Petaluma School Board President Joanna Paun Honored as Woman of the Year

For immediate release:


SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) honored Petaluma City Schools Board President Joanna Paun as Assembly District (AD) 12’s Woman of the Year. Ms. Paun was chosen for her passion and dedication to advocacy, promoting equity and elevating student voices. Under Ms. Paun’s leadership, the Petaluma School Board has sought to make the district a safe and welcoming space for all students, most recently by conducting a study to identify equity and opportunity gaps, which are currently being addressed using the data collected. Additionally, the board is implementing targeted training for trustees and staff on Title VI, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.


“I’m delighted to recognize Ms. Paun as the North Bay’s official Woman of the Year,” said Assemblymember Connolly. “Ms. Paun’s dedication to Petaluma students and continued support for increasing equity and diversity in our schools has undoubtedly improved our community. The North Bay is lucky to have a remarkable educator like Ms. Paun as a champion for our local students.”


“I am honored to stand alongside so many remarkable women and receive this honor for the 12th Assembly District,” said Joanna Paun. “I appreciate Assemblymember Connolly and his highlighting of my accomplishments; as the first Black person elected in Petaluma, School Board Trustee, Counselor, and mother of four beautiful children, I am proud of my service to my community. For too long Black people, and specifically Black women in our country, were denied the right to engage in politics and to have a seat at the table. During my work in schools and through my advocacy and volunteer efforts with groups like the Sonoma NAACP, I believe that we all have a part to play in the betterment of our society and the generations that will come after us.”


The Woman of the Year event was founded in 1987 by Assemblywoman Bev Hansen (R) and Assemblywoman Sally Tanner (D), who noticed that the California Legislature had no events planned for the month of March, Women's History Month.  In celebration of the contributions to society made by remarkable women throughout California, Hansen and Tanner arranged to invite one woman from each Senate and Assembly district to come to the Capitol and be honored for their accomplishments.


In 2021, the members of the Petaluma City Schools District’s board of education unanimously voted to install Ms. Paun as their new president. As Petaluma recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Paun and her colleagues continue to dedicate themselves to building strategies that assist students and establish goals by collaborating with parents and exchanging ideas.

If you would like to watch a video of the State Assembly’s Woman of the Year Ceremony, click here.