A uniquely Escondido story.
Christi Knight is a 1994 graduate of EUHSD whose passion for public service emerged during her high school years. As a student at Orange Glen and Valley High School, Christi thrived in various leadership positions and was chosen for the role of Student Board Member in 1993.
20 years later, Christi returned to the board room to tell her story, this time as a member of the Board of Education. As a junior at Orange Glen High School, she had felt a sense of mediocrity and found herself less and less interested in school. Christi began working an after-school job that sparked a sense of self-worth and value that she had never experienced before. She began looking for a change. She learned of an independent study program at Orange Glen that would allow her to do her schoolwork at home so she could work more. However, there was a two-month waiting list and she was told she would have to wait. When you are 15 years old, patience is not your strongest character trait.
Despite the reluctance of her parents, Christi enrolled at Valley High School. As a student who was not behind in credits and doing well academically, she was not the typical student at Valley High. Her first two weeks at Valley were spent in the Response-ability Training Program, where she learned integrity, accountability and responsibility in a way that profoundly changed her self-esteem. When the time came, she proudly passed up her opportunity for independent study and chose to graduate from Valley High School and was named 1994 class valedictorian.
Christi has spent 10 years working in public policy at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and three years as an advisor to the Director of the Health and Human Services Agency. Christi currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Third District which encompasses Escondido. Christi develops policy initiatives on issues related to health, education, social services, and public safety.
Christi has built strong relationships with community leaders across all sectors and has developed ongoing partnerships that support our students and their families. She advocated for and secured grant funding, on behalf of the elementary and high school districts, to provide additional on-campus food distribution opportunities for our families, in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank.
Christi serves as the EUHSD Board Member representative for Escondido Education COMPACT. Christi has been a champion for the Achievement Center, an effective youth diversion program that opened last fall in partnership with the County Probation Department. She is a fierce advocate for making investments in our youth before they ever reach a point of crisis or encounter law enforcement. She fundamentally believes in the power of community-based mentorship opportunities and helping our youth to realize their full potential.
Christi is a wife and mother of two young boys–Diego and Abraham. Christi was married in 2007 to Germán Sarmiento. Germán was a high-school teacher in Colombia before immigrating to the US. Christi and Germán had a shared passion for inspiring youth. In 2010, they bought a home in Christi’s hometown of Escondido and welcomed their son Diego in 2011. When Diego was only three months old, Germán was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Over the following 18 months, he underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy, countless blood transfusions and two bone marrow transplants with the hope of sustaining his life. Sadly, Germán died when Diego was 20 months old.
As a young widow and single working mother, Christi vowed to live a life filled with gratitude and love and to be an example of resilience to her young son.
Those qualities of grace and grit were what attracted Abraham King while attending the Orange Glen 20-year high school reunion in the summer of 2014. Abraham and Christi were married at Maple Street Plaza in downtown Escondido in 2015 and proudly welcomed their son Abraham II in 2016. Their family lives in the Old Escondido neighborhood and are actively engaged in making Escondido a community everyone can be proud to call home.