My name is Lavender Lee Whitaker and I have lived in this wonderful community we all call home for nine years with my daughter Kylie. We moved to Castro Valley to make a home with my late husband Nicholas “Dubb” Whitaker.
I was born in an intentional community near Santa Barbara with my parents, sister, and brother. There, we grew our own food and made our clothes. This is where I developed a passion for the conservation of our environment and the beauty of our collective shared value. Even though my family relocated when I was five, my parents continued to ingrain the importance of thinking about the effects of your actions on others.
When I started going to public school, I was shocked by the prejudice I saw other children displaying toward one another. I was always the kid that felt bad for the children who were left out. So I would find out more about them, and find connections of understanding between them and the other students. It was fun to make people smile and help them feel connected. I've always enjoyed being a bridge to help others build connections.
My passion for helping others continued in high school. I volunteered hundreds of hours as a mediator at town hall meetings for a non-profit that helped bring the issues children faced to the attention of local leaders.
These observatory skills have helped me throughout my life to mediate conflict, help others, anticipate others' needs, and provide people with resources. I have learned to help groups work towards a common ground with a smile, build relationships with each other, laugh, and get work done efficiently and quickly with purpose.
In 2010, I obtained my Bachelor's degree from UC Davis in Environmental Policy with an emphasis in energy policy and a few years later received my Masters of Business Administration focusing on organizational development. I have over 16 years of experience in the utility and environmental sectors, with seven years at the U.S. Department of Energy, eight years at PG&E, and a little over one year at Genentech.
On November 8, 2016 I was elected to the Castro Valley School Board. Since being elected, I have helped establish more inclusive board policies that better address the needs of our diverse student body. I led the charge to ensure that our district is leveraging corporate and philanthropic funding which would otherwise go untapped. In December of 2019, I was appointed President of the Board by my fellow trustees.
My daughter Kylie attended Palomares Elementary, Canyon Middle and Castro Valley High Schools, where she was active in several extracurricular activities. In elementary school, she swam in the Columbia Crocodiles and played soccer for the Castro Valley Soccer Club. Additionally, she played softball in the Castro Valley Girls Softball league. Today, she is a sophomore at Berkeley City College at the ripe old age of 17. She is one my proudest accomplishments and I absolutely love being her mom!
My late husband, Nick "Dubb" Whitaker, was Castro Valley High School’s Student Activities Director. He believed strongly in our teachers and in our students, and like many teachers he put in countless hours to ensure his students received the best education possible. As his partner, I developed a unique and firsthand perspective about problems facing the district's students, teachers, and administrators. Shortly before his death he was pursuing an Administration Credential as a way to better serve the needs of teachers and students within Castro Valley.
Like Nick did throughout his life, I continuously strive to teach others and myself to learn and be better through empathy and understanding. Nick left a bold legacy within CVUSD. I am proud of his legacy and the opportunity to build upon it through my role on the Castro Valley School Board.
As was Nick, I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful community. If re-elected I will continue to utilize the academic, professional, and personal skills that I have learned. I want to ensure that all students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders have a seat at the table and that the lines of communication remain open and transparent. I would be honored to have your support on Election Day.