On Jan. 23, the San Bernardino County Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint Hardy Brown II to fill the vacancy in Trustee Area D following the interviewing of four applicants at its special meeting. Brown will represent Trustee Area D which in includes San Bernardino City Unified, Rialto and Snowline Joint Unified school districts.
The the Board's interviewing and appointing of a Trustee was an emergency procedure used due to fill the vacancy which resulted from the court appointed removal of Gil Navarro for conflict of interest as Navarro was elected for another position. Brown will complete Navarro's term which ends at the next election, November 2014.
The Board interviewed four applicants for the position; a fifth was scheduled but did not appear. Following the interviews, where each applicant was asked the same set of questions, the Board discussed and narrowed down the choices to two applicants, Scott Johnson and Brown.
Brown, 42, was born and raised in San Bernardino and is extensively involved within the community with a particular interest and passion for education. He attended San Bernardino schools through his high school graduation from San Bernardino High School. After graduation he extended his education in Ohio at Wilberforce University where he later taught career development and directed Wilberforce's Cooperative Education and Professional Services Program.
Locally, Brown has years of experiences in developing and leading nonprofit organizations including United Way of Orange County and the United Negro College Fund. He is the executive director of San Bernardino's Black Voice Foundation, Inc. and board member for the San Gorgonio Council Girl Scouts. Brown also spent four years on the Strategic Planning Committee. Brown said he has gathered his career around his passion for education.
"My passion for education came from the fact that I was not the student I wanted to be in high school but became that student in college," Brown said. "When I came back to the area I became that person who could talk to students in a real voice and say, 'You can do this.'"
Following discussion and initial votes the four current members of the board were split between Johnson and Brown. Board member Bette Harrison quipped, "We need to expand the Board." After further discussion the Board voted unanimously to appoint Brown.
"He has a vision, he has knowledge, he has the area of expertise and most importantly he has the motivation factor that impresses me," Board President Laura Abernathy Mancha said.
"I think motivation is one of the most important things in transforming lives and education. That's what it's about. Motivating our communities so they feel they can do better. That is what is going to help achieve the goals we want to achieve," Brown said during the interview.
Following the boards discussion and decision Brown was called and he returned to be sworn in by Mancha making him the first African-American to serve in the County Board. Brown will attend his first Board meeting on Feb. 3.