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A mental health advocate who has dedicated her career to public service was provisionally appointed to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Education during a board meeting Tuesday night.

Amy Lopez will fill the seat vacated by Victor Tognazzini, who was elected in 2004 and retired on December 31, 2015 to spend time with family. Lopez is expected to be approved by the Santa Barbara County Election’s Office later this month. She will be officially sworn in at the February 9 board meeting.
Lopez, who was born and raised in Santa Maria, is ready to help create positive opportunities for SMJUHSD students and staff.

“This is a tremendous honor and it is my goal to give back to the community,’’ Lopez said. “I have a lot to offer education, kids and youth. In my profession, I see what happens when youth fall through the gaps.’’

The Saint Joseph High School graduate is a Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Team Supervisor, is activity involved with Santa Maria Boys and Girls Club and a Santa Maria Veterans Treatment Court Foundation Board Member. Her experience includes work with CalWORKs families and managing federally funded treatment drug court grants that provide aid and services to needy families, military veterans, at-risk youth and those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.

SMJUHSD Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson is certain Lopez will be a dedicated community leader.

“Amy has demonstrated a willingness to serve through her involvement with a number of community groups and her willingness to run for a city council seat,’’ Dr. Richardson said. “I am excited to have Amy as a member of our Governance Team.”

Board Member Diana Perez and Board President Dr. Jack Garvin believe Lopez will add another “dimension to student, parent, community and district success.”

“She will be a great asset for us,’’ Perez added.

Lopez holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from California State University, Fresno and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne. She is married with two children.

She will face re-election in November 2016.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.