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2024 Board of Trustees




President-Ms. Kathy Rallings - Term Expires: 12-26 / Trustee Area 5 

Vice President-Mrs. Gretchen Vurbeff - Term Expires: / Trustee 12-26 / Trustee Area 4

Clerk- Mrs. Michele Tsutagawa Ward - Term Expires: 12-26 / Trustee Area 1

Member-Mrs. Elisa Williamson - Term Expires: 12-24 / Trustee Area 2

Member -Mr. Ray Pearson - Term Expires: 12-24 / Trustee Area 3


For Questions or to contact: Email the Board of Trustees -

Trustee Kathy Rallings photoKathy Rallings, President - Email / Trustee Area 5
Kathy Rallings was elected to the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees in 2014.  She grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and is a product of the California public school system.  She received a B.A. in Speech Communications from California State University, Long Beach, and an M.A. in Negotiations and Conflict Management from California State University, Dominguez Hills.  She has an adult son who is attending the University of Washington and pursuing a baseball career and a son who attends elementary school in the district.  She is currently a Health Benefits Specialist, assisting public school districts throughout California to become more knowledgeable purchasers of health care.  Her vision for Carlsbad schools is to create an environment of engagement with parents, teachers, and community members to support our students and to prepare them for the future.  In her spare time, Kathy enjoys spending time with family, playing tennis, water and snow skiing, and watching her older son play baseball.

G VurbeffGretchen Vurbeff, Vice President - Email / Trustee Area 4

Gretchen Vurbeff was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2022.  Born and raised in upstate New York, she has a degree in Movement Science and Masters degrees in Exercise Physiology from SDSU and Theological Studies: Cross Cultural concentration from Fuller Seminary. She settled in Carlsbad in 2000 with her husband, raising two children, one who graduated from CHS and one still in CUSD. Gretchen is a wellness educator who currently serves as a program manager for the County of San Diego’s Feeling Fit Club, where she also developed a wellness curriculum to train educators for the California Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Aging.  She has been an active community volunteer for over 15 years in the classroom and with the PTA. Gretchen is committed to helping our students prepare for life beyond the classroom by improving academic achievement and outcomes, strengthening social and emotional learning in a safe environment, and providing expanded career pathways.  In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach, running with her dog, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. 

M WardMichele Tsutagawa Ward, Clerk - Email / Trustee Area 1

Michele Tsutagawa Ward was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2022. She lives in the Village with her husband, Sam, where they raised their two children, Max and Maddie, who both attended Carlsbad schools from kindergarten through graduation from Carlsbad High School. Michele received her teaching credential at the University of California, Davis in 1999. First teaching in the New Haven Unified School District, Mrs. Tstutagawa Ward spent the rest of her teaching career in the Carlsbad Unified School District, where she was named Calavera Hills Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2012. Michele also was part of the California Teacher Association-Region 4, Institute for Teaching Think Tank. Mrs. Tstutagawa Ward continued her career as an Assistant Principal and Co-Principal in the Vista Unified School District at the Vista Innovation and Design Academy. Michele is currently a Principal in the Poway Unified School District. Mrs. Tstutagawa Ward is active in Carlsbad, having served as a Carlsbad Education Foundation Board Member and Carlsbad Education Foundation Student Leadership Council Mentor. She believes that we all have a responsibility to give back to our community and support our students to create better futures. Michele Tsutagawa Ward believes in joining organizations that raise awareness and the voice of all people of different races, cultures, and ethnicities. Michele joined the California Association of Asian and Pacific Leaders in Education as a founding member to support AAPI communities and their allies. 

Trustee Elisa Williamson photoElisa Williamson, Member - Email / Trustee Area 2
Mrs. Elisa Williamson, a 30-year Carlsbad resident, has served on the Board of Trustees since April 2000. Her two children both graduated from CUSD; one teaches high school English and the other majored in Asian Studies and tutors at a K-8 STEM enrichment program. She has served as Board President or Vice President for 8 years.  While serving on the Board, she spearheaded the development of a Governance Handbook, District Vision Statement, and the Continuous Improvement process. She was the co-chair of the Prop P bond campaign and has sat on numerous committees, include Strategic Planning, GATE, Superintendent selection, and Graduate Profile. She received a "Masters in Governance" certification through the California School Boards Association. Ms. Williamson earned a Master's Degree in Business Education from Brigham Young University and worked for several years as a communications specialist and part-time teacher. She just completed two years of facilitating a weekly student gathering to prepare adults for college success. She is currently the Director of Marketing for a Registered Investment Advisor. 


Trustee Ray Pearson photoRay Pearson, Member - Email / Trustee Area 3
Mr. Ray Pearson was elected to the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees in 2014. Born and raised in Southern California, Ray attended California public schools and received a B.S. from California State University, Los Angeles. Ray is married and has three adult children, with his youngest graduating from Carlsbad High School. He has a 30+ year business career working for companies in the science, technology, engineering, and math industries. Ray has over 40 years of community involvement with the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, Rotary Club, North Coastal Prevention Coalition, City of Carlsbad Senior Commission, Mitchell Thorp Foundation, CHS Baccalaureate Committee, Proposition P Oversight Committee, Parent Association Board, and CHS School Site Council.  He acts as a judge for the CHS Speech and Debate tournaments, and recruits community members to serve as speech and debate judges. Ray is committed to ensuring a bright future for all children and our community. His goal is to direct more dollars in the classroom without placing more of a burden on Carlsbad taxpayers. In his spare time he surfs, swims, plays tennis, and enjoys traveling with his wife.