President Lynnette Zelezny announced Tuesday that two Kern County leaders have join the president’s African-American Advisory Council to offer guidance as Cal State Bakersfield pursues its mission to make higher education accessible, equitable and welcoming for all students. 

CSUB alumnus Traco Matthews, human resources director for staff development at Kern County Superintendent of Schools, and Katie Russell, recently appointed as the first African-American woman to lead the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, have joined the council, effective immediately. 

“Traco is at the forefront of the conversation about racial justice and equality in our community,” Zelezny said. “And Katie is new to our community, bringing fresh perspectives and experiences to Kern County. Both will bring energy and passion to the Council.” 

Matthews has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Davis and an MBA from CSUB.

Russell brings 25 years of experience at Fresno Unified School District, the fourth largest school district in California. Her educational path started as an elementary teacher for 10 years before becoming an administrator at the elementary and then middle school level for 11 years. She comes to Panama-Buena Vista from her role as an instructional superintendent.

The President’s African-American Advisory Council provides vital guidance, information and diverse perspectives to leadership at CSUB, according to a news release. The objective of the council is to ensure CSUB remains focused on being a welcoming environment for all students while clearing hurdles to success.

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