Evelyn P. Dominguez made history as the first Latina to be sworn in as a Rialto Unified School District Board of Education member when she took the oath of office at the December 14 School Board Meeting.
Dominguez was sworn in alongside Edgar Montes, who begins his fourth term on the Board of Education. In the first election under the Trustee Area system, both Dominguez and Montes ran for their seats unopposed. Dominguez represents Area 5, which includes the southern part of the City of Rialto which also encompasses the school boundaries in Colton and San Bernardino while Montes represents Area 3, which includes the central-eastern part of the City of Rialto.
Dominguez smiled proudly as she took the oath of office, officiated by California Assemblymember James C. Ramos. She brings experience as a parent leader from RUSD’s Boyd Elementary School and a wealth of compassion from her career as a nurse with her as she takes a seat on the Board of Education. She said she became a nurse to help others and sees a similar role for herself on the Board, stating that she intends to lead “with a servant’s heart and a lion’s strength.”
“I have always wanted to bring awareness to those who are scared to speak up and help those who need help. This is why I decided to be a nurse and why I ran for a seat on the school board,” Dominguez stated. “I love to see when our community uplifts each other instead of breaking each other down. As a board member, I want to assist and encourage those who need that extra push. I want students to have a strong voice and ensure that teachers and staff have the resources that they need to be successful.”
Dominguez was born in Guatemala and came to California at 5 years old. She has lived in the Inland Empire for almost thirty years and graduated from Kaiser High School in Fontana in 2003. Dominguez earned her License Vocation Nurse certification from Chaffey College in 2014.
She has called the City of Rialto home for nine years. She has been married to Martin Dominguez for eight years and the couple has three children: Logan, 7, Bruce, 6, and Remy, 3.
Dominguez said she wants to be a voice for parents across the community.
“I decided to run because I saw a need from the community,” Dominguez stated. “I saw that there are many parents who wanted to do more for their kids and give them the best that they can. Yet they have a hard time doing so because they don’t speak the language, they are afraid to speak up due to immigration status or socioeconomics, or the fact that the American school system is something very different from what they experienced with the schooling system in their home country. I want to give them the courage and be their voice so they can be involved in their child’s educational journey. It takes a village to raise a child and I want them to know that they are not alone on this journey.”
She joins Montes, who first started his tenure on the Board of Education in 2010. Montes is an Inland Empire small business leader, a philanthropist, and a standout graduate of the Fontana Unified School District. He is the Director of Operations at Pallett Manufacturing Company and serves on various nonprofit boards. Montes moved his family to the City of Rialto to begin a life of education service. While Montes, a father of three children, had been actively advocating for parents/guardians and students for over a decade before his election on the Board of Education seat, he was championed by the community for his efforts in rallying support, especially for parents of children with special needs and valuing diversity in the community he serves.
“I would like to thank the parents, students, teachers, and support staff of the Rialto Unified School District for all of their hard work and dedication to our schools and our communities,” Montes stated. “I look forward to working with all stakeholders to focus on educational programs, and services that are effective and efficient. It’s an honor for me that the community has entrusted me to serve for another four-year term, thank you and I will continue to do my best.”
Montes resides in the City of Rialto with his wife, Lina Montes. The couple has three sons; twins Abel and Angel graduated as stand-out scholars at Eisenhower High School and Quetzal is a student in the RUSD.
Assemblymember Ramos addressed the sizeable crowd at the meeting, which was held at the Cesar Chavez/Dolores Huerta Center for Education’s Bistro Cafe to accommodate the swearing-in ceremonies, after reading the oath of office to both board members and congratulated them for their service to the community.
“It’s my honor to be able to swear in the two members here tonight,” Ramos said. “It shows the importance of education for all of our community. (This Board) shows the strong diversity that represents Rialto and the Rialto Unified School District.”
The Board of Education also reorganized during the meeting, an annual tradition as members rotate positions. Stephanie E. Lewis moved up to the role of President while Nancy G. O’Kelley assumed the role of Vice President and Joseph W. Martinez took the Clerk position.