Former school board member Julia Brownley was commended at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board meeting Thursday, December 14th.

Brownley did not run for re-election to the school board in the November election, but instead ran for — and was elected — 41st District assemblymember, ending her 12-year tenure as board member.

In her honor, there will be a “Julia Brownley Collection” of several books — including You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere, Can Make a Positive Difference, by Mark Sanborn — that will be provided to Santa Monica, Olympic and Malibu high schools. Next to the Julia Brownley Collection will be her nameplate.

“Your name lives on with us and your contribution lives on with us,” said superintendent Dianne Talarico. “The children get to enjoy it [the collection of books] for years.”

“Thank you very much,” said Brownley.

This tradition was started by Talarico with the exit of board member Shane McLoud several weeks ago, as a way to honor school board members after their departure.

Brownley was also given a plaque with her name and years of service on it, and a framed poster of Santa Monica High School — the high school her children attended.

“I just want to thank you and congratulate you,” said board vice president Oscar de la Torre. “I think you’re a great example of the best and the brightest. I know you’re going to carry that wisdom and tenacity to the State Assembly.

“You have made me feel really comfortable. I am privileged to have worked with you.”

The board thanked Brownley for being an “incredible mentor,” and for the support she has given to education.

“As a board, we will miss you terribly,” said board member Jose Escarce. “There are huge shoes to fill and you will undoubtedly be missed. Hopefully you will be a really strong voice for education [in the Assembly].”

Escarce said that, during his years on the board, departure was “the most impactful.”

Brownley was presented commendations from the office of Los Angeles County Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, from the office of State Senator Sheila Kuehl, representing the 23rd District, and from the City of Malibu for “long being a staunch advocate for schools.”

“I do want to thank you all for this evening,” said Brownley. “It has been an emotional experience for me. It’s just really an honor to have served with each and every one of you. My context will always be here.”

She also welcomed Barry Snell and Kelly McMahon Pye as new school board members.

The December 14th meeting was the first for both Snell and Pye — who were elected to the board in November.

“I know this district is going to be in really good hands,” said Brownley.

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