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2020 Recipient

Zachary Patterson

San Diego, CA | 16

2020 Award Recipient

As a student in the San Diego School District, Zachary Patterson witnessed a disconnect between students, teachers, and the administration. Zachary at times felt powerless to voice his opinions, as decisions were made that did not represent the desires or needs of students. Noticing a lack of student-representation in a system where students are the primary stakeholders, he sought to rectify this issue by creating a Student Advisory Board, which would connect students directly to district decisions, and placing a student on the school district’s Board of Education. After engaging with thousands of students, Zachary was elected as the first student to ever serve on the San Diego Board of Education. In his role, Zachary leads the Student Advisory Board, which seeks to represent the needs of over 100,000 students of various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Zachary is a founder of the California Student Board Member Association which works to expand the same ideals of student-representation in San Diego Unified to districts across California. Zachary hopes that his work on the district, statewide, and national levels will lead to transforming the role of students in their education system.

(original photo by Bauman Photographers)

Student Advisory Board

Zachary established a Student Board Member within his school district, and founded a Student Advisory Board, to provide students representation in their school system and advocate for youth-centered policy at the state and federal levels.