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You couldn’t blame Katherine Nakamura if she felt a little upstaged at the San Diego Unified school board meeting Tuesday night, the last regular meeting for both her and John de Beck.

Nakamura has spent eight years on the school board while de Beck has spent 20 — and he got a bit more attention as an outgoing board member. But eight years is nothing to sneeze at, and Nakamura has also made a mark. She is best known for her advocacy for art, music, JROTC and other extracurriculars; she was an ally of Superintendent Alan Bersin during his tumultuous tenure and was often at odds with de Beck.

Tuesday night she said while de Beck saw the San Diego Unified glass as half empty, she saw it as half full. She lauded the school district for its improvement. “I like really smart people. And we have a lot of smart people in this district … They’ll find the answers,” she said.

Here are some highlights from our past coverage of Nakamura:

  • Early in election season, we delved into why Nakamura, who has often backed unifying causes, ended up being a dissident on the school board. Her disagreements with labor, in particular, put her in the minority in recent years and cost her some Democratic support in the election.
  • Marsha Sutton, a former voiceofsandiego.org contributor, profiled Nakamura a few years back. One interesting highlight: Nakamura mentions that when Bersin called her, her cell phone played the Beatles song “Revolution.”
  • Nakamura wrote an interesting guest blog for us a few years ago that touches on everything from Communist China to how Texas climbed out of the oil and gas crisis of the 1980s — and it’s about education to boot.
  • If there is one thing that Nakamura said she’s proud of, it’s pushing San Diego Unified to create an easily understandable budget book. We wrote about what it meant to have readable budgets, even if the numbers weren’t much to cheer about then.

Just as with our look back at de Beck, I’m sure I missed something. Got more links on Nakamura and her eight years on the school board? Please post them in the comments.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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