Bringing Oversight, Accountability
and Transparency back to the Board!
Margaret was elected to the CalPERS Board by all members in 2017. Known as the “CalPERS Watchdog” she has been instrumental in ensuring that CalPERS’ business is conducted in an open, transparent, and impartial manner.
Margaret is a seasoned financial manager and a strong force on the Board because she studies the issues carefully, listens attentively to retiree concerns, creates opportunities needed debate, holds CalPERS staff accountable, and supports prudent investment strategies to grow the fund.
Margaret places special emphasis on improving healthcare outcomes for members including new approaches for controlling doctor, hospital and prescription drug costs.
Margaret is retired from the Business Services division of the Garden Grove
Unified School District where she served as director of facilities, responsible for the planning, funding, and construction of large-scale capital projects. Over the course of her 30-year career Margaret administered billions of dollars in capital program expenditures for school construction and rehabilitation, including real estate acquisition and disposition. She managed financial records for review by boards, state auditors, and independent citizen oversight committees.
Margaret’s mother was a teacher for Garden Grove USD retiring in 2004. Her father had a 20-year Navy career, then retired as a Letter Carrier in 1998. Her parents provided a loving middle-class upbringing that emphasized hard work, respect for your elders, and a positive attitude. Margaret credits her family foundation with the ability to maintain strength and integrity despite a diagnosis of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in 2009.
A combination of disabling health issues left Margaret without income or healthcare for a period of time, but with true G-R-I-T and determination, she was eventually able to rebuild her personal and work life.
Margaret’s grandparents (Bob & Marge Valdez) worked their entire lives for the State at the Cow Palace. They were comfortable in retirement with a stable pension, social security, State supplemented Medicare benefits and family nearby to help. They lived well into their 90’s and never worried whether their pensions were secure or how they would pay for healthcare. Their retirement was secure. However, in 2017 CalPERS cut pensions to workers because employers failed to fully fund their pensions.
Pension Security needs to be protected and Margaret is a fighter. She fights for active employees and retirees in her service on the CalPERS board. In addtion to the Board of Administration she serves members on the following committees: Investment; Risk & Audit; Pension & Health Benefits; and Performance, Compensation & Talent Management.
Margaret served on board of directors for the Coalition for Adequate School Housing, a non-profit that advocates for K-12 facilities funding to improve school facilities in California. She currently resides in Apple Valley, CA where she is surrounded by the love of her family including grandchildren, Hazel, Fiona and Philip. Margaret’s eldest daughter lives in northern California and teaches Chemistry at Dozier-Libby Medical HS. Her grandchild Breanna, is a senior and will be attending UC Davis in the fall. Margaret’s son lives in Colorado and works for a defense contractor in IT.