After 12 years as the executive director for the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, Margie Yahyavi has announced she is stepping down to spend more time with family and explore new endeavors.
“I’ve loved every minute of working with this organization — the program directors, the donors, the community, all of it,” Ms. Yahyavi said in a news release.
Ms. Yahyavi joined the foundation in 2010 as a part-time employee when the nonprofit had annual revenues of $300,000.
During her tenure, the foundation’s staff grew to five positions and an annual budget of $2.5 million, supporting 10 foundation programs and serving as a fiscal sponsor for 14 other education programs.
SBEF hosts long-running summer music programs for local students, including the popular Nick Rail Summer Band Camp. And Ms. Yahyavi created the Get Ahead Program, which enabled high school students to earn academic credits during the summer.
“I have appreciated working with so many wonderful people in our community … and I value the relationships I’ve been privileged to develop with our many donors who understand the value of investing in education,” said Ms. Yahyavi.
In addition to expanding SBEF’s funding and programs, Ms. Yahyavi led advocacy for three bond and parcel tax measures. Those measures resulted in $193 million in support of improved student learning and infrastructure investment for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, according to the news release.
While SBEF operates independently of Santa Barbara Unified School District, it is known for supporting district initiatives and works closely with the district’s leaders.
During Ms. Yahyavi’s tenure, she secured funding to pilot and launch Santa Barbara Unified’s literacy intervention program for struggling readers, a grant program for teachers awarding more than $100,000 annually, and an emergency fund that provided wi-fi access for students and their families during the pandemic.