I ran for the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) Board in 2013 not just because I wanted to ensure children were able to attend neighborhood schools, but also because being inclusive matters a lot to me, and clear communication, transparency, and creating a supportive environment for both teachers and students is critical for education to truly be the great equalizer it can be. In my 2 terms on the BRSSD board, we went from making organizational processes more efficient and effective to defining a strategic plan that everyone could align to and finally approving an equity policy to focus on closing achievement gaps. When the day to day is running smoothly, that creates the time and additional funding needed to focus on student achievement. This year I'm running for the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) Board because I see those same opportunities to improve the day to day and create the time, the funding, and the unified vision around closing achievement gaps. Every child has potential, and we should be intentional in identifying every child's strengths and leveraging those strengths to maximize engagement in learning. We can't get there overnight, but we can get there step by step with a clear vision / mission, strategy, and action plan.
I will bring to the Sequoia board a wealth of experience spanning local, county-wide, and state-wide leadership - I'm a connector and coalition builder whose empathy brings people together. As President of the BRSSD board in 2021, the ability to lead with empathy was really put to the test; although there were varying opinions on the path forward for school reopening, public comment and discussions were always respectful, and people felt their voice was heard even if they were unhappy with the decisions made. I am the California School Boards Association (CSBA) Director at Large, Asian Pacific Islander, and I serve on the boards of the San Mateo County School Boards Association and the Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association (APISBMA). With APISBMA, I co-led the effort to ensure an inclusive AAPI unit in the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum and currently serve as the chair of the Education and Curriculum Committee. We need to make sure that all voices are being heard and that we provide the training to enable all stakeholders to block bias when they encounter it.
More About Amy's Background:
I am a 4th generation San Franciscan whose great-grandfather arrived in the 1860s to be a merchant for Gold Rush immigrants. My grandfather was a tailor and opened a shop in Chinatown, and my dad and his 8 siblings lived behind the store during the heart of the Great Depression and the Chinese Exclusion Act. He attended public schools, earned a scholarship to UC Berkeley, and commuted daily by bus or carpool from Chinatown. Upon graduation, he was unable to find a job at the large accounting firms due to the biases of that time; he instead took the Civil Service Exam and landed a job with the City and County of San Francisco. My dad eventually worked his way up the ranks and retired as the Chief Assistant Treasurer of San Francisco. He's very much an inspiration to me, a demonstration that education is a great equalizer, and if he can overcome adversity to live a happy and fulfilling life, so can we all.
One of my pivotal memories at Lowell High School was being told by my World Civilization teacher that we would skip over all the chapters about Asia because we didn't have time for them. I was livid - the student population was 60% Asian and with one statement, Asians were relegated to non-existence. I read those chapters on my own. I ventured east to MIT where I obtained a BS in Chemical Engineering and a minor in East Asian Studies (those lost chapters in World Civilization really made an impression on me). Upon telling a male acquaintance that I was going to MIT, he said, "you only got in because you're female." Oh, those were fighting words - MIT had long removed preferences based on gender, so I had gotten in by my own right. At MIT, I was the Career Fair Chair for the Society of Women Engineers chapter because I wanted to help connect women to job opportunities in STEM fields. At Stanford, where I received MS and MBA degrees, I was active in both the Women in Management and Asian Society clubs and learned about differences in leadership styles between men and women, Asians and non-Asians. It was eye opening.
I am an Associate Director of HBV Marketing at Gilead Sciences, a biotech company headquartered in Foster City, and previously held positions in Managed Markets Analytics and Trade Strategy. I served for three years on the leadership team of the Women at Gilead employee resource group which supports the career growth of women. I also served for two years on an Inclusion and Diversity Talent Development and Advancement team that designed and piloted a stretch project program that was the basis for a Commercial-wide program to increase visibility of development opportunities for non-traditional candidates. I care about diversity and inclusion as well as lifelong learning not just in schools, but in the workplace and broader society. I enjoy being a mentor and a buddy for Gilead employees, fellow alumni from my high school and colleges, new families joining schools or my children's activities. The picture shows the Women at Gilead leadership team posing for a picture at our International Women's Day event which engaged employees around the world in a celebration of women who made a difference in their lives.
My husband, Don, is a partner in my passion for diversity and inclusion, ensuring that those that are under-represented have a voice and the same opportunities in life. The picture shows Don and me at the Asian Law Alliance annual banquet (ALA provides pro bono legal services to low socioeconomic Asians). Don served on the Asian Alliance board for 8 years, and was the first non-lawyer to serve on the ALA board (he was a child protective services social worker with Santa Clara County at the time). Don is now a Program Manager III in the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children's Services, so we have pretty deep conversations at home about equity, bias, politics, and how we might leave the world a better place.
As a School Board Member, I will do my part to ensure that our next generation appreciates different cultures and backgrounds so that the American dream is accessible to all.
Vote for Amy - All Means All