Meet the Board
Elected to the Board in 2010
Current Term: 2022 – 2026
Emily is a native of San Diego and has lived in Encinitas for the last seventeen years. She attended San Diego State University earning a B.A in English and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Reading. She has three adult children who were all educated in public schools and the California university system.
Emily had the pleasure of working as an educator for 37 years. She worked in the Santee School District from 1972 to 1989 serving as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, curriculum coordinator and vice principal. From 1989 to 2006, Emily served as an elementary school principal in the Encinitas Union School District at three schools, La Costa Heights, Olivenhain Pioneer, and Capri. In 2006 she returned to the Santee School District as an Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services (curriculum and instruction). She retired in September, 2009, She was elected to the EUSD Governing Board in 2010 and reelected in 2014.
During her career, Emily won multiple awards for her exceptional leadership as an educator including: Greater San Diego Reading Association Award of Excellence-2003, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, National Blue Ribbon Principal – 2001, Junior Achievement Chairman’s Education Award – 2001, California Distinguished School’s Principal Award-1997, Encinitas Union School District Administrator of the Year – 1997, Leadership 2000 Outstanding North County Principal – 1992, ACSA Region XVIII Exemplary Co-Administrator – 1987-88 and Santee School District Management Employee of the Year – 1989.
Emily has a sincere passion for children and is dedicated to providing a quality education for every child. She is also committed to service to others. She is a member of the Encinitas Rotary Club where she is an active participant in local and international service projects. Additionally, she supports service endeavors through her church including the Kids Kingdom Orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico.
Elected to the Board in 1998
Current Term: 2022 – 2026
Marla Strich is an active participant in both school and community organizations. Her involvement with the District began as serving as a co-chair of the successful campaign for the District’s $29.5 million facilities school modernization bond in 1996. She has served as chairperson of the Ocean Knoll Elementary and San Dieguito Academy School Site Councils and as Ocean Knoll’s PTA Legislative Vice President. Ocean Knoll PTA awarded her the Golden Oak, PTA’s highest award.
Marla was appointed to the California School Board’s Association Delegate Assembly in 2017. She serves as Legislative Chair for the San Diego County School Boards Association. Mrs. Strich also participates on the District’s Legislative Action Committee. She was President of the San Dieguito Academy Foundation Board. She has been a member of the Legislative Action Network and Strategic Planning Committee for the San Dieguito Union High School District and participates in the North Coastal Regional Legislative Action Network. She has traveled to Sacramento numerous times to lobby for public education and has also advocated for our children in Washington, DC as part of the National School Board Association’s Federal Relations Network. She has served as School Board President four times during her tenure. In 2000 she completed the California School Board Association’s Masters in Governance professional development series.
In addition to serving as a classroom volunteer for many years, Marla was a Girl Scout Leader for ten years, and has been a member of the Girl Scout Leadership Team in Encinitas and a Cub Scout den leader. She continues as one of the adult leadership team for San Dieguito Academy’s Robotics Team, Team Paradox, coordinating FIRST Lego League Robotics activities and competitions. She was recognized as 2016 Volunteer of the Year by FIRST Lego League Southern California Region for her contributions to the growth of the program. She was Ocean Knoll Elementary’s Volunteer of the Year in 2002, for her many school and community-related activities.
Marla has resided in Encinitas for the past 31 years with her husband Dan. Their two children both attended Ocean Knoll Elementary from Kindergarten through sixth grade. Mrs. Strich graduated from Northwestern University and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. She worked for non-profit organizations for fifteen years.
“I am committed to excellence for all students of the Encinitas Union School District.”
Elected to the Board in November, 2020
Current Term: 2020 – 2024
Marlon Taylor is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and has lived in Encinitas for the last thirteen years. He served in the U.S. Navy as a Cryptologist for twenty years and retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 2010. While in the Navy, he served as the lead instructor and curriculum developer for the Navy’s “Basic Cryptologic Afloat Training” class. During that assignment Mr. Taylor earned the Master Training Specialist qualification. After retiring from the Navy, he earned his B.A. in Marketing and an M.B.A. in HR Management from National University.
Marlon is the father of two children that are currently enrolled in Encinitas schools, Flora Vista Elementary and Diegueno Middle. Marlon is an active participant in school and community organizations. He served as Room Parent and PTA Restaurant Night Coordinator, raising over $8,000 for the Encinitas Educational Foundation at Flora Vista Elementary. In addition to serving over six years as a Board Member of his Homeowners Association, he has volunteered as a basketball and soccer coach, mentoring young athletes.
Marlon serves on the board for Encinitas 4 Equality and is also a member of the North San Diego County NAACP where he serves as chair on multiple action committees.
Elected to the Board in 2010
Current Term: 2018 – June 13, 2022
Gregg Sonken passed away in June 2022 after a valiant battle with cancer. Gregg was steadfast in his commitment to education. He never wavered from his belief and conviction that children should come first in every decision.
He was a 34 year resident of the Encinitas Union School District. Gregg attended UCLA, graduating Cum Laude while earning his Bachelor of Arts in History. He received a Master’s Degree from United States International University. Gregg’s four children were all students of the Encinitas Union School District. His oldest daughter, following his footsteps, is an elementary special education teacher.
Gregg started as a teacher in the Encinitas Union School District in 1979. He taught 5th and 6th grade at Pacific View Elementary and then served as a Principal at Capri, Paul Ecke Central and Mission Estancia. Under his leadership, Paul Ecke Central earned the National Title I Distinguished School Award, and at Mission Estancia under his direction, the school earned California Distinguished School recognition. In 2007, Mission Estancia earned the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School Award. Gregg was recognized as the Encinitas Union School District’s’ Administrator of the Year in 2009. He retired that year to devote full-time attention to the family’s business and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2010.