Commissioner Naomi Rainey
SECRETARY, BOARD OF WATER COMMISSIONERS
Naomi Rainey was selected and sworn in to the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners on October 19, 2020 by Mayor Robert Garcia. Ms. Rainey is an award-winning educator, philanthropist, entrepreneur and civil rights activist who has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of community members, including many at-risk children.
Ms. Rainey has been actively involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since the age of 14. A past vice president of the California State Conference NAACP, she has served as president of the NAACP’s Long Beach Branch since 2000. Under her leadership, the branch received the national Thalheimer Award eighteen times in two categories– programs and publications– the NAACP’s top honor for outstanding achievements by branches.
From 1975-2003, Ms. Rainey was an educator and administrator in the Long Beach Unified and Compton Unified School District. She also served as special assistant to the Superintendent at Compton Unified, assistant principal at Millikan and Poly High Schools and served on special assignment to the High School Superintendent for Long Beach Unified. In 2009, she was appointed by former Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Advisory Commission on Special Education.
Ms. Rainey has served on many volunteer boards and commissions, including those of Long Beach City College Foundation, St. Mary’s Medical Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute and Long Beach Cancer League. She has received countless special honors and recognition for her efforts, including Cancer League Hero of Long Beach, Soroptimist International Woman of the Year – Education, California Conference for Equality and Justice Humanitarian Award, Teacher and Administrator of the Year, and City of Long Beach Martin Luther King, Jr. Peacemaker Award.
A proud alumna of California State University, Long Beach, Ms. Rainey holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, two master’s degrees in education and several teaching credentials. In 1987, the CSULB College of Education presented her with its Distinguished Alumna Award, and in 2010, she was the recipient of the CSULB President’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, in recognition of her service to and support of the university – including as a past member of the CSULB Alumni Association and as a donor to the Rainey Scholarship – CSULB named Residence Hall C in Hillside College “The Naomi Rainey House.” She was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Letters from California State Long Beach College of Liberal Arts in 2019.
Rainey, widow of the late Paul Pierson, is currently married to Elmer Erdmann.