Karina Cervantes’ career spans nearly two decades in public service with leadership positions in education, city council and the regional water board.  

Karina was the Chief Education Officer at an education consulting firm in Southern California. In her role, she established partnerships with local schools to develop online academies that adhere to school accreditation standards and course articulation. Before moving to Southern California, Karina taught at Cabrillo College and California State University, Monterey Bay, in the departments of psychology, social and behavioral studies, and Latin American and Latino/a studies.

Prior to her education posts, Karina served as mayor and a councilmember for the City of Watsonville. As California grappled with another historic drought, Karina became increasingly involved in working with similarly impacted communities to address statewide and regional water issues. She testified before the state legislature on the funding gaps and lack of resources available to disadvantaged communities to maintain compliance with a new maximum contaminant level (MCL) for chromium-6 in drinking water.

In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Karina to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. During her tenure, she was instrumental in drafting the Ag Order that outlined the monitoring and reporting requirements of irrigated agricultural operations, hearing municipal discharge permit violations, and prioritizing the human right to water. 

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