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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

Sonoma County Board of EducationCandidate for Member, Trustee Area 1

Photo of Gina Cuclis

Gina Cuclis

President, Sonoma County Board of Education
26,171 votes (62.6%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Continue to improve the services SCOE provides school districts so that all Sonoma County students have what they need to graduate college and career ready.
  • Implement the Sonoma County Office of Education's accountability plan to ensure we're meeting our goals for student success.
  • Maintain balanced budgets while reducing unfunded pension liability to ensure taxpayers' money is well spent.



Profession:Sonoma County Board of Education President and public relations professional.
Area One Trustee, Sonoma County Board of Education — Elected position (2012–current)
Chair, Sonoma County Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health Advisory Board — Appointed position (2010–current)
Business Owner/Consultant, Cuclis PR (1998–2014)
Strategic Planning Committee Member, Sonoma Valley Health Care District — Appointed position (2006–2009)
Commissioner, City of Sonoma Planning Commission — Appointed position (1997–2006)


University of California, Santa Barbara Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies (1980)

Community Activities

Board Member, Sonoma League for Historic Preservation (2013–current)
Committee Member, General Vallejo Monument Committee (2015–current)
Volunteer Reading Tutor, El Verano Elementary School (2013–2015)
Committee Member, Sonoma Valley High Grad Night (2010–2011)
President, Verano Springs Association (1992–1997)


In 2012 Gina was elected with 61.4% of the vote over the incumbent as Sonoma County Board of Education Area One Trustee representing Sonoma Valley, where she has lived for 30 years, and east Santa Rosa. Gina's colleagues unanimously chose her to serve as Board President this year.

Gina is also Chair of the Sonoma County Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Advisory Board and serves on the board of the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation. She’s also on the General Vallejo Monument Committee, a position she took to help educate Sonoma’s children about their town’s history. For nine years she served as a City of Sonoma Planning Commissioner. She also has volunteered multiple years as a reading tutor at El Verano Elementary School.

Gina’s 23-year-old twin daughters went through Sonoma Valley public schools graduating from Sonoma Valley High in 2011. During her daughters’ school years not only did Gina do the usual parent volunteer activities — field trip driving, classroom helper, grad night organizing, fundraising support — she helped campaign for several school bond measures, the first before her daughters were born.

Gina learned early in life her commitment to hard work and community service from her first generation Greek-American parents. Her father founded a small manufacturing company and put Gina to work during summer vacations when she was just 13-years-old. Her mother became a leader in the local League of Women's Voters.

While a student at U.C. Santa Barbara, Gina got involved with the effort to save the Stanislaus River from a dam. Upon graduation, she took a job with Friends of the River. Though the dam was filled, the experience was not a loss. Not only did the work teach her to fight for what she believes in, Gina met and married Roy Tennant, a Stanislaus river guide.

In 1992 Gina co-founded the first community advocacy group in the Springs long history -- the Verano-Springs Association. For years as President of the VSA, Gina worked closely with county and state officials to finally secure funding and construction of the sidewalks along Highway 12 that now protect our pedestrians and provide safer travel for children walking to nearby schools.

During much of the last decade Gina worked to save Sonoma Valley Hospital. Three ballot measures later, our hospital expanded on-site instead of closing. Gina also successfully fought repeated attempts to close our SV Hospital Birthing Center. Because of her leadership, Gina was recruited by the SV Hospital board to serve on its strategic planning committee from 2006-2009.

Through her longtime efforts Gina has built strong relationships with key leaders from throughout the county and Sonoma Valley and from different business, governmental and geographic sectors of the North Bay. Gina leverages her relationships to bring diverse people together to work towards common goals with uncommon trust and effectiveness. She believes that any community issue can best be resolved through productive dialog, public transparency, and genuine consensus building.

Professionally, Gina owned and operated an award-winning public relations and corporate communications firm that represented North Bay clients in business, education, the environment, health care, non-profits and the arts. Gina has also held staff communications positions at United Way and the Council on Aging. She is a former television and radio journalist, and since 2013 has been writing a monthly column for the Sonoma Valley Sun newspaper.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Sonoma City Councilwoman Madolyn Agrimonti
  • Assemblyman Bill Dodd
  • Santa Rosa Mayor John Sawyer

Organizations (1)

  • Evolve

Elected Officials (5)

  • Former District Attorney Mike Mullins
  • Former Sonoma County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector David Sundstrom
  • Former Sonoma Mayor Nancy Parmelee
  • Former Sonoma Mayor Ken McTaggart
  • Former Sonoma Mayor Phyllis Carter

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Gina Cuclis:

I am a very big supporter of the new Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control and Accountability Plan. Monitoring and measuring whether SCOE is meeting the goals of our LCAP is one of my top priorities for my second term. I recently initiated and lead a board discussion about the need to do this. The board is now considering what our process throughout the school year should be. We take stakeholder and parent input for creating our LCAP very serioiusly. We hold meetings consisting of roundtable discussions, provide personal invitations to parents to attend meetings, we also survey parents and our administrators speak with parents and guardians one on one. We also provide for student input. We publish our LCAP on SCOE's website.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Cuclis has always been a registered Democrat, but she believes partisian politics and ideology don't belong on local Boards of Education. Every student, no matter what political party with which his or her parents are registered, deserves a high quality education to graduate college and career ready.

Videos (1)

From the producer as stated on YouTube: "Evan Johnson in conversation with Gina Cuclis the current President of the Sonoma County Board of Education. A deep believer in the value of education and its contribution to the human spirit and the culture of our society."

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