City Holds Second Bilingual LEAD Goleta Academy

Congrats to the 31 Graduates Who Completed Six Week Program – Brighten Your Day by Watching our Recap Video

Relive the City’s second bilingual LEAD Goleta Academy with our recap video and photo album. This is the 4th LEAD Goleta Academy the City has held, and the second time the program included Spanish interpretation and translated materials. LEAD stands for Learn, Empower, Advocate, and Discuss. For six consecutive weeks, 31 participants, including six Spanish speakers, met for two plus hours and learned about how the City of Goleta is run. On February 15, 2024, the group completed its final class which included participants receiving a graduation certificate and a City of Goleta pin from the Mayor and City Council. For the first time the graduation ceremony was held at the Goleta Community Center and included family and friends of the graduates.

Mayor Paula Perotte applauded the group for their participation and said, “I hope you will take what you learned and share it with your neighbors, friends, and loved ones, and consider being on a Board or Commission, running for City Council, and staying engaged.”

Community Relations Manager Kelly Hoover said, “This was a very special class. They came in the door every week eager to learn and ready to get to know the City and each other. They were incredibly social, enthusiastic and asked great questions. We all learned a lot together during our time. We will miss seeing their faces every week but know they will stay connected.”

There was a lot to cover over the six-week class. The program began with participants hearing from the City Manager, Mayor and City Council. Additional weeks covered the other facets that make up a City. There were presentations from the City Attorney’s Office, City Clerk’s Office, Finance, Planning, Sustainability, Environmental Services, Neighborhood Services, Homelessness, Emergency Services, Goleta Police, Goleta Valley Library, Public Works, Park and Recreation, Parks and Open Space and Community Outreach. Besides getting a behind the scenes look at each of these divisions, the participants also participated in a Mock City Council meeting and took tours of the Goleta Valley Library and Goleta Community Center. The last class also featured a Goleta Trivia Game where the graduates got to put their knowledge to the test.

The diverse group of LEAD Goleta participants came from all different backgrounds and walks of life but had one thing in common, a love for Goleta and wanting to learn about how they can make their community a better place. The group included high school and college students, retirees, business professionals, community partners and overall Goleta enthusiasts. All were drawn to participate for different reasons.

Before receiving their certificates, the graduates went around the room and expressed what they enjoyed most about the Academy. Here are just a couple of the comments:

Gareth Kelly who played the role of Mayor in our Mock Council said, “I joined the LEAD Goleta Academy to learn more about our city and how it all works. These past weeks have been both eye-opening and rewarding. Even though Goleta is still a young city it’s clear it has an amazing group of staff and leaders who care about the city, its people, and its natural and open spaces – things that also matter to me. Learning about what goes into running a city has been fascinating, and I would recommend the LEAD Goleta Academy to everyone.”

Myah Mashhadialireza played the role of City Attorney in the Mock Council meeting. She said, The LEAD program was exceptional! I’ve learned a lot about how Goleta operates behind the scenes, the projects they work on and the people that make it happen.”

A huge thank you to our Spanish Engagement Specialist Marcos Martinez and to our Spanish interpreters Viviana Marsano and Hugo Santos for making this bilingual LEAD Goleta Community Academy possible.

If you are interested in signing up for a future LEAD Goleta class, please email to be notified when applications are available.

LEAD Goleta 2024 graduating class with the Goleta City Council

Spanish-speaking participants with City of Goleta Spanish Engagement Specialist Marcos Martinez and interpreters Viviana Marsano and Hugo Santos

Mock City Council meeting participants