The San Diego Unified School District is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals in education. Programs and activities shall be free from discrimination by reason of the following actual or perceived characteristics: actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, mental or physical disability, nationality, age, creed, marital status, or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
"As the second-largest school district in California, there is no doubt that San Diego Unified encompasses a wide range of communities maintained by incredible teachers, staff, families, and of course -- students. To ensure that all students' voices are heard, regardless of geographical and/or sociocultural circumstances, this website is meant to engage, inspire, and empower us, the students. From internship opportunities to public forums, there is something for everyone. We look forward to how you choose to get involved!"
- Lea Nepomuceno and Matthew Quitoriano
Student Board Member Matthew Quitoriano was sworn into office on June 28, 2022, after being one of the top two vote earners in a May 2022 election where more than 3,000 San Diego Unified students cast their ballots.
“I want my legacy to be of change, of reform, and of justice,” Quitoriano said. “This position is the best place where I can turn that idea into a reality.”
Matthew Quitoriano is a first-generation American and current student at San Diego High School. He is a fencer, musician, and leader. Matthew sought out the position of Student Board Member, looking to connect students with the district in an equitable way. He saw the board position as a way to lessen disparities and start a legacy of justice.
Matthew’s education started at Grant TK-8, which he attended from kindergarten to 8th grade. There, he was heavily involved in academic activities such as Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl, and Junior Model United Nations. He earned the “Pat Peirson Economic Award” Presented by Cuyamaca City College and EconEd. He was a key planner for his eighth-grade promotion and worked closely with fellow students in the process.
In 2021, Matthew started his enrollment in San Diego High School. There, he became involved with his school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Model United Nations, and Academic League. He learned about equities and inequities firsthand through volunteer work at food banks, involvement in protests, and more; and found his passion for change.
On the board, he seeks to reform many aspects of education, including communication with students, student access to learning tools, student representation, and more. He’s excited to bring his past experiences to the board.
Student Board Member Lea Nepomuceno was sworn into office on June 28, 2022, after being one of the top two vote earners in a May 2022 election where more than 3,000 San Diego Unified students cast their ballots.
“Through chairing the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee on Racial Justice and Equity, I've witnessed first-hand the incredible youth-led initiatives and programs across our school district,” Nepomuceno said. “As a Student Board Member, I aim to align the quality of opportunity for students to explore, discover, and amplify passion without limitation.”
Lea Nepomuceno is an activist, journalist, and current student at Scripps Ranch High School. Since the age of 13, Nepomuceno has dedicated herself to advocating for social justice reform. In 2019, Nepomuceno co-founded the organization, Youth for Juvenile Justice Reform — interviewing over 200 formerly incarcerated individuals in efforts to educate youth on the criminal justice system. Through the organization, Nepomuceno has collaborated with artists including Emmy-Nominated Choreographer Jeremy McQueen’s Black Iris Project Wild: Act 1. She’s been featured as a panelist on the VIBE Movement’s “What’s color got to do with it?: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline” Series in 2020 and Youth Summit NYC’s 2021 Summit held by Students and Educators for Equity (SEE) and Youth Restorative Justice (YRJ). She is also the youngest member of the University of Southern California’s Prison Education Project.
Noticing the intersection of urban gun violence and crime, Nepomuceno created the podcast, Evidence for Change, where she interviews alumni from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions Summer Youth Institute. Evidence for Change has since accumulated over 15,000 listens. In 2022, Nepomuceno was invited to President Biden’s Signing Ceremony of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act alongside the nation’s leading activists and policymakers on gun violence prevention. Since the age of 15, Nepomuceno has worked with Brady Team Enough’s California Lobbying Collective. She was recently appointed to the Executive Council.
In 2021, Nepomuceno co-founded Scripps Ranch High School’s first student-led printed publication, The WING Magazine, featuring coverage on self care, mental health, and lifestyle advice. She directed 150 student writers, artists, and graphic designers in the development of Volume 1, Issue 1 as co-Editor-in-Chief alongside award-winning artist, Sahithi Lingampalli. In the 2022-2023 school year, The WING Magazine will be going districtwide starting with a chapter in San Diego High School.
At the local level, Nepomuceno is co-president of the Scripps Ranch High School Mock Trial Team, board member of Falcon Peer Mentoring, research assistant at the University of California San Diego’s Early Learning and Cognition Lab, and mentor at the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
Before being elected, Nepomuceno served in the district as student chair of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee on Racial Justice and Equity where she monitored the implementation of staff diversity, ethnic studies, interrupting discriminatory grading practices, dismantling discriminatory discipline policies and practices, and building anti-racist and restorative school communities.
Nepomuceno, a resident of Mira Mesa, is a lifelong San Diego Unified student. Growing up in a military household, Nepomuceno attended the Miramar Youth and Teen Center after school, where she met students from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. There, she identified education as a resource to align the opportunities for students to explore, discover, and amplify passion without limitation. On the board, Nepomuceno’s areas of focus include campus policing reforms, restorative justice, culturally inclusive and allergy-friendly school lunch options, and menstrual equity.
Check out the work the Student Board Members have done:
Opinion: I’m a military kid. Interviewing formerly incarcerated people changed my world view.
The San Diego school doing the WORK for LGBTQ+ students
San Diego High School 1976 Time Capsule Reveal
Students raise the Pride flag as SD Unified considers more state funding