A little about our board members:
Jan West is a retired K/1st grade teacher from Trinidad School where she taught for 25 years. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2013, becoming President of the Board in 2019. Both her children attended Trinidad School, where she was active in PTO and the Trinidad School Education Foundation.
She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan from 1970 –72 where she served as Program Coordinator for the English-speaking Secretarial Training Program at Kabul University, teaching Business English and Shorthand. Jan developed a multicultural unit about Afghanistan for her students, culminating in a simulation experience celebrating the culture of Afghanistan. She was named the 2002 National Peace Corps Educator of the Year for her work in fostering tolerance through this unit.
As a founding member of Humboldt Educators and Advocates for Responsible Testing, she co-produced a PowerPoint presentation about the detrimental effects of high-stakes standardized testing with Laura Rose that was widely shown to legislators and audiences.
Jan was Humboldt County Teacher of the Year in 2000 and received the Humboldt County Jean Olson Career Achievement Award in 2009 when she retired after more than 32-years of teaching. During her career, she mentored 28 student teachers and hosted 8 observers from HSU. She began supervising student teachers through the Education Department at HSU in 2011. She taught history methodology to teacher candidates there for 5 years, from 2012 to 2017.
Having been a volunteer, parent, aide, teacher and school board trustee at Trinidad School since the 1970’s, Jan brings a unique perspective and extensive experience to her service as a member of the school board. She is deeply committed to public education, diversity, a caring community, educational excellence and enrichment
Susan was born and raised in Southern California, growing up in Crestline, a small town in the San Bernardino Mountains. She is a recent full-time resident of Trinidad. She and her husband have had a small cabin here for almost thirty years, but just recently have made it large enough for retirement. You may have seen her running around during the summer months and long school holidays before her permanent move.
All of her jobs have centered around children. She worked as Raggedy Ann at Santa’s Village from the age of fifteen through college. She received a BA in Human Development from UC Riverside. She also received an LH-SDC and a Multiple Subjects credential from UCR. She immediately began her 38 year teaching adventure in Oxnard, California. She taught an LH-SDC in the Hueneme School District (HSD) for 5 years. She then transitioned to first, and then second grade where she spent the balance of her career. She happily admits that her heart always gravitated towards the neediest students. The year she retired 87% of HSD students were classified as Title I. The overwhelming majority of her students spoke Spanish at home. Susan’s was often required to conduct parent conferences in Spanish.
She was very involved with environmental education. Susan wrote and received multiple grants to establish a school garden. She has also read and evaluated school garden grants for the State of California. Many of the students living in South Oxnard know or come from families where parents work in the fields. Susan’s objectives for establishing a school garden were two fold. First she wanted to teach the students how to care for the earth while growing food and flowers, and second to foster a respect and appreciation for the work their neighbors and family members did.
Susan’s classroom was home to vermicomposting bins filled with worms. It was also home to turtles, fish, hamsters, bunnies, and guinea pigs. Her students learned about responsibility through caring for these classroom pets. Students also participated in Coastal Clean-Up Day and had visits from herding dogs with a small herd of sheep, the local bat expert, and an entomologist…all demonstrating the balance of nature.
In addition to being active on the school leadership team, PTA, and School Site Council she was also a site representative for the teacher’s union. She served on the executive council for many years before winning a position on the executive board and receiving the We Honor Ours award. She strongly believes that the voices of teachers should always be heard and considered when making decisions. Susan’s hope has always been to work with a school board upon retirement. She is excited to be working with the Trinidad School District and its surrounding community.
Kimberly Bynum is a recent transplant to Humboldt County, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia where she was born and raised. After working as a part-time lab assistant for an environmental studies and archaeological firm during the summers before starting college she enrolled with the State Archaeologist’s program at West Georgia College. There she completed her field school which enabled her to work on active archaeological sites throughout college. Kim went on to finish her education at Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography with a minor in Anthropology in 2000.
Fresh out of college, Kim took a position with Teleatlas, Inc. that was creating cartographic data for car navigation systems in their infancy. She moved to Eugene, Oregon with her future husband, Michael Bynum, and traveled all over the Pacific Northwest and eastward through Canada. The data created would become what is known as Apple Maps today.
Kim and Michael returned to Atlanta briefly and then spent a little over a year in San Jose, Costa Rica in an effort to start a satellite office for Michael’s company in Central America. This was mostly a veiled attempt to spend more time in one of their favorite places on Earth.
The next 5 years would be spent in Atlanta again where Kim made a career change into the construction industry. It was unfortunate timing as the 2008 recession effectively ended most new construction, so Kim took a position in Facilities Management and Hospitality Liaison for Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus.
Atlanta was beginning to take its toll on her now husband Michael as he longed to return to Humboldt County having lived here in the mid-90’s. Kim finally allowed herself to be talked into taking the leap and now has to apologize to Michael every day for dragging her feet. She instantly fell in love with the beautiful forests, rugged coastlines and friendly people. It was here that their daughter Hadley joined them and the world in 2012. They have all joyfully been members of the Trinidad Community ever since.
Kim returned to work full-time after Hadley joined Salmonberry Preschool's class of 2016-17 by keeping to fringes of the construction industry and joining Atlas Engineering where she now drafts structural plans for buildings. It was at this time that Kim began to seek out ways to stay engaged with Trinidad Elementary as an involved but working parent. In January of 2019, Kim joined the school board as a Trustee.
Kim's mission as a Trustee is rooted in a desire to be an informed participant of school culture, decision making in regards to the maintaining a positive direction for our students’, teachers’ and staff well-being and opportunities, as well as fostering parents’ concerns for a safe environment for their children to succeed in their educational, social and emotional development.
Jennifer Fraser grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, before moving to the Bay Area with her parents after high school. She met her husband in San Francisco in 1999, and they moved to Humboldt County in late 2002 to live in a house his grandmother, a longtime teacher at Eureka High School, had owned since the 1960s.
Having received an Associate Degree in marketing at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, she began a career as a teller and then a banker at Washington Mutual in Arcata, which later became Chase. She now works as a loan partner for Fairway Mortgage atop the Jacoby Storehouse.
With a son who has grown up at Trinidad School, Jennifer has seen firsthand what a special place our school truly is, and decided to join the school board because she is deeply committed to providing the children of our beautiful and unique little town with a quality education.
Prior to being on the school board, Jennifer served on the Trinidad City Planning Commission from 2009-2011, the Vacation Rental Oversight Committee in 2010, and the Trinidad School District Bond Oversight Committee from 2013-2017.
Her husband Erik is also involved in education, as a graphic designer for the Humboldt County Office of Education.