Carol Lee Tolbert, A Civic Leader Raising Oakland’s Pride


Carol Lee Tolbert, an Oakland native, is the first and only African-American woman elected to public office in North Oakland.


From 1993 to 1997, Tolbert served on the Oakland School Board, and from 2010 to 2012, Tolbert served as Chair of the Career Technical Advisory Committee where she introduced community service as a graduation requirement for Oakland students. She also represented the District at the signing of the School-To-Work Opportunities Act at the White House under President Bill Clinton in 1994.


In 2001, Tolbert’s education firm was hired by the California Department of Education to work with schools throughout the state to improve student Academic Performance Index (API) test scores. Tolbert’s expertise resulted in annual test score increases as much as 170 points for African-American students and 95 points for Hispanic students.


In 2002, her testimony before the California Senate Committee on Education led to the creation of the Supplemental Education Support (SES) Program that provides free academic assistance for youth performing below grade, leveling the educational playing field for low income and minority youth.


Since 2007, Tolbert has focused on helping probation youth in Alameda County. She designed the Education Intervention Program that improves their academic performance, behavior and attendance. The program has helped hundreds of youth get back on track for school and life success.


Civic Pride, Inc., founded by Tolbert in 1989, spearheaded the civic awareness and engagement movement throughout the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area. Civic Pride, Inc. is a not-for-profit volunteer organization dedicated to providing youth the opportunities to develop responsible leadership and citizenship skills.


Since 2006, the ‘Knowledge Is Power’ Youth Leadership Conference has helped youth become college, career and community ready. Civic Pride, Inc. also provides college scholarships and recognizes businesses, individuals and community organizations for making a difference. The organization has received recognition from The White House, United States Congress, California Senate, Oakland mayors, and the California House of Representatives for its impact on communities in the Bay Area. Additional information can be found at


Carol Lee Tolbert is the recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award, John George Social Justice Award, Woman On Fire Award, Mary McCloud Bethune Education Award, Marcus Foster Apple Award, Peacemaker’s Civic Award, City of Oakland Proclamations, and the Southwest Airlines Hometown Hero Award among others.


Carol Lee Tolbert is married to Dr. Joel Tolbert, Sr., and resides in Oakland. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and Teaching Credential. When asked about her accomplishments, Tolbert attributes them to her family values, Christian upbringing, community support, and passion for education.


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