Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber honored three Southwestern College women at her annual Salute to Women Leaders of the 79th District this week.
In a ceremony held Sunday, Weber named Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo, Southwestern College Black Alliance Co-Presidents Myesha Jackson and Trishana Norquist as women leaders in education.
Southwestern College Governing Board President Roberto Alcantar—who nominated the three for the award—said all three women have helped the college build a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion.
“Having courageous conversations on equity and inclusion is not always easy,” Alcantar said. “But if we’re to ensure educational equity for all students, we must be committed to supporting leaders who are willing to have these conversations.”
Murillo, who joined Southwestern College in 2017, has established a Task Force on Inclusion and Race Relations and revamped hiring practices and job descriptions to reach out to a broad and diverse hiring pool. She has helped the college reinvent itself through the Guided Pathways framework to help more students complete their studies in two years.
As co-presidents of the Black Alliance, Jackson and Norquist have helped resurrect the college’s celebration of Black History Month. In the three years since the celebrations re-started, college members have participated in powerful activities such as The Middle Passage, where participants examine their own beliefs while learning about the slave trade.
Jackson is the director of the college’s Continuing Education and Special Projects division. In her short time as director she has expanded offerings for youth to include UCSD’s Sally Ride Science.
Norquist is a full-time biology professor and a club advisor for the Southwestern College Black Student Union. A year ago she started Supplies for Success to help students with basic supplies, such as pens, notebooks and binders. Supplies for Success provided 186 students with supplies in its first year.
Earlier this month, Governing Board Vice President Nora Vargas was named the Woman of the Year for the 80th Assembly District by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.