Growing up a time when most girls weren’t sent to college, Delanie Eastin feels fortunate that her parents placed such a high value on her education. They encouraged her to pursue her dreams, and she ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Davis, in 1969 and a Master of Arts in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1971, as well as a California Lifetime Community College Credential. The degrees propelled her to positions like instructor at California Community Colleges, accounting manager of Pacific Bell, city council member of Union City, California, corporate planner of the Pacific Telesis Group, assemblywoman of the California State Legislature, and superintendent of public instruction at the California Education Department. She then became the executive director of the National Institute for School Leadership and a distinguished professor of educational leadership at Mills College. She retired in 2009.
One of the highlights of Ms. Eastin’s career was orchestrating a class size reduction in her school district for kindergarten through 3rd grade. When she was elected superintendent of public instruction, they had the largest class size in the U.S., which didn’t seem right to her. She drafted a $2.3B proposal to reduce class size in kindergarten through third grade, and sued Pete Wilson for illegally withholding money from the schools. He eventually agreed to the reduction, and with the help of her wonderful and committed staff, they made it happen. Another highlight was writing the biggest landfill clean-up bill in California’s history.
As a testament to her hard work and dedication, Ms. Eastin received accolades like the UC Davis Medal in 2015, the June Taylor Award for her efforts to put gardens in schools from the American Horticultural Society in 2003, the President’s Crystal Apple Award from the American Library Association, and the Educational Excellence Award from the California Association for Counseling and Development. Other notable honors include being named the Legislator of the Year by the California Media Library Educators, Outstanding Public Official from the California Teachers Association, and Outstanding Business Woman from the American Business Women’s Association, among many others. She is also particularly proud to have an elementary school in Union City after her, as well as an early childhood developmental center in Fremont and a High School Art Gallery in Healdsburg.
When Ms. Eastin has free time, she enjoys photography, hiking, reading, theater, travel, and community engagement. She had previously held roles like board of directors of the Pence Gallery, commissioner for the Commission on the Status of Women, chair of the Alameda County Library Commission, and president of the Alameda County Solid Waste Management Authority.