Naomi Rainey will be first African-American woman to serve on the Board.
Mrs. Rainey was selected and sworn in to the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners on October 19, 2020 by Mayor Robert Garcia. Her appointment to the Board follows the departure of former commissioner Harry Saltzgaver.
Ms. Rainey is an award-winning educator, philanthropist, entrepreneur and civil rights activist who has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of community members, including many at-risk children.
“Naomi has a rich history of community service in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Her experience working with youth and numerous nonprofit groups in our city make her an excellent appointment to the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners.”
“I’m honored to be named a water commissioner by our Mayor, Dr. Robert Garcia, and take on this important role for our community,” said Naomi Rainey, newly appointed member of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners.
“I’m looking forward to utilizing my diverse education, background and experience on the Water Commission and helping provide direction to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of our vital water systems.”
Ms. Rainey has been actively involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since the age of 14. A past vice president of the California State Conference NAACP, she has served as president of the NAACP’s Long Beach Branch since 2000. From 1975-2003, Rainey was an educator and administrator in the Compton and Long Beach Unified school districts. She served as an assistant principal at Millikan and Poly High School and also served as principal on special assignment to the superintendent of high schools. In 2009, she was appointed by former Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Advisory Commission on Special Education. Ms. Rainey, a lifelong advocate for human rights and social justice, was an educator and administrator for both Compton and Long Beach Unified School Districts. She has served on many volunteer boards and commissions, including those of Long Beach City College Foundation, St. Mary’s Medical Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute and Long Beach Cancer League. She has received a number of special honors in recognition of her efforts, including Cancer League Hero of Long Beach, Soroptimist International Woman of the Year – Education, California Conference for Equality and Justice Humanitarian Award and City of Long Beach Martin Luther King, Jr. Peacemaker Award. She’s proudest of personally donating and raising millions of dollars for students of color and diverse backgrounds to attend trade schools, community colleges, and universities. A proud alumna of California State University, Long Beach, Ms. Rainey holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, two master’s degrees in education and several teaching credentials.
In 1987, the CSULB College of Education presented her with its Distinguished Alumna Award, and in 2010, she was the recipient of the CSULB President’s Distinguished Service Award.
In 2012, in recognition of her service to and support of the university – including as a past member of the CSULB Alumni Association and as a donor to the Rainey Scholarship – CSULB named Residence Hall C in Hillside College “The Naomi Rainey House.” Rainey was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Letters from California State Long Beach College of Liberal Arts in 2019. Rainey, widow of the late Paul Pierson, is currently married to Elmer Erdmann.