Councilmember Sal Tinajero
Education: Saddleback High School,
Bradley University, BA
National University, MA
First Elected: November 2006
Term Expires: November 2018
Born and raised in Santa Ana, Sal Tinajero is a product of the Santa Ana Unified School District and also attended Orange Coast College. A scholarship to Bradley University in Illinois resulted in a Bachelor’s degree in Communications degree. In addition, Sal holds a Master’s in Cross Cultural Education from the National University. Dedicated to education, Sal was named the 2006 National Hispanic Teacher of the Year for his exceptional achievements as a history, speech and debate teacher at Fullerton Union High School and was invited to the White House by former first lady, Laura Bush. In 2000, he served as a Governing Board Member of the Santa Ana Unified School District and was re-elected in 2004.
Service to others is a hallmark of Sal’s professional career. Before becoming a literacy and history teacher, he counseled parents facing the challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy. He was recognized as Junior Achievement's Southern California Teacher of the Year in 1999, received the 1999 Giraffe Award for Community Service by the Santa Ana School District, and was presented the 2001 Santa Ana Community Builder Award by Mayor Miguel Pulido. In May 2008, Sal received the Fullerton Home Town Hero Award awarded by the Fullerton City Council for inspiring youth and helping students achieve their college education. In October 2008, Bradley University presented Sal with the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Graduate Award. Sal is one of the few teachers to receive two Golden Bell Awards by the California School Board Association. In 2009, he was awarded the Golden Bell Award for his work in teaching English to ELD students and in 2015 he was presented with a second Golden Bell Award for closing the achievement gap among Latino students through his speech and debate program.
Sal was 1 of 50 elected officials invited to the home of Vice President Joe Biden to participate in the Hispanic Heritage event in Washington, DC.
As a Councilmember for the City of Santa Ana, Sal’s priorities include: increasing support for law enforcement and public safety; ensuring resources for clean streets, park improvements and neighborhood needs; and working with educators and elected officials to strengthen school systems across the county. In March of 2015, Sal was featured in the Orange County Register for helping to start ten speech and debate programs in middle schools across Santa Ana. Sal has been invited to be a motivational speaker at multiple school districts around the country. He currently serves on the Code of Ethics and Conduct Council Committee, the Public Safety / Neighborhood Improvement / Code Enforcement Council Committee, and the Parks, Recreation, Education & Youth (PREY) and Joint Santa Ana Unified School District City Council Committee.
Sal is a devoted husband and father. His wife, Jennifer, is a director of nursing at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. They have three beautiful children – Salvador, Vincent, and Grace Natalia. Sal and Jennifer enjoy spending time with their children and are avid sports fans.