Introducing Our Board
The Board of Education is the governing body for the San Juan Unified School District. Terms are staggered so that three or four seats are up for election every two even-numbered years. In November 2022, San Juan Unified moved to by-trustee area elections and increased the size of the board to seven board members. Board members earn compensation of $787.50 each month and may subscribe to the district's health insurance plans. The superintendent of the school district serves as the chief executive officer, manages district staff and ensures that board policies are carried out. Members of the public can reach ALL board members directly by e-mailing email@example.com.
Zima Creason - President (Area 3)
Term Ends 2026
Zima Creason is a parent, advocate, and businesswoman. She serves as the Executive Director of the California EDGE Coalition and she was elected as a San Juan Unified School District Governing Board Member in 2018. At EDGE, she works to address the skilled workforce shortage, create pathways to the middle class, and to advance economic mobility for all Californians. She is committed to stakeholder empowerment and coalition building to establish and sustain thriving communities. Zima has worked in the policy field since 2001 and much of her work has focused on equity as it relates to mental health policy as well as stakeholder outreach and engagement. She is dedicated to supporting students to have the tools and skills they need to access and secure good jobs in adulthood with family supporting wages and benefits. She is also passionate about supporting people to avoid crisis outcomes, mental health, social justice, and for all Americans to have access and opportunity to achieve the American Dream regardless of their zip code, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health/mental health status, gender identification and/or who they love.
Pam Costa - Vice President (at-large)
Term Ends 2024
Pam Costa was elected to the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education in 2012. Pam graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science Degree and a California teaching credential. She earned a Master's in Educational Leadership and an Administrative Services Credential from California State University, Sacramento. Pam served as a teacher, principal and director of numerous schools and programs in San Juan Unified, including 21 elementary schools, the BSTA/PAR program and the Early Childhood Education programs. Pam has also seen San Juan schools from a parent’s perspective. Her son, Josh, attended San Juan schools from kindergarten through high school and, upon graduating from college, worked for the district first as a teacher and later as an administrator. Pam's granddaughter is a kindergarten student in San Juan. Pam's grandson keeps Pam busy while waiting for big sister to get home from school. Since being elected to the Board, Pam has completed the California School Board Association’s (CSBA) Masters in Governance Program, was a member of the 2014 CSBA Conference Committee, and was a Golden Bell validator.
Saul Hernandez - Clerk (at-large)
Term Ends 2024
Saul Hernandez was elected to the Board in 2012. Saul graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in International Relations. Saul and his wife, Gina, have four children. All of them attended Thomas Kelly Elementary, Barrett Middle School and Del Campo High School. Within San Juan Unified, Saul has served on the Citizens Bond Oversight, the Facilities, Transportation and Finance and the 3280 committees. Saul has owned and operated a small business in the Carmichael and Fair Oaks area since 1991.
Ben Avey - Member (Area 6)
Term Ends 2026
Ben Avey is a parent of school-age children and nonprofit leader that has dedicated his career to improving local neighborhoods through public policy, advocacy, and community engagement. A graduate of Del Campo High School and San Diego State University, Ben has served in the State Capitol, as civilian public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy in Japan, and with state and local non-profits. He is currently the chief public affairs officer at WellSpace Health, a non-profit community health system serving the underserved. A lifelong community volunteer, Ben is president of the San Juan Parents Association (an independent community group) and past president of his kids’ school site council. Ben has been awarded the U.S. Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, recognized as 40 Under 40 by SD Metro Magazine, and in recognition of his service to teens and adults with disabilities, honored with a community service award. Ben lives in Fair Oaks with his wife and kids.
Paula Villescaz - Member (at-large)
Term Ends 2024
Paula Villescaz is an advocate, public servant, and San Juan Unified graduate. She was elected to the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education in 2016. In addition to serving on the Board of Education, she is the associate director of membership engagement for the County Welfare Directors Association of California, a nonprofit association with a mission to promote a human services system that encourages self-sufficiency of families and communities and protects vulnerable children and adults from abuse and neglect. Paula is a proud product of public schools and graduated from Mira Loma's International Baccalaureate Program and earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Paula previously served as the assistant secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency in the administration of Governor Gavin Newsom, where she coordinated the human services related budget and policy work of the agency, the California Department of Social Services, and the Child Welfare Council. Paula was also a principal consultant to the California Legislature where she advised on policy issues related to children's health, mental health, behavioral health, and substance-use disorders and treatment programs. During the summers, Paula volunteers as a coach for the South Sacramento Junior Giants Baseball Program, and a youth counselor at Camp Okizu, which provides peer support and recreational programs to meet the needs of children and families affected by childhood cancer. Paula is a proud new mom and lives with her family in Arden-Arcade.
Tanya Kravchuk - Member (Area 5)
Term Ends 2026
Tanya Kravchuk is a mom of four kids and a joint owner of a residential construction company. Born in Ukraine, Tanya moved to the US when she was five years old. She is an alumna of San Juan Unified and holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from California State University, Sacramento. As an immigrant, she understands the hardships and nuances of navigating the school system from an “outsider” perspective. Tanya has devoted most of her career to serving children in both a volunteer and professional capacity at various nonprofits including the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento where she later worked for nearly a decade. She served as vice president of her school site council, taught Sunday school for more than 20 years and has been a board member and committee chair for various community groups and events including the Rotary Club of Sacramento, Planned Giving Forum of Sacramento and the extremely successful Night of Hope benefit concert. Tanya also worked with schools and local governments during the 2020 Census to secure support for an accurate count. Early in her career, she worked in marketing at Farmers Insurance and in public affairs at Intel Corporation. She then transitioned to nonprofit work as the resource development manager at PEACE for Families and later the director of development & communication at the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento focusing on our communities most vulnerable – abused and neglected children.
Vacant - Member (Area 7)
Term Ends 2026
Pending special election in Nov. 2023