I began my career in education as a 7th grade science teacher. Now I have the privilege of working at the regional, state, and national levels on science education and policy. I have become an expert on science and STEM education. I am the only candidate running who is a credentialed teacher, has a Masters in urban education policy and administration, and who has worked at the state and national levels on STEM education. I am proud of the work I am doing to elevate the teaching profession, and to close the achievement gap across the country.
I also happen to be the only gay Asian male running for office in San Francisco. And, though my identity isn’t the reason I am running, I am very aware that diversity matters. I grew up in public schools, the son of Korean immigrants. My mom is a single mother who lives under the poverty line and struggles to make ends meet. I received free lunches at school and we were not able to pay for basic school supplies. I believe the leadership of any organization should reflect the people and communities they serve. My passion for education is grounded in the very real experiences that I had as a student in public schools, and the challenges I still see my family and younger brother face today.
As a learning organization, the District’s priorities hinge upon great teaching and inclusive school environments, both of which I have years of experience developing. I’m proud of the work I’ve done around restorative practices, socio-emotional learning, and broadening opportunities in STEM. I’m excited to bring these experiences and knowledge to SFUSD.
Achievement and Opportunity Gap
Our data shows that we as a District have been consistently underserving our most marginalized communities, specifically our Black and Brown families in the south eastern portion of our City. This will be my top priority as a board member, and I will push our District to present a plan for how we address this gap, work with our communities to set goals and metrics, and ensure we constantly reflect and revisit this priority. We know that great teaching is the highest in-school factor to closing the achievement gap, which is why I believe I am uniquely qualified to be a Commissioner on our school board.
Turnover of teachers and leaders at the school site is painful. We lose out on the progress made throughout the year as each teacher leaves, and we know that our most successful school environments have a stable teaching workforce. I will prioritize the retention of our teachers by ensuring teachers are getting the right professional development and mentorship opportunities to continuously grow in their work.
Focus on Teaching and Learning
A school district’s top priority is to provide the best teaching and learning experience for our students. As a learning organization, our entire foundation is based on great teaching. This is why I find it imperative that we have someone on the Board with deep experience on pedagogy and instruction, who has done the work before. I am the only candidate who has worked as a classroom teacher, has an MA in urban education policy and administration, and has worked at the state and national levels on STEM education policy. I will work to put the needs of our students first, to focus on how we can leverage our best teachers and learn from them so that we can support others, and to center all of our decisions on how it will serve the needs of our families. And yes, I support acceleration options towards Algebra and Calculus for students who are ready.
It is clear that the school assignment system has not worked for the families it was meant to benefit most. While I support families having access to schools across our District, I believe we must do more to support our most vulnerable communities in understanding the school assignment process, while also ensuring we rebuild the trust with our parents. I believe we must make the assignment system transparent by providing more data and information for parents on the quality of every school, and giving parents the ability to engage in the process online. Parents should easily find out how our schools are doing, and we must ensure that this information is both transparent, understable, and accessible for families looking to send their children to SFUSD.