Published May 12, 2022
BY SHAYLA DUTTA
Alongside two other recipients, Tess Arthur, who currently serves as Carmel Unified School District’s Board Clerk, was recognized by Carmel Valley and Congressman Jimmy Panetta with the annual Good Egg community service award on April 3 for her notable commitment to serving and bettering her community.
“It is an opportunity to give tribute to outstanding community organizers and community volunteers throughout the Carmel Valley,” explains Monterey District Supervisor Mary Adams, who was asked to present a Good Egg award to another philanthropic citizen. “Our community is a very special place to live, and one of the reasons is so many people like Tess.”
Tess Arthur moved to the Monterey Peninsula more than three decades ago, eventually settling in Carmel Valley and enrolling her two children at Tularcitos Elementary School. After progressing from president of Tularcitos’ Parent Teacher Organization to substitute teacher and then teacher aide, it became clear education was where she thrived.
“I decided, you know what? This is an incredible school and an incredible environment, and I wanted to work with kids,” Arthur explains. “That’s kind of how it started.”
While at Tularcitos, the educator founded Bucks for Bobcats, a lasting volunteer program for their PTO, and later took on Operation Padre to raise over $650,000 for Carmel High School’s turf field. She later began working in classrooms in Cachagua, addressing needs there by operating a summer program and raising money for sports facilities among other projects.
“I realized I really wanted to become a board member so I could do more for all the kids in our district,” says Arthur, who was elected as the Board’s clerk in 2018. “I did it out of wanting to completely give back to the community, but it’s also been an incredibly difficult role for me. It’s been fraught with a lot of difficult decisions in the past couple of years.”
As a board member, Arthur expressed pride for CUSD’s work on a COVID-19 food bank, which delivered over 120 boxes of food each week and began hosting nightly dinners for those in need. These deliveries made an effort to reach the more remote parts of the district and lasted for more than five months.
“The Good Egg award is often given to people who are behind the scenes,” Adams says. “They aren’t really big public figures, they’re volunteers who really put their heart and soul into helping make our community a place where people can thrive. Tess Arthur is really a good example of that.”
Previously run by Carmel Valley’s Chamber of Commerce, now former recipients of the same award nominate new candidates to receive the award at an event open to all Carmel Valley residents. This includes Alan Crockett, a 2018 recipient, who nominated Arthur along with Teresa Goldberg, a teacher at Tularcitos.
“The award is a distinction given to people who have made a significant difference to the community over an extended period of time,” says Crockett, likening it to a Citizen of the Year Award.
Crockett, a longtime Valley resident involved in several nonprofit organizations, came to know Arthur through the Community Fund for Carmel Valley– an organization which allocates money to other local nonprofits–and expresses amazement at her ability to bring people together.
“She was just a dynamo. You know, I could tell instantly that she was special,” Crockett says. When announcing her award, he summarized, “Tess can’t say ‘no,’ and no one can say ‘no’ to Tess.”
Although the pandemic was difficult both personally and professionally for Arthur, she continues to pursue her career in education and serve the Monterey Peninsula in several capacities, including teaching at Stevenson School and serving several school and community oriented boards.