|Name||Mark A. Takano|
Riverside, California , United States
|| December 10, 1960
Oct 24, 2013 11:07pm
Japanese - Gay -
|Info||Born and raised in Riverside, Mark received his primary and secondary education in the Alvord Unified School District. He graduated from La Sierra High School in 1979 as the school's valedictorian. He wrestled and played football at the junior varsity level, but increasingly his passion for public service and learning about politics and government took up more of his time. In 1977, he was named by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Wilson Riles to a statewide advisory committee on school finance equalization. He would represent students along side representatives of other stakeholders in California's public school system in recommending ways for the state to comply with landmark Serrano v. Priest decision by the California Supreme Court. He would distinguish himself as a student leader, being elected as the second ranking officer in the Junior Statesmen of America, a statewide political education organization for high school students. |
Mark moved on to Harvard College where he received his bachelor's degree in Government in 1983. During his senior year, he organized and co-founded Ride for Life, an transcontinental bicycle ride to benefit the international development agency Oxfam America. Mark and thirty-eight other (mostly) Harvard students rode bicycles from Seattle, Washington to Boston, Massachusetts to raise money through pledges for Oxfam America and to raise awareness by attracting media attention to issue of global hunger. This project attracted the support of major U.S. Corporations such as Ford Motor Company who supplied a support van.
Not quite ready to begin his original intention to attend law school, Mark worked for a while in the Boston area in various public school systems as a substitute teacher. He observed first-hand the disparity between well-funded and acclaimed suburban schools in Brookline and the beleaguered inner-city Boston schools. Mark was troubled by the national statistics that showed persistent gaps in academic achievement among certain ethnic and racial groups. He was curious about what could be done to narrow those gaps. He decided he would devote five years of his life to being a teacher as a prelude to a career in public policy instead of going to law school.
He returned to California where he attended the University of California at Riverside School of Education intern program to obtain his secondary teaching credential in Language Arts and Social Studies. He interned at Arizona Middle School in the Alvord Unified School District. He began teaching in the Rialto Unified School District in 1988 in schools that serve predominantly Latino and African American students. He has remained in teacher since that time, learning that the challenges in education are far more complex than he originally thought. His "front line" experience as a high school teacher provide him with valuable perspective as a policy maker at RCC.
In 1990, Mark was elected to the Riverside Community College Board of Trustees, finishing first among eleven candidates vying for two seats. Amid campus dissension over the policies of former District's Superintendent/President, Mark led the national search for the District's current CEO, Dr. Salvatore Rotella. Contending with a deeply divided Board, Mark, as Board President in 1991, brokered a unanimous approval of Dr. Rotella's first contract. Over the next few years, the Board and the District would gain stability and direction even amid serious fiscal challenges. Mark has supported a number of efforts and innovations that Dr. Rotella has introduced at RCC.
Mark was the Democratic Party nominee for the Congress in 1992 and 1994, nearly being elected but for four-hundred-and-fifty votes during his first run. As the chair of RCC's legislative committee, Mark has worked in a bi-partisan way to secure maximum support from Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Mark's elected trustee colleagues throughout the state of California elected him to the Board of Directors of the California Community College Trustees in 1996, a post he continues to hold. His relationships with trustees and legislators throughout the state make him an effective legislative advocate for RCC.
As Marks seeks his fourth term to the RCC Board of Trustees, he enjoys wide support among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters. He truly governs RCC in a non-partisan style, looking to do what is right by students, faculty and the community.
His sound and experienced leadership is exactly what RCC needs right now, as important projects such at the Riverside School for the Arts breaks ground and as the Norco and Moreno Valley campuses become independent colleges. His institutional knowledge, his relationships with trustee leaders from around the state, and his knowledge of government will help ensure that RCC becomes an even greater institution.