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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Poway Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee

Photo of Debra Cooper

Debra Cooper

School Foundation Volunteer
21,436 votes (16.68%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Hiring a future-focused Superintendent and forging a strong governance team comprised of the Superintendent and the Board.
  • Insuring the proposed business audit is completed, and that the results are used to declare specific actions to close identified business practice gaps.
  • Preserving what is best for student learning while fixing the structural deficit in PUSD’s budget.



Profession:Professional Volunteer and Freelance Research Analyst
Freelance Research Analyst, Competitive Edge Research & Communication (2013–current)
Founding President and Director, The D39C Collaborative (2014–current)


University of California at Irvine Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Major: Social Science / Minor: Political Science (1987)



Versatile and capable with a reputation for diplomacy, vision, dedication, and excellence. Strong communication and management skills. More than 25 years of experience comprised of paid and volunteer roles in fundraising, community affairs, marketing communications, market research, and political campaigns.


Select Accomplishments

Co-founded two parent-driven organizations to support Poway Unified Schools: Willow Grove Educational Foundation and The D39C Collaborative. Co-authored corporate by-laws and completed rigorous 501(c)3 applications. Led strategic planning to develop sound organizational Mission and Vision statements, fundraising plans, and budgets. Led volunteer boards of directors to adopt sound management policies and procedures. Funds bridged gaps in insufficient state support to provide schools with additional teachers, materials, supplies, and equipment and helped build the culture of the learning communities.

Directed marketing and public affairs activities for the premier regional economic development organization in San Diego. Staged publicity events promoting the region’s key business attributes, wrote speeches and op-eds, prepared business leaders for editorial boards, met with key reporters and editors, served as media contact and spokesperson for business climate stories. Provided staff support to committees comprised of key business leaders to address issues critical to the region’s continued competitiveness. Led annual internal strategic planning process.

Conducted research studies to inform clients’ interests in the areas of product performance and development, advertising effectiveness, message development, and public, community, and media relations. Managed contractors, designed questionnaires, analyzed quantitative data, moderated focus groups, and interpreted qualitative data.

Developed and oversaw implementation of four-day program sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee and hosted by President-elect George H.W. Bush. Managed seven person event execution team and volunteers. Developed theme and managed $300,000 program budget. Prepared briefing material for President-elect Bush and Inaugural Committee senior staff.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • The Coalition for Effective School Board Leadership
  • Poway Federation of Teachers
  • Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Organizations (1)

  • CCSA Advocates

Elected Officials (2)

  • T.J. Zane, PUSD Board of Trustees
  • San Diego City Councilmember Mark Kersey

Individuals (1)

  • Julie Harris Neiger, PUSD 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I believe in elevating public education, and I believe in Poway Unified schools. Every student deserves the opportunity to achieve their personal best. That requires a school board focused—first and foremost—on student learning and the district’s diverse needs. I’m passionate about upholding public trust and the district’s reputation, never losing sight of the children and families counting on us. If elected, I will conduct the district’s business with integrity, with transparency, and with every student in mind.

Videos (1)

— October 21, 2016 The American Dream with Host Craig Sewing

Craig Sewing delves into issues facing the Poway Unified School District including budget contstraints and leadership challenges.

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