From Michigan to California Tina Cullors Makes a Difference in Children’s’ Lives through Facility Planning and Construction Supervision

EH&A’s Associate of the Month

Tina Cullors, EH&A’s Associate for May

Working on a new school project can be as exhilarating as it can be frustrating. But as EH&A’s Associate Tina Cullors found out, it can also be life-changing. As she drove by the school that she had helped plan and build from start to finish, she heard the sounds of children happily playing and saw parents leaving their children knowing that they were safe and happy. The sights and sounds were extremely satisfying to her; and she suddenly realized that her passion was to continue to make a difference like this not only for school children, but for the community as well. She knew that a school was much more than just a building – it was a budding culture and a source of pride for the community. With the right set of plans and architectural designs, a school becomes the center for the community or the neighborhood and she wanted to be an integral component in bringing a project such as a new school to fruition. That day helped crystallize her dreams on becoming involved in school facility planning and construction.

Tina started her career in K-12 public education in 1985 as an Administrative Assistant, working 10 years in transportation and ultimately finding her way into the Facilities Department. It was here that she planned and helped supervise the construction of that elementary school. This was a far cry from growing up in Lansing, Michigan, where her father and other family members worked in the automotive industry. She still has a love for muscle cars, noisy race tracks, and reflects fondly upon her time at her father’s service station. In high school she participated in a school work program as an intern secretary at the junior high school she attended. She then became the intern secretary to the Director of Special Education typing IEP’s and physical therapy reports as well as working in the classrooms with physically challenged students. Tina loved working with students and continued in that role until she graduated. She later moved to the land of opportunity in California where she began her career serving school districts.

Tina also had a successful private-sector experience with Telecom working as a Site Acquisition Specialist with various school districts in the San Diego area. After working in K-12 education for 24 years and because of the success she achieved in working with school district staff and DSA, Tina joined EH&A in 2016. Her experiences serving California public school districts were varied including work in Transportation, Facilities, Maintenance, Operations, and Grounds. She served in various management positions in Facilities Planning, Construction Management, and directing the success of major modernization projects and new construction projects. Her success has been attributed to her ability to listen to the needs and wants from staff, students, parents, and community members all the while keeping them engaged and empowered. Tina is proud of her success negotiating with contractors and minimizing change orders to 5% or less.

Tina has successfully completed the Educational Facilities Planning Program at UCR and is currently obtaining her BA in Organizational Management. Tina has been recognized as “Administrator of the Year” by the Future Farmers of America. She also ran for a school board seat in her community in 2008, running a close race with a 30-year incumbent. Her 150 vote loss never stopped her commitment with that district and her outreach with her community.

Tina understands the needs and the challenges that school districts face in an evolving change in the economy and State laws, rules, and regulations. Tina’s experience also includes Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee, enrollment projections, working with local developers, city and county jurisdictions, district attendance boundaries, site selection and acquisition, and working with the community on shared use of facilities and public engagement.

Tina has three adult children. Her daughter Ali is a graduate of Cal State – San Marcos with a B.A. in Biology; and is now working in La Jolla as a bioengineer, analyzing a patient’s medications through DNA results. Her twin sons Jordan and Dylan live in San Marcos as full-time students at CSUSM and also as Biology majors. Jordan wants to be a Physician’s Assistant, and Dylan dreams of being an EMT. Both sons will be taking EMT training this summer for six weeks through UCR. Tina is a very proud of her children; and likewise, her children are very protective and supportive of her as embodied in their great bond of love and respect for each other.