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School Board Names Karissa Adams President

By Sam Moskow
The Review

The South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education recognized outgoing President Patricia Martinez-Miller for her service and unanimously appointed Karissa Adams as its new president during the Dec. 12 meeting.
“This has been an absolutely wonderful year because the SPUSD Board engages in meaningful dialogue and places an emphasis on consensus building,” said Martinez-Miller. “This Board is extremely effective because the staff at the cabinet level works incredibly hard to ensure that the Board is knowledgeable about the subject matter, and the South Pasadena community offers extraordinary support.”
For the past two years, Adams has served as the Board’s clerk, representing the area that includes Marengo Elementary School.
Her community involvement began in 2007 when she moved to South Pasadena from Boston, having graduated from Boston University and worked in a Harvard Medical lab. Since then, she’s served as president of both the Arroyo Vista Elementary School PTA and most recently the South Pasadena Council PTA. She is also a member of both the South Pasadena Middle School and High School Booster Clubs, volunteers as the softball commissioner for the South Pasadena Little League and serves as a troop leader for the Girl Scouts.
“Thank you all for putting your vote of confidence in me. I’ll do the best I can,” Adams said following the vote.
Her first task as president was to appoint a new clerk and secretary to the Board of Education. The Board unanimously approved Board member Karen Tamis and Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz to these positions, respectively.
Martinez-Miller, meanwhile, served the Board twice: initially from 1989 for 12 years and most recently as president from 2020. She will not seek reelection in 2024.
Adams referred to Martinez-Miller as a “mentor,” nodding to her extensive career in education. Martinez-Miller served as the director of faculty for the UCLA School Management Program since 1993, supporting schools and districts in California and other states. Additionally, she is engaged in several local and national boards, including Let’s Talk Learning Diversity, which is headquartered in South Pasadena but serves students and families globally.
“I’m part of many, many organizations. This one is my favorite,” Martinez-Miller said. “I hold it up as an example all the time.”
The Board honored Martinez-Miller with a plaque and gavel.
“South Pasadena is my happy place, but that really is because we have wonderful people like you in the community to help make and keep that and strive for it to continue to be a happy place,” Adams said as she presented the honor. “Thank you again, Dr. Martinez Miller, for a wonderful job.”

First published in the December 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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