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Jerlene Tatum for School Board

Who is Jerlene Tatum

Jerlene Tatum is an education advocate, community organizer, mother and a long-time resident in the city of Long Beach.  For nearly two decades Jerlene has advocated for parents, students, and marginalized communities in Long Beach. Due to her education advocacy over the last decade, Jerlene has built a rapport with school staff, teachers, district management and Long Beach parents. She was instrumental in advocating for the Black Student Achievement Initiative that the LBUSD Board approved in 2021. She has made it her mission to educate parents on the nuances of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and how parents can influence the school districts budget.

Jerlene is a founding member of the Long Beach Education Connection, a group of parents and community stakeholders that work directly with LBUSD parents and community partners to engage parents and community in the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.

In 2007, Jerlene attended the Children’s Defense Fund Ella Baker Child Policy Institute, it was during this time that Jerlene’s passion for engaging parents in the educational development of their children via literacy initiatives and civic engagement. After leading a CDF Fund Freedom School site at Hudson K-8 school during the summer, she knew that her work must be grounded in the community that she lives in.

Jerlene most recently served as a Guiding Coalition member with 103 other individuals from across the school district to participate in the visioning process and development of LBUSD’s 2035 Vision. She is currently serving her 5th term on the California Department of Education state mandated LCAP School Site council. She has served on the School Site council at each LBUSD school her child has attended.

She served on the former City of Long Beach Youth & Gang Violence Taskforce and is one of the founding members of the City of Long Beach Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention Program (GRIP). Jerlene served on the Long Beach LBGRIP executive committee from 2009 to 2011.  She is also an alumnus of Leadership Long Beach, class of 2007. Over the years, Jerlene has served on numerous boards and committees, such as, The South Coast Interfaith Council and The Rock Club- Music is the Remedy.

Jerlene is an alumnus of Long Beach Millikan High School. She received her Bachelor Degree of Liberal Arts from Whittier College in 1998. She currently has a son attending a high school in the Long Beach Unified School district. Her oldest daughter graduated from Renaissance High School in June of 2023. 

Jerlene is the owner of Tatum Cordova Strategies, a boutique consulting firm that provides an array of administrative services and data management. As a small business owner and entrepreneur she enjoys working with non-profit organizations to assist with organizational development, racial equity, and infrastructure.  Prior to managing her own business Jerlene’s professional career includes working for Edison International, Nissan, Farmers Insurance and U.S. VETS.

Why I Am Running

“I am running for the Long Beach Unified School Board, Area 2 seat, because I believe that student outcome and success must always be at the forefront of every decision made by the school board and district administration. Although LBUSD has many successes, there is always room for improvement. Currently, the safety and well being of students is a concern across the district. When students do not feel safe, it disrupts the learning process. Students who feel safe are more likely to attend school regularly, engage in classroom activities, and achieve academic success. We have one of the highest chronic absenteeism rates in our area. Currently, the ratio of students to counselors does not meet the recommendations set by the  California Association of School Counselors. School counselors play a vital role in promoting mental health and well-being. They are there to listen, support, and guide our children through challenging times, helping them build resilience and develop healthy coping strategies.

By investing in school counselors we invest in the future of our community. When our children have access to quality counseling services, they are more likely to succeed academically, contribute positively to society, and become the leaders of tomorrow. 

As a board member, I will advocate for  policies that promote safety for students and staff, academic counselors, as well as, an increase in academic support for students.” ~Jerlene

Professional History

While in college Jerlene interned with an Edison International pilot company, Edison Enterprises. During her time there she realized she was gifted in developing and implementing new systems and procedures in the area of technology and administration. After her summer internship, she was hired on as a member of the administration team. She later joined the technology department as an information technology analyst and wrote the policies and procedures for the department. After leaving Edison Enterprises she worked with several major corporations developing technology department procedures and training help desk teams and leading software implementations. Jerlene left the corporate world to be a stay at home mom. She later returned back to the private corporate environment and she realized her skills were needed in the nonprofit sector. Jerlene has worked with a number of non-profit organizations including serving as the Director of Development for the largest non-profit in the country providing housing for formerly homeless veterans. After becoming the full time guardian for her grand-nephew and grand-niece she decided that managing her own business would give her the flexibility she needed to be a full time parent in their lives.