Our community shares a vision for Palo Alto schools where all children thrive academically, socially and emotionally. We have excellent schools in Palo Alto, but like any institution there is still work to be done. I am running for School Board in order to make progress in some key areas:
Achievement for all students. We need to meet every child where he or she is, and give them opportunities to stretch as far as they can. I believe that we can raise the floor substantially for struggling students while continuing to ensure that there is no ceiling for advanced students. We can also enable our students to grow as thinkers, artists, athletes and citizens.
Improved student health. We know from our own experience and from academic research that well-rested, happy students are stronger learners. I will continue the work that I have already started to increase student health and achievement, and to prepare students for a 21st century economy in which working well in teams and with co-workers from diverse backgrounds are keys to success.
A culture of innovation. Silicon Valley teaches us that high-functioning organizations rely on data to drive decision-making and identify and implement best practices. We need to ensure that every student in our schools is receiving equally excellent services, no matter what school they attend or what neighborhood they live in. We can have a school district that is a strong learning organization, linked to centers of innovation in our community such as Stanford and our high-tech firms.
Transparency and accountability in governance. I will work to open up decision-making to public view through transparent communications and metrics that allow the public to judge the work of the School Board and the district. A more open and public process will pay dividends as we tackle together the hard problems of managing budget uncertainty, planning for enrollment growth and stewarding our physical assets.
Effective planning for the future. I will work to preserve neighborhood schools and effectively manage our resources (including Cubberley) during a time of change in both enrollment and financial resources. This will require a stronger planning capability within PAUSD, and more effective relationships with partners like the City of Palo Alto.
Family, Education, and Employment. I have five children. My children have attended many PAUSD schools, including Barron Park, Nixon, JLS, Terman, and Gunn. I was educated in public schools and received my B.A. and M.A. in Sociology, summa cum laude, from Yale. I spent a year at Harvard Business School before earning a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Arizona. I was a faculty member in sociology at Northwestern University, left to join a startup in e-learning technology, worked on technology and education at the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning, moved to Netflix, and for the past five and a half years have been a software engineer at Google working on search.
Deep Background in Educational Data and Policy. I’ve spent the last ten years consulting to various nonprofit and governmental organizations about educational data and achievement -- including the Education Trust, the Gates Foundation, and the US Department of Education. I know from experience that solving complex problems requires good data, clear metrics, and strong analytical capabilities. These have not been core strengths of PAUSD in the past, but they can be in the future and I will work hard to move the district in that direction.
A Record of Accomplishment in Our Schools. For the past two years I have led a group of concerned parents as we have advocated for full implementation of our community's Project Safety Net plan, particularly the provisions for a Supportive School Environment. I have worked for concrete improvements in emotional health in our district, and for improved achievement for all students. These efforts been highly successful. For example, we advocated for a PAUSD committee on homework, I served on that committee and helped build consensus among its members, and the School Board adopted its recommendations for time and purpose guidelines for homework. I also successfully advocated for an overall PAUSD annual goal for reducing unnecessary academic stress for the last two years, and for goals to improve counseling and reduce the burden on students of test and project stacking and overload. I will bring to the School Board that same commitment to building consensus, bringing data and research to bear on hard problems, and including the input of all stakeholders.
Thank you. I appreciate your interest in my candidacy. I need your help in order to realize the vision we share. Please consider endorsing me, volunteering in the campaign, and donating to help pay the costs of spreading this message. I'd love to hear from you directly, and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 650-906-4340.