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Elito Santarina: A Community Pillar with Decades of Service

Elito Santarina has been serving the City of Carson for more than two decades. Sixteen of those years have been spent as a council member for the City. However, on Nov. 6, 2018 the voters of the City of Carson alarmingly chose not to re-elect Elito for a fifth term.

First elected to the dais in March 2003, Elito previously served the city on the planning, parks and recreation, senior citizens advisory, citywide advisory and economic development commissions.

He also served as co-chair of the City of Carson’s 30th anniversary celebrations, and assisted in the city’s summer youth jobs selection process. He has been actively involved in the Gardena-Carson YMCA, Carson Sister Cities Association, Kiwanis International, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Democratic Club. In 2004, he successfully authored the Elito M. Santarina Senior Technology Center to help seniors acquire skills that will allow them to keep up with technology advances.

Several years ago, Elito completed the Harvard Executive Education Program for local government officials from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University. Additionally, Elito was given a rank of First Lieutenant in the Infantry of the American Volunteer Reserve.

Elito was born in the Philippines where he obtained his bachelors and post baccalaureate degrees in education, linguistics and school administration. He began his teaching career in 1967 and served as a school principal, before moving to the United States in the ‘70s.

In 1980, he completed his Master of Arts in Special Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. His career at Los Angeles Unified School District includes teaching middle and high school English, bilingual math and multicultural studies, and coordinating ESL programs in adult education. He taught Spanish and history at the Andrew Carnegie Middle School in Carson and retired in June 2005 after 30 years.

Elito is a recipient of numerous recognitions as an outstanding educator and a community leader including the Mayor Tom Bradley Cultural Award, the California Department of Education Exceptional Leadership PTSA in Public Schools Awards, the LAUSD Asian Pacific Educators Commission Leadership Award, the Asian Pacific Islander Educators Association “Torch of Service” Award, the Lions Club International’s Outstanding Educator Award, the Kiwanis Club’s Outstanding Educator Award, and Outstanding Awards from the Community Interethnic Association, to name a few.

Elito has been a notable pillar in the Carson community for decades. Th e Carson Observer wishes him well and we look forward to what he plans to do next. A farewell reception is scheduled for April 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Carson from 5-8 p.m. to honor his decades of service to the city.


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