Cynthia Terry, Inductee
LBCC Alumni Hall of Fame 2020-2021


Born in Chickasha, OK, Cynthia Terry grew up in a home where creativity and genius manifested and her parents allowed her and her siblings to grow into themselves.

She moved to Long Beach as a child, when her mother convinced her father, a door-to-door doctor serving rural African American and Native American communities, to move out west and open his own practice.

Cynthia learned a great deal from her parents. From her father, she learned how to work hard. From her mother, she learned how to uplift her community through open-hearted service and volunteerism.

After graduating from Saint Anthony High School in Long Beach, Cynthia attended Long Beach City College. When she first enrolled, she thought she’d become a nurse, but LBCC opened her eyes to new possibilities and helped her grow into her own path. While at LBCC, she took a job as a classroom aide with Long Beach Unified School District, and she knew from that point on that she wanted to dedicate her life to education.

This decision was solidified when she applied to be a LBUSD teacher – a process she loved every moment of and that left her feeling validated in her career choice.

When she started teaching, Cynthia wanted to be that teacher. The teacher that made learning fun, that opened students’ minds to the joys of education. Over her nearly 40 years at Long Beach Unified, Cynthia was that teacher, not only to countless students, but also to her fellow teachers and administrators.

Adopting the motto “teach the teachers,” Cynthia discovered her hidden talent of working with new educators, providing training and support that helped them thrive and, in some cases, be that teacher for their own students. It is for precisely this reason that Cynthia spent the last 14 years of her career at LBUSD as a principal and would go on to provide personalized support to aspiring administrators through the Los Angeles Office of Education after retiring from Long Beach.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Cynthia, or the World’s Greatest Overachiever as her family calls her, serves and has served on the board of numerous community organizations including the Assistance League of Long Beach, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the Junior League of Long Beach. She’s also one of the newest members of the Board of Governors for the Long Beach City College Foundation.

Cynthia is a firm believer that people need to bloom where they are planted, and has spent her life nurturing those around her to build a more vibrant, healthy community.

Click here or on the image above to view Cynthia’s induction video.