In preparation for Palo Alto Weekly’s coverage of the Palo Alto Unified School Board’s campaign, we solicited questions from our readers about what concerns them most about the school district.
From the many excellent responses, we created a short survey in the hope that it would help clarify the differences between the four candidates. They discussed their main interests and experiences in teaching. They also voiced their opinions on student achievement, learning losses due to COVID-19, diversity and inclusion, superintendents and innovation.
Candidate responses on all these topics will be published as individual articles once a day until September 26th. Here are the candidate’s responses to the following questions: What is your experience teaching in Palo Alto? What are your qualifications to serve on the school board?
After spending hundreds of hours researching the education we want for our children, we decided to plant our young family’s roots in Palo Alto. And now our children are her PAUSD students. My oldest child is at TK in Palo Verde and my youngest is in her PreSchool Family program at Greendell.
Education is the key to equity in our community. Without equity in the education and opportunities provided to children in public schools, all other equity initiatives (governments, workplaces, etc.) will fail. As a dual major in Gender and Ethnic Studies, I formally study systemic inequalities and have seen first-hand the opportunity gaps in public schools. I volunteered in a less privileged, predominantly Latino school district where students were not reading at the 10th grade grade level. I volunteered to tutor and mentor Asian-American middle school students who were Vietnamese-American in 2007, and I saw a similar gap in opportunities for those students. Experience has taught me how difficult and necessary it is to close the opportunity gap.
My diverse professional experience has prepared me to serve on the Board of Education. As an attorney, I have experience navigating complex legal matters, assessing and dealing with liability and risks, negotiating contracts, and managing mediations. Experienced in managing hiring issues, growing teams and managing partner relationships while intentionally building a positive culture within an organization. I brought my startup grit and grit to a large tech company, where I lead dozens of employees, contractors and vendors, manage multi-million dollar budgets, and scale complex operations. and found common ground among diverse stakeholders with different interests. These are valuable skills for school board members.
The past four years on the board, including as president at the reopening of schools, have given me a lot of experience in overseeing the school district. During that time, I immersed myself in as many working committees as I could to get a better understanding of how the district works. This includes property, board bond oversight, board policy review, board stock oversight, and the Fiscal Advisory Committee. I worked to increase the efficiency of the Board’s Policy Review Committee to close the backlog of policy updates. I have spearheaded the transition from the Property Commission to a standing Brown Law Commission, engaged with the community, and worked substantively on building proposals. I led the creation of the Fixed Income Oversight Committee and the Equity Oversight Committee, which I chaired. Both have made significant contributions in the fields of construction and equities. These experiences have provided many insights into the impact of committee work on the integrity of proposals submitted to the Board. This includes several months of stakeholder engagement before the item reaches the board agenda.
My experience growing up in Palo Alto schools has also given me perspective on how specific issues (such as mental health and academic inequities) affect students in the long term. It also provides me with an intangible context mixed with connection, gratitude, and a duty to make the district better, which drives my service.
I was a student (Ohlone, JLS, and Gunn). I am currently the parent of two of her PAUSD students and a substitute teacher in the PAUSD classroom.
I run a school consulting business, advising Peninsula families (both new and longtime residents) on how to evaluate local school options. Nearly two decades of these roles all give me experience, a long-term perspective, and a unique lens on her PAUSD.
My education and professional background, along with my extensive PAUSD experience, allow me to qualify as a member of the school board to:
• Master’s Degree in Education, Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, California Teaching Credential, Management Credential.
• I was an English Language and English Development (ELD) teacher at Limbrook High School in San Jose for 10 years and was the ELD Chair for 7 years.
• PAUSD substitute teacher (current).
• School consultants to new and current parents on the Peninsula (pending campaign).
While teaching, I served on the WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) committee and co-wrote the application for the Distinguished School Award. This includes taking responsibility for evaluating data, setting improvement goals, collaborating, evaluating results, and meeting the needs of all learners.
My board service and departmental leadership required collaborative collaboration, listening, and empathy to understand the perspectives of diverse stakeholders. As Head of Department, I managed her ELD budget with other educators at the school.
Finally, I represent an independent voice on the school board. I am new to politics but I feel I should run for office because I know I can make a difference at this critical time. I am encouraged by this support and want to work hard to serve the PAUSD family.
My qualification to serve on the School Board comes from being a devoted parent and loving mother of two children who have traveled PAUSD at Nixon, Fletcher and now at Gunn University. The transition of the school system has given us the opportunity to witness all the different stages of educational progress for children at PAUSD.
In addition, having a business management background, I am able to discuss revenues, revenues, expenses, budgets, allocations, and resource reassignment. PAUSD is like a big company with accounting accountability and good government leadership. There are so many cogs that require cooperation and validation to make a financially sound organization work at its best. The student’s transitional experience and business background make him a good fit for the school board. Any business would be happy to have my experience on their side.
Check back tomorrow with Palo Alto Online for the candidate’s take on another school district’s issue.