Dr. Carol Karamitsos, a native of Santa Maria, graduated from Ernest Righetti High School in 1981. Her parents, the late John Karamitsos and Barbara Karamitsos, instilled a deep commitment to public education in all of their children. Dr. Karamitsos received her bachelor of arts from Occidental College followed by her medical degree at George Washington University in Washington DC. She returned to California to complete her OB/GYN residency at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. She and her husband, John Hollinshead, returned to Santa Maria in 1994 where she has worked as an OB/GYN in private practice. Dr. Karamitsos has three children, including a Santa Maria High School graduate now attending San Jose State University.
Dr. Karamitsos was elected to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Education in 2006. In addition to her medical practice and school board position, Dr. Karamitsos serves as a church elder and is active in the medical staff at Marian Regional Medical Center. She enjoys outdoor activities and traveling with her family.
Diana Perez was raised in Salinas, California and graduated from Salinas High School in 1984. As the eldest daughter of five, Diana aspired to help her mother (who worked in the fields) and her younger siblings strive for a better life. She enrolled and graduated from Hartnell College then transferred to UC Santa Barbara and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Diana worked two jobs to earn enough money to attend Fresno State and earned a Master’s Degree in Education, Counseling and Student Services in 1994. Immediately after, she was hired by Santa Barbara City College as an ESL Counselor, then UC Santa Barbara as an EAOP Admission Counselor and currently is the Director of the Central Coast Cal-SOAP Consortium at Allan Hancock College. Diana Perez has three children including a recent graduate from Righetti High School.
Diana Perez was appointed to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District in February of 2014, then elected to the board in November of 2014. As a parent and educator with over twenty years of experience in higher education, and a former commissioner for the Off-Highway Motor Vehicles Recreation (OHMVR), Diana is fully committed to contributing toward enhancing educational opportunities for all district students.
Dominick Palera grew up on Long Island, New York. After serving in the United States Marine Corp, he settled in California. In 1981 he moved to Santa Maria along with his wife and young daughter. He added two additional daughters to his family in the 1980s. All attended the local schools including Ernest Righetti High school. He now has four granddaughters attending local schools with two at Ernest Righetti HS. He worked for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s department for 30 years, retiring in 2013. In November 2014, he was elected to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School Board. He served as the Board President during the search for a new superintendent in 2019.
Dominick is dedicated to public service. In 2014 he was appointed to the Santa Barbara County ‘Child Safety Net Task Force’, reporting to the Board of Supervisors. In 2015 he was appointed by the courts to a commissioner’s position on the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission. He served as the as the chairman of that commission until 2021.
With his extensive law enforcement background Dominick brings a unique perspective as a member of the school board. He is committed to keeping our youth safe and secure as well as ensuring a quality education for all.
Amy Lopez, a native of Santa Maria, attended public schools in the Orcutt Unified School District and graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1993. A first-generation college student, Amy attended and graduated from California State University Fresno in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science; she went on to graduate from the University of La Verne in 2004 with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Amy began her career in public service in 1999 with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, where she worked with pregnant and parenting teens in the TeenAge Parenting Program (TAPP). She has worked in different capacities in Public Health, Social Services, and Behavioral Wellness, where she is currently employed with the Alcohol and Drug Program. Amy has dedicated her entire career to public service. Amy is an avid supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs; she served on the Board of Directors of the Santa Maria Boys and Girls Clubs from 2009-2015 and she remains an active volunteer.
Amy was appointed to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Education in January 2016 and later elected to the position in November 2016. Amy is proud to live and work in the community of Santa Maria where she was born and raised. With a strong background in public service and a long history working with the most vulnerable populations of the local community, Amy is committed to fostering equity and access for a quality education for all students.
Amy married her husband, Vincent Lopez III, in 2001. She enjoys all outdoor activities, watching sporting events, and listening to live Mariachi bands.
Jack Garvin holds a B.A. in Education and Ed.D. from Brigham Young University. Dr. Garvin began his teaching career in 1957 in California and has served in public education for 41 years; 19 as Superintendent of the Orcutt Union School District. He was elected to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Education in 2004. Dr. Garvin’s reason for running for the Santa Maria High School Board was to apply the same standards of sound decision–making and accomplishment that developed the Orcutt School District into an outstanding school system.