Tim Sbranti '97 (Government)

Larger than life

It’s 10 a.m. and although that’s mid-morning for most people, for Mayor Tim Sbranti of Dublin, Calif., it’s half-way through a long day that started at 4:30 a.m. Up early most mornings reading and responding to emails is how Mayor Sbranti’s day begins, followed by teaching at his city’s high school, managing a nonprofit, coaching two varsity teams, taping a weekly sports broadcast and, of course, serving as mayor.

It wasn’t by default that Sbranti got to where he is. He knew early on he wanted to do something impactful, something that would help others, but he wasn’t quite sure what that was. And he jokes that he still doesn’t. But all joking aside, he does what he is good at which is teaching, leading by example and making a difference in his community—all things he credits to learning while a student at Sacramento State.

“When it was time for me to decide where I would attend college, my mother insisted that I apply to Sac State,” says Sbranti. “But I had second thoughts, I mean, that’s where my mom went to school.”

But his thoughts changed about Sacramento State one afternoon when Isabel Hernandez Serna spoke to his high school class. That day he went home and knew that he would attend the same school as his mother and later, his sister. Then things really began to come full circle when he studied as a government major under the late Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna.

As an assignment for Serna’s class, Sbranti interned for the local school district. It was through this experience that he developed his passion for education.

“Studying under Mayor Serna was great. It was inspirational,” Sbranti says.

After graduating with his government degree, he pursued his teaching credential and to this day teaches at his local high school. His teaching load is split between serving as Dublin High School’s student government activities director and overseeing an independent study program for at-risk youth—two areas that he is equally equipped to teach.

In addition to teaching and serving as mayor, he is the president of the nonprofit foundation Californians Dedicated to Education. The foundation, created by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s advisory team, strives to improve California’s public education system through cultivating partnerships and encouraging policy reform.

“Working with the foundation, I am making a difference statewide. In that sense, I’m not only connected to students in my community, but I am involved at a state and national level,” Sbranti says.

Tim Sbranti isn’t all politics, though. He tapes a weekly sports broadcast program aired on a local station and provides colorful commentary for the station’s televised high school football and basketball games. In his spare time he finds enjoyment coaching Dublin High School’s varsity tennis and basketball teams.

“I love coaching. It clears my head and is a great stress reliever, the perfect antidote just before going into a two-hour council meeting,” Sbranti says.

How did Sbranti get to be mayor of Dublin? Volunteering might have had something to do with it. His personal philosophy is deeply rooted in community service, which could explain his involvement with so many different organizations ranging from affordable housing to open space.

He currently is president of the Alameda County Mayors’ Conference and represents Dublin by serving on the Alameda County Transportation Commission, East Bay Regional Communications System Authority, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, IGATE Mayors’ Advisory Council and LAFCO.

“You just jump in with both feet first,” Sbranti says.

When asked to define what success looks like, the mayor pauses, takes a deep breath and replies, “Success is seeing your students become successful in their lives, both personally and professionally. It is rewarding to be a part of and see that.”

On another level of success, Sbranti is proud of his city. In 2011, the National Civic League named Dublin an All-American City, an honor bestowed upon only 10 cities nationally per year.

“There are not many who can say they brought back economic vitality to a city in the midst of such a severe recession. We were able to open a new community center, a heritage park and museum, a regional park, and are breaking ground on an indoor aquatics center,” Sbranti says.

To understand who Tim Sbranti is, well that’s somewhat easy. He is a down-to-earth guy who loves life. He describes himself as someone who is full of diverse passions, making the most of every day. But to understand the impact of what he does—as the go-to person for the 46,000 plus residents of his community, as a mentor to his students, as a role model for the teenagers he coaches—well that’s another thing.

This article was originally published in the December 2012 edition of Sac State Connection.