A longtime local public school official and former nonprofit executive is taking over San Diego’s new Office of Child and Youth Success, a city agency created last year to boost equity by coordinating services and activities available to young people.
Andrea O’Hara, who has led purchasing and contracting efforts for San Diego Unified and served as a budget analyst for Neighborhood House, was hired by Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday to lead the city’s new youth office after a national search.
Her focus will be on increasing access to child care, linking young San Diegans to resources that will help them thrive personally and professionally, and boosting access to opportunities and resources for low-income residents and minorities.
“I am excited and passionate to collaborate with key stakeholders to develop and implement this new office,” said O’Hara, predicting the office will create significant and lasting change. “I understand the importance of a successful central resource for San Diego families and youth.”
O’Hara’s starting annual salary is $170,000. Mayor Gloria is proposing a total budget of $444,000 for the new youth office.
Gloria said the new office will help ensure the city is serving the needs of young people now and in the future.
“We know that we can build deeper and more impactful relationships that benefit the children of this community, as well as their parents,” Gloria said.
Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said the new office is an example of the city shifting from talking about a problem to taking action.
“San Diego should be a city where every young person has an opportunity to be happy, healthy and prepared to reach their potential,” Elo-Rivera said. “The city is taking action by investing in youth and establishing an office dedicated to making that vision a reality.”
Councilmember Raul Campillo praised O’Hara’s experience.
“I am thrilled Mayor Gloria has selected a person with the depth of experience fighting for the welfare of our children and youth in San Diego,” he said.
O’Hara received a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in organizational leadership from Ashford University. She is pursuing a business leadership certificate from the University of Southern California.
O’Hara, who attended high school in San Diego, is a longtime Girl Scouts volunteer. Her first day with the city was Monday.
She began career with San Diego Unified in 2011. Her stint with nonprofit Neighborhood House was before that.
Her hiring means that nearly 60 percent of San Diego city departments are led by women and that more than 40 percent are led by people of color. Mayor Gloria has made diversifying the city’s leadership a priority.