The Long Beach Board of Education has elected its first Latino president. She is Jenny Oropeza, 31, a professional political aide who just completed her freshman year on the board. The action was taken as Harriet Williams, a board member since 1979, concluded her one-year term as president. Karin Polacheck, another freshman member, was elected board vice president.
Williams was the only member of the previous board to survive last year's switch from citywide elections to elections by geographical district. Oropeza, who represents the area including downtown Long Beach, the central area, Signal Hill and part of the east side, was swept into office along with other first-timers Polacheck, Jerry Shultz and Bobbie Smith.
Oropeza had served as board vice president under Williams.
The board asked its staff to prepare a recommendation for consideration later this summer that would establish a line of succession by which future board vice presidents would automatically ascend to the presidency.