Labor Relations Director, County of Santa Clara
Former Labor Mediator Negotiated Her Way to an MPA
Sandra Poole grew up in Napa, California, the daughter of a welder and a waitress. After dropping out of high school at 16, and getting divorced after a brief marriage, she raised three daughters, a younger brother, and eventually a grandson, by herself.
Sandra’s first venture back to school resulted in a license as a psychiatric technician followed by work at hospitals in Napa and Sonoma. This forged the path to working as a union representative, which culminated in her position as CEO and chief negotiator of a public sector labor union for more than 20 years. She completed her bachelor’s degree in government at Cal State Sonoma.
She worked for three years as a labor mediator for the State of California, and mediated more than 200 labor disputes across Northern California. Currently, Sandra is the labor relations director for the County of Santa Clara and an instructor at UC Davis. Her proudest accomplishment is raising three loving daughters who lead happy, productive, and stable lives.