Bell among 2017 Women of the Year

Congressman John Garamendi (left) presents a 2017 Woman of the Year Award to Winters resident Marlene Bell. At right is her husband, Bob Bell. Courtesy photo

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Winters resident Marlene Bell was among the recipients of the 2017 Women of the Year Awards, presented by Congressman John Garamendi.

Each year, Garamendi recognizes outstanding women in his Congressional District, of which Winters is a part. The honorees are nominated by their peers and demonstrate a strong commitment to their communities through leadership and dedication to public service.

The awards were presented on Thursday, Oct. 19, at Woodland Community College. However, Bell was recovering from surgery on her arm and was unable to attend. Bell says Garamendi returned to this area on Monday, Jan. 8, and presented her the award at his local office, with her husband Bob in attendance.

“The exciting thing is that it’s part of the Congressional Record,” says Bell.

Bell served 27 years in the Davis Unified School District as a teacher and mentor of new teachers, a leader in writing a groundbreaking multicultural curriculum guide. She became certified as a national trainer for Generating Expectations for Student Achievement (GESA), and the lead trainer on gender and racial equity as well as the effort to close the achievement gap for underrepresented students in Davis.

Between 1999 and 2009, Bell was hired as staff for the California Teachers Association (CTA) and served as the assistant executive director for Region 2, coordinating CTA programs in 30 of California’s 58 counties (73,000 square miles) and serving nearly 65,000 members.

Bell and the regional staff worked to increase school funding, defeat two voucher initiatives, and establish beneficial programs for students and teachers. She additionally worked to fight against then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s agenda on public education in California.

From 2009 to 2013, she served as the consultant/director for CTA-IFT/UC Davis Algebra Success Academy, a largely teacher-driven program. Her work with the Algebra Success Academy was driven by her continued passion for equity in student achievement.

“Algebra is a gatekeeper course for higher level mathematics and post-secondary education,” says Bell. “The Algebra Success Academy engaged 3rd through 8th grade students in a concrete approach to algebra, where students learned algebraic reasoning rather than simply memorizing formulas and equations.”

The ASA began with two teachers in 2009 and grew to 105 teachers who volunteered to be trained as ASA instructors by 2014, in schools from Paradise and Chula Vista.

Bell received her BA teaching redential from UC Davis and the UC Davis School of Education.

In 2009, she became the first alum to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UC Davis, School of Education. She was the Alumni Speaker at its 2010 Commencement ceremony.

Bell is listed among the lifetime members of Strathmore’s Who’s Who for leadership for achievement and dedication in the field of education. She also received The Lifetime Award for Embodying Equity and Diversity from UC Davis in 2015.

Bell served as leader of African Americans Students Success in Higher Education (ASHE), in Yolo County. She served as the A.D.4 delegate to the State Democratic Central Committee, and is the secretary of the Yolo County Democratic Party.

She and her husband operate Bell Ranch, a walnut ranch in rural Winters.

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