UNION CITY, Calif. — Residents of Decoto and a portion of South Hayward have a new representative on the New Haven Unified School District’s Board of Education.
The board officially swore in Vanessa Hernandez, a lifelong Decoto resident and New Haven mother, at a ceremony attended by her family and friends on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Hernandez was appointed to represent Area 2 through the November 2024 general election at a special meeting last week.
Hernandez, who graduated from James Logan High School in 2011, told the East Bay Echo that she was honored and humbled to be appointed to serve her community and was ready to hit the ground running.
Hernandez is replacing outgoing Boardmember Mel Shuen-Mallory, who stepped down at the end of October because they moved to Fremont and are no longer in the district’s boundaries. The board recognized Shuen-Mallory for their service, which included serving as president of the board and advocating for policies aimed at making the district more inclusive for all students. Shuen-Mallory said they were confident that the Area 2 seat was being left in good hands.
“She and I share a lot of the same values as far as advocating for marginalized communities and being student-centered,” Shuen-Mallory said.
Hernandez’s family and friends said they were proud to see her appointed to the role. Hernandez’s husband, Jean Carlo, said it was inspiring to see someone who grew up on the more disadvantaged side of town take a leadership role to serve their community.
“Just knowing that she’s in a place where she can help others who are going through the same thing,” he said, “it’s inspiring.”
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 510-952-7455.
Photo caption: New Haven Unified School District Superintendent John Thompson swears in Decoto resident Vanessa Hernandez at a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Hernandez was appointed to the district’s Board of Education last week. (Sonia Waraich – East Bay Echo)