Rosary Academy graduate was elected as youngest female mayor in California

By Gabriella Karina     1/7/2019

Tara Campbell was recently unanimously voted to serve as mayor of Yorba Linda, making her the youngest female mayor in California’s history.  

In 2016, Campbell was elected to the Yorba Linda City Council. She received the fourth-highest number of votes in the city’s history. 

Campbell, 25, is an active parishioner at St. Martin de Porres Church, starting out as an altar server, a counselor for Us In the Son Day Camp, a confirmation teacher, captain of the Oktoberfest committee, and a member of the pastoral council. 

“My Catholic education is a big part of who I am and how I got to this point,” said Campbell.  

She graduated from St. Francis of Assisi in Yorba Linda in 2007 and Rosary Academy in 2011. She continued her education at the University of Southern California where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Broadcast and Digital Journalism and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a Public Policy Certificate. 

Her desire to get involved in public service began after her internship experience in Washington, D.C. during the 2013 government shutdown. Campbell returned to her hometown and realized that the same gridlock can happen locally. 

She said, “Instead of yelling at the TV, you can get involved and make a difference. If you want to see a change, you have to be part of that change. We can make a difference in our local government efforts and really, at all levels of governments.” As mayor, her three priorities will be public safety, fiscal responsibility, and communication.   

Campbell credited her foundational experiences at Rosary Academy and St. Francis School. Her closest friendships and support system go back to her grade school experience and high school. Campbell is grateful for her parents, her mentors, teachers, and friends who supported her along the way. 

“Tara is a natural born leader, a role model. She is respected. She took all the opportunities available at Rosary seriously and achieved her goals,” said Richard Yoon, director of Curriculum and head basketball coach at Rosary. “You can’t come in only as ‘individual athletes.’ We are working together for a common goal. That’s the lesson in team sports,” Yoon added. During her high school years, Campbell was the captain of the CIF semi-finalist basketball team and senior class president. She took pride in the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. 

“At Rosary, you see women at every single leadership position,” Campbell said. Years after high school graduation, Campbell gives back to her alma mater, helps with practice and gives advice to current students. 

“Tara was a good student. She was interested in everything and worked hard,” said Ann Cooper, Campbell’s middle school teacher at St. Francis. The Catholic school advantage is reflected in the faith-based philosophy that permeates the total education program at St. Francis. The school has a Faith in Action Today (FIAT) program where empathy, compassion, respect, honesty, responsibility, courage, perseverance, and gratitude are emphasized. The educational experience at St. Francis is infused with Catholicity to encourage students to emulate their patron, St. Francis of Assisi.  

Cooper has been a teacher at St. Francis for 19 years. Her teaching philosophy is to first instill the love of Christ and the love of learning to her students. It is not all about career. When asked about Tara Campbell and other words of wisdom for students who are inspired by Campbell, Cooper shared a quote by Mother Teresa: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”