Several months ago, I had decided that I was going to step off the Santa Rosa City Schools Board of Education to focus on my new job as the founding Executive Director of the new independent nonprofit housing advocacy organization, Generation Housing. And I meant it! Always passionate about education, I knew then, and maintain now, that making real progress on our housing crisis is necessary to improve educational systems and outcomes. Our students, families, and staff need access to safe, stable, affordable housing.
And then came COVID-19. After a few months of Zoom meetings, discussing both the huge challenges facing our district – as well as the opportunities for innovation presented by the disruption in business as usual in the district, much reflection and discussion with education leaders and trusted advisors, I realized that this was not the right time for the most experienced board member to leave the board. I am excited about being part of our continued work to address structural inequities and the effort to develop creative, equitable solutions to the biggest challenge our school district has ever faced.
The three years I served as president included fires, floods, budget cuts, and power shut-offs. I bring that experience to help us navigate the challenges that lie ahead with COVID. At the same time, my tenure has equipped me to look for ways to adapt and innovate to best serve our students, their families, and staff.
My tenure has included improving graduation and college eligibility rates. We changed district policy to ensure equitable access for all students to quality standards-based education and college preparation. I wrote a new charter school lottery policy to increase diversity in our charters – and it’s worked at all of our charters and even doubled the number of students of color at two schools.
We changed disciplinary policy to keep kids in school and reduced suspension rates by 50% and expulsion rates by 80%. We approved an Ethnic Studies curriculum and increased rates of English Learner reclassification. We created the Integrated Wellness Center, and college & career centers at every high school. I worked with the CTE Foundation to create a pilot program that provides students with career exploration and preparedness instruction, paid internships, and scholarships for college/technical school training.
I spearheaded the formation of a new District-wide Foundation that aims to ensure all kids get the enrichment activities they need and deserve. And I facilitated a deal with the City that resulted in the District’s ability to sell a valuable parcel of land and use the proceeds for a down payment assistance fund for teachers and classified staff, which could be a game changer in recruiting and retaining quality staff.
Now more than ever, we need an experienced voice thoughtfully balancing the education, health, and safety, of our students, staff, and families. We have a high-functioning governance team and I want to make sure that we continue on the path we are on, prioritizing equity and the all-around wellness and full implementation of the Mission, Vision, Priorities that we developed together.
I am grateful to have the endorsement of 5 of 6 of my colleagues, as well as positive praise from the sixth. I have been honored to serve my first two terms, and would be honored to receive your vote for a third.
Regarding the election: I am committed to running a positive campaign. I had great conversations with my opponent, Ever Flores, and SRTA President, Will Lyon. We all agreed that our school community is experiencing understandable and significant anxiety right now and it was unfair to subject the community to a negative campaign. Ever and I agreed that we would run positive campaigns as an example to our students and in stark contrast to the nastiness we have been seeing at the federal level. Big thank you to Ever for this agreement.
You can support my campaign and through that, the District’s ongoing work to ensure that each of our students has the opportunity and support needed to reach his or her potential! This campaign is volunteer and donor-driven; we can’t be successful without your support. Please visit my website to endorse, donate, volunteer, or request a lawn sign.
And please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss my campaign, my service, my goals, or how you can get involved.