Questions and Answers

Why Did I Decide to Run for School Board in Sunnyvale School District?

Both of my children attended Sunnyvale School District their entire K-8 years, I taught in the district for 4 years, and since 2015 I have spent nearly full time working with dedicated teachers and amazing students as a volunteer in elementary and middle school classrooms in this district.  I love the kids, and I love the teachers. Even with dedicating a lot of time, my impact with students is personal and rewarding, but small in the big picture.

 I also feel very connected to the parents and the community overall. In 2008-9, when I was in treatment for breast cancer, not only my friends and neighbors, but also many people I had never met before reached out to me with meals, notes, cards, and messages of support for my whole family. It really made me want to dedicate my life to serving my community.  After this experience, and a year of working hundreds of hours developing an all-school garden program at Cherry Chase Elementary,  I went back to school to get my teaching credential.

A seat on the school board is a way to help more support our schools and the students at the next level. It's literally a seat at the table to help shape policy that affects our whole community.  I am still volunteering in Sunnyvale School District today, even though my children have aged-out of the district.  I'm excited about the chance to concurrently serve Sunnyvale in a role on the School Board. 

Why Me?

  • I have a unique background and am qualified for the job: I'm a mom, a credentialed teacher, and a hard-working volunteer.
  • I can work collaboratively, and I can also take on leadership roles on projects.
  • I care a lot, I'm accessible, and I will be very engaged in my role on the School Board.

Why Vote for School Board? When is the Election? How Many Seats are Available?

School Boards are important. 

  • They manage and prioritize the budget for the district.
  • They hire and review the superintendent
  • They set the policy, vision, and direction of the district.
  • They approve curriculum.
  • They represent the community and should be accessible to the community.

This November 6th (or sooner if you vote by mail), you may vote for three (3) seats on the Sunnyvale School Board. Please vote for me as one of your candidates! Thank you! 

What Do I Think Students Need?

Every student is unique, but I believe that to be successful life-long learners all students need:

  • to belong and feel safe
  • to be engaged and challenged
  • to have the tools they need
  • to be supported by a team of adults to nurture their development.

The truth is, the adults in the equation (parents, teachers, staff, administrators) need the same things. We must support our school employees and our families so that they can support the students.

What Are Some Things I Want to Do?

We have to do better in terms of equity for our low-socioeconomic status students who are English language learners. Our district is currently slightly underperforming the county average in this group. We have resources invested, and steady growth, but what we have at the moment is not enough. 

  • We can look to our health professional partners to target helping SED families from their children's birth in terms of what they can do to develop language for their infants before they get into school. We should look at providing more preschool.
  • We can continue to provide and provide more supports close to where the needs are in the community, and seek funding for them through community partners, basing those supports on teacher and staff recommendations. 
  • We can travel to see what other districts and schools are doing who have been successful with similar challenges, and evaluate whether those policies might work in our community. 

We have to challenge our students who are academically advanced. We don't want anyone to have a "staycation" at school. We want all students to grow a lot during their time in our district, and to learn intrinsic motivation. We want all our students to be inspired and motivated. We have to create and nurture a scholarly culture with high expectations for all students. We can do better district-wide. 

I would support the district directly funding 5th grade science camp rather than leaving it up to the individual school sites. When I was at Fairwood, students who would transfer in would have their "science-camp" fundraising account follow them - some of these students had been fundraising for science camp since Kindergarten at their other school. Fundraising for this event puts a lot of pressure and hardship on some families and some schools. If the funding is not available from the families or a well-funded PTA, principals must take it out of their site budget, and that means that it could come out of teacher training or other important things for the students in that specific community. Not every family can afford to write a $300 check (and outfit their student) for science camp. We have to look at community partners and overall fundraising mechanisms so that we can make this hands-on science experience equitable for all students. 

I would like to see Sunnyvale students have access to hands-on learning in Science/ outdoor classrooms that our neighboring cities have made accessible for their students. It wasn't until my younger son Ethan was in a volleyball club that I realized that his friends from some of our surrounding neighboring cities (Mountain View, Cupertino, etc.) were all attending Yosemite as an 8th grade trip. "When are you going to Yosemite?" they asked him. He told them his school (and our district) doesn't go to Yosemite. He was the only one of 11 boys who didn't go with his class. That's interesting to me because while 8th grade has an optional Washington DC field trip, they really do not have the capacity to take every child even if every family could afford the trip. Furthermore, there is not even a DC trip at Columbia Middle School. The whole experience opened my eyes that we really should look at what kind of experiences are being offered at districts around us, how they fund them, and how we can support teachers and students have these opportunities.  While we do a lot of great things now, we can do more to at least make the opportunities available to our schools if they choose to use them.

We need to retain our teachers and staff who are being priced out of the district in housing. We spend a lot of time and money training teachers, and then they leave. We are losing highly qualified teachers, when having highly qualified teachers has been proven critical to student success.  I understand that the school district has been exploring many options in this area, but we need to do more of it - especially as rents are rising in our area every quarter.  

  • We should take another look at if  it’s feasible to start up affordable housing program like Santa Clara’s Casa del Maestro
  • We should partner or make sure teachers and support staff know about affordable lending programs for teachers. (like Landed)
  • If teachers and staff  live farther and farther away because they are priced out of the area, could we partner with some of the local technology companies to provide transit space for our teachers and staff in more remote areas (where they are already running their private company bus services)? These companies could use a PR win and are already using our bus stops, etc. for their employee services. 

We need to support social emotional learning at every level in our district for ALL students.  As a school board member, I will collaborate to set policy and seek out business and community partners to support socio-emotional learning. 

  • Students can learn to self-regulate, and to have a growth mindset.
  • Students need encouragement from their whole community, peers and adults, so that they feel that they belong in school and so that they can persevere. 
  • There are some vulnerable subgroups (immigrant students, LGBTQ students, students with special needs, students who have experienced trauma, and others) who need advocates at the district level.
  • Many students are under pressure that is new to us - social media, information overload, and a more contentious contemporary social environment. Social skills are healthy coping skills and life skills that can serve our students beyond 8th grade.

How Can You Get Involved?

Help shape the future of Sunnyvale education.  You can endorse me, share my website or with friends and neighbors on social media, volunteer (to place a yard sign, to host a meet-and-greet, to distribute materials to neighbors), and you can donate to my campaign. I am not running an over-the-top campaign, but flyers, mailers, and yard signs, etc. all cost money and any amount you can contribute will help a great deal. Likewise, if you can knock on doors or put up a yard sign, or share information about my campaign through social media, you are helping me gain visibility in the community.  Thank you!