Rebecca was born in the Bay Area to two middle-class parents. Her father is a veteran and a retired computer programmer. Her mother went back to work looking after the elderly following the dot-com bubble burst. Their first priority always was to secure a great education for their kids, and they sacrificed for it.
The Barrett family settled in Concord, CA, where Rebecca attended Glenbrook Middle School, Sequoia Middle School, Concord High School, and Diablo Valley College.
Rebecca eventually transferred from DVC to UCLA, where she earned a degree in Political Science. While there, she organized students and faculty to stop cuts to higher education and block tuition increases.
After graduation, Rebecca went to work in Sacramento at the California Department of Education. She began her career as the Special Assistant to State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, and rose to be Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent, serving on the Department of Education’s senior leadership team.
Rebecca has had a front row seat to some of the biggest education policy changes in California history, from the creation and implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula to increases in funding for career tech programs. She also led the team that implemented the new "Gold Ribbon Schools" awards system that rewarded schools for not just test scores, but also serving at-risk students, engaging the community, and implementing quality art and civics programs.
Rebecca returned home to help manage district operations for Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. Now, she mentors DVC students, cultivates leadership among various youth groups, and advises elected officials and candidates on education policy.
That experience puts Rebecca at the intersection of helping shape California’s education policies - and living through them. She knows how these policies actually impact students and their families beyond the gotcha politics, newspaper headlines, or white papers.
Our community colleges are at a crossroads.
We have a responsibility to prepare students for the workforce of the future. That not only means helping students get through our community college system and into the four year colleges of their dreams quickly, but also increasing funding and opportunities for students pursuing certificates in our career training programs.
We need leadership informed by real experience on the ground, in our schools, and in today's ever-changing economy. We need someone who has the passion and the drive to fight for our students and our workforce. We need a leader who will think creatively to solve thorny issues and build consensus.
Rebecca Barrett is that leader.