Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom: another successful Cuyamaca College alum

Mary Sessom
Another entry in our series of successful Grossmont and Cuyamaca college graduates.
Mary Sessom was already a practicing attorney when she decided to take a class in child development at Cuyamaca College. She stuck with the program, earning her associate’s degree in 1992 and gaining knowledge that has made her a better lawyer, parent – and now a grandmother.
Sessom, who specialized in family law and was frequently involved in litigating child custody issues, said her knowledge of child development made it easier for her to talk to child psychologists and make a better argument during court proceedings.
“I knew how to present the issue in the best interest of the child which is usually what my client wanted,” Sessom said. “The other attorney could speak legalese, but he didn’t know how to speak to the psychologists.”
In addition to her work as an attorney, Sessom has had a deep commitment to serving her community. Since 1996, she has served as the mayor of Lemon Grove, a city with about 25,000 residents in eastern San Diego County. She also served as PTA president at her children’s school, and was a founder of the Lemon Grove Educational Foundation, the school district’s fundraising organization.   She continues to participate in community events such as the Relay for Life and the Lemon Grove Historical Society.
A few months after she graduated from Cuyamaca, she was contacted by a faculty member who was putting together a new paralegal studies program for the college. She was hired to teach one of the classes, which evolved into a full-time professorship. Sessom is now coordinator of Cuyamaca’s business and professional studies program.  She also serves as faculty advisor to the Paralegal Studies student club.

Sessom recently became a grandmother and said she notices that her knowledge of child development springs forth when she sees her infant grandson reach learning milestones. She marvels at how her life has changed, all because of that decision to take a class at Cuyamaca College. 
“Looking back, I realize where I’m at in a job I love, and it all started because I thought it would be fun to take an Introduction to Child Development class at Cuyamaca,” she said. “It’s incredible how that journey has unfolded.”