Karen Schwarz has dedicated much of her life to education in San Mateo County. She began her work in education when she became involved with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in South San Francisco. She served as President of the PTA at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels, as well as serving on the Citywide PTA Council. Later, she was elected to the San Mateo County School Board on her first try.
She served for eight years, including two as President, and was instrumental in forging a collaborative relationship with the County Superintendent of Schools. This led to many positive results including the acquisition of the County of Education in Redwood Shores. She played an integral role in the development of new preschool and early childhood education programs in San Mateo County, making it a statewide model for high quality pre-kindergarten care. In 1930, she supported the development of the Gene Connection/ Chem Connection (G=C/C:C), a biotechnology education partnership that provides logistics, materials, and support for an innovative biotechnology lab program for high school students, that has since been implemented at all of the county’s public high schools, and several private and charter schools.
Karen was elected to the San Mateo Community College District Board, which serves Canada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College and has served on this board for 14 years, including four terms as President. She is a fierce advocate for efforts to assist College District employees with extremely high housing costs and has been instrumental in the recent technological transformations and facility renovations the District has undertaken. Karen’s devotion to improving public education has significantly impacted both children and adults throughout San Mateo County for over 30 years.