Dr. Cody Petterson

for School Board

Get to know

Cody Petterson

Cody is a native San Diegan, born at University Hospital (now UCSD Hillcrest) and brought home to UCSD's Mesa Grad Student Apartments. Raised in La Jolla, California, he attended La Jolla Elementary, Muirlands, and La Jolla High, did his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, and came home to do his Ph.D. in Anthropology at UCSD.

Cody is the father of two children—Sequoia, 6, and Bardot, 8—both of whom attend Torrey Pines Elementary, where he serves on the School Site Council and Site Governance Team. He also serves on the La Jolla Town Council, as well as numerous local boards, including the San Diego River Conservancy, San Diego International Sister Cities Association, and Volcan Mountain Foundation. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of Sierra Club San Diego and the Board of the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego.

Cody has spent the last 5 years helping to organize and moderate workshops and trainings for school board trustees, educators, and community members across the County, on issues like learning loss recovery, community schools, science-based closure and re-opening, social and emotional learning, Board-Superintendent dynamics, Special Education, and district budgeting.

Dr. Petterson is Senior Advisor for Land Use, Education, and Environment and manages Intergovernmental Affairs for San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. He’s also a Lecturer in the UCSD Anthropology Department, where he’s wrestled with lesson planning, remote learning, grading, and maintaining student motivation and engagement in the context of the pandemic.When he isn’t working, teaching, or doing common core math with his kids, Cody is an ocean swimmer, avid hiker, and California native plant enthusiast.

Cody Petterson


  • Secure the state and federal funding that our students deserve to learn and thrive.

  • Improve District transparency and communication with parents and the community.

  • Invest in programs like GATE, STEAM, and Dual Enrollment to align instruction with San Diego’s thriving tech and biotech industries.

  • Foster greater participation of students, parents, teachers, and staff in District decision-making.

  • Pandemic support to help students, teachers, and families recover from two years of COVID pandemic.

  • Community Schools, so that schools are adequately staffed, trained, and resourced to address the whole child, whole family, and whole community needs that are essential to closing the achievement gap.

  • Universal preschool and transitional kindergarten, so that all children can have the essential benefit of early childhood education and working parents can be confident that their children are in an enriching cognitive environment during the work day.

  • Obtain the Special Education funding that Congress has promised for years but failed to deliver.

  • Improve the Principal Pipeline, so San Diego Unified educators have the opportunity to rise into leadership positions within the District and our schools and administration have the benefit of high quality, well-prepared leadership with intimate knowledge of and relationships with our neighborhoods and communities.

  • Ethnic Studies, so that students can receive a culturally responsive education from teachers with whom they can identify.

  • Comprehensive climate curriculum, to give students the tools they need to lead the effort to confront climate change.

  • Completion of Climate Action Plan to make San Diego Unified a national leader in establishing and achieving a zero carbon target.

  • Reduce energy costs and carbon emissions by increasing our solar energy and battery storage capacity

  • Ensure collaboration with SANDAG to secure funding to improve the ease and safety of bike and walking routes between local communities and neighborhood schools

Cody Petterson


  • San Diego Education Association

  • San Diego County Democratic Party

  • San Diego Union-Tribune

  • American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931

  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest

  • Sierra Club

  • California League of Conservation Voters

  • Moms Demand Action

  • San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention

  • San Diego Democratic Education Alliance

  • San Diego County Young Democrats

  • UCSD College Democrats

  • San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action

  • San Diego Democrats for Equality

  • Democratic Woman's Club of San Diego County

  • San Diego Labor Democratic Club

  • AAPI Democratic Club

  • La Jolla Democratic Club

  • University City Democratic Club

  • Pacific Beach Democratic Club

  • Point Loma-Ocean Beach Democratic Club

  • Progressive Democrats of America

  • San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council

  • Administrators Association San Diego City Schools

  • Palomar Faculty Federation

  • Carpenters Local 619

  • LiUNA Local 89

  • Toni Atkins, State Senate President Pro Tempore

  • Chris Ward, Assemblymember

  • Tasha Boerner-Horvath, Assemblymember

  • Nathan Fletcher, San Diego County Supervisor

  • Nora Vargas, San Diego County Supervisor

  • Terra Lawson-Remer, San Diego County Supervisor

  • Sean Elo-Rivera, San Diego City Council President

  • Joe LaCava, San Diego City Councilmember

  • Monica Montgomery, San Diego City Councilmember

  • Raul Campillo, San Diego City Councilmember

  • Marni von Wilpert, San Diego City Councilmember

  • Jack Shu, La Mesa City Councilmember

  • Lily Higman, Public Education Advocate/SDUSD Parent

  • Tammy Reina, California Teacher of the Year

  • Gregg Robinson, San Diego County Board of Education Trustee

  • Rick Shea, San Diego County Board of Education Trustee

  • Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified Trustee

  • Sabrina Bazzo, San Diego Unified Trustee

  • Michael McQuary, San Diego Unified Trustee

  • John Lee Evans, Former San Diego Unified Trustee

  • Cheryl Robertson, Lemon Grove School District Trustee

  • Eric Joyce, Oceanside Unified Trustee

  • Paula Hall, Sweetwater Union Trustee

  • Cipriano Vargas, Vista Unified Trustee

  • Debbie Justeson, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Trustee

  • Maria Nieto-Senour, San Diego Community College Trustee

Cody Petterson


  • Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs/Senior Advisor for Land Use, Education, and Environment, Office of San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer

  • Lecturer, University of California, San Diego, Department of Anthropology

  • Governing Board Member, San Diego River Conservancy

  • Secretary, Site Governance Team, Torrey Pines Elementary School

  • Secretary, Board of Directors, San Diego International Sister Cities Association

  • Trustee, La Jolla Town Council

  • Board Member, Volcan Mountain Foundation

  • Member, Educate for the Future

  • Member, San Diego Progressive School Board Coalition

  • Member, UC-AFT 1474

  • Immediate Past President, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action

  • Former Board Member, Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego

  • Former Member, Executive Committee, Sierra Club San Diego

  • Co-founder, Public Power San Diego

  • Member, Build Better San Diego

  • ADEM Delegate, California Democratic State Central Committee

  • County Central Committee Delegate, California Democratic State Central Committee

Cody Petterson


Endorsement: Cody Petterson can bring more change to San Diego Unified school board than Becca Williams, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 7, 2022

“In his interview, Petterson often didn’t sound like an establishment voice at all…he showed a fluency on the issues, starting with the achievement gap and the need for the district to practice “maximum openness” in dealing with the public. He seems more likely to effect change than Williams. The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board endorses Cody Petterson in Sub-District C.

“What a school board does is bring to bear the values and interests of the constituents that support the district and ensure that the district is guided by those values and interests.”

— Dr. Cody Petterson

Cody Petterson campaigns for San Diego Unified School Board’s District C, KUSI, Good Evening San Diego with Ginger Jeffries, May 9, 2022

“I have a fierce commitment to the district and to public education more broadly. I am the only active educator in the race, and I wrestle daily with remote learning, pedagogy, lesson planning, grading, and maintaining student engagement and motivation.”

— Dr. Cody Petterson

2022 election: Q&A with District C San Diego school board candidate Cody Petterson, The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 15, 2022

"I was born and raised in this district. I grew up a block from La Jolla Elementary, my mom was a PTA president, the teachers of San Diego Unified were really my extended family."

— Dr. Cody Petterson

Cody Petterson campaigns as union candidate for San Diego Unified Board, District C, KUSI, Good Morning San Diego with Paul Rudy, May 26, 2022

“I am going to take an opportunity to help guide this generation that is going to have to pick up the pieces and build a new world, and not to indoctrinate them,” he said, “but to give them those first principles that allow them to figure out what that new world’s going to look like.”

— Dr. Cody Petterson

Cody Petterson’s Quixotic Crusade For Change Animates His Run For SDUSD’s District C Board Seat, Voice of San Diego, Jakob McWhinney, August 17, 2022

“I’ve spent my entire life growing roots in the district and have served its residents in many volunteer and professional capacities…I am running to address the concrete needs and concerns of the thousands of students, parents, teachers, classified employees, administrators and local community members I know and have known over nearly five decades in the district, like declining enrollment; class size; combo classes; transitional kindergarten; district communication; human resource issues; teacher recruitment, retention, and training; career and technical education; dual enrollment; early literacy; and improved special education.”

— Dr. Cody Petterson

Nov. 2022 Election: Q&A with Cody Petterson, candidate for San Diego Unified School Board, Sub-District C, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 7, 2022

Media Resources