atkins said Councilmember Elo-Rivera was a natural fit for the governing board given his expertise and long-time commitment to working with students.

"A trusted community leader and youth advocate, Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera has dedicated his life's work to youth development and empowerment," Pro Tem Atkins said. "As the governing board develops and implements the Cradle-to-Career Data System, Councilmember Elo-Rivera's experience as a San Diego Community College District Board Trustee will be an essential resource for ensuring the database is a source for actionable data and research that will help guide decisions and provide future generations with the tools they need for success." 

Dr. Meredith Lee, who was recommended by Senator Josh Becker for appointment, currently serves as Chief Technical Advisor for Computing, Data Science, and Society at University of California, Berkeley. Lee, who also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Water Data Consortium, previously served on the California Blockchain Working Group, and as Executive Director for the National Science Foundation’s West Big Data Innovation Hub.

"Due to her deep expertise in data systems and her leadership on workforce development while serving on the California Blockchain Working Group, Dr. Meredith Lee will make an excellent addition to the Cradle-to-Career governing board," said Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park). "A respected innovator in tech and data sciences, Dr. Lee will be a tremendous asset to the board as it provides strategic direction and oversight of the new data system and expands access to resources to support the education-to-employment pipeline."

The Senate’s two public members will serve an initial two-year term on the Cradle-to-Career governing board and receive per diem and reimbursement for travel. Senator Laird’s appointment is at the pleasure of the appointing authority.


Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins:

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