Friday, October 17, 2008

Board of Education candidates

A note about the San Francisco Board of Education election From Caroline Grannan, 13-year SFUSD parent, volunteer and advocate.

Friends, neighbors and associates often ask my opinions at election time about San Francisco school board candidates, knowing that I’m very involved in school district issues. So I’m sharing my views on this year’s candidates for those who are interested. I don’t expect even my dearest friends to agree with my every opinion, but I hope this is helpful, whether or not you have children in our school district. Please feel free to forward it to anyone you like, and to ask me questions. For those who don’t know me that well, my children are in 9th and 12th grades at San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA, a public high school), and have attended SFUSD schools since kindergarten – Lakeshore Elementary and Aptos Middle School.

Four of the seven Board of Education seats are open. Here are my recommendations:

JILL WYNNS: In 16 years on the San Francisco Board of Education, Jill has earned a reputation for independence, integrity, thorough understanding of complex issues, and relentlessness in asking tough questions. She is an expert in the complex areas of school budgeting and finance and has done extensive research and observation on best practices in education nationwide. In San Francisco, Jill has played key roles in developing and passing five school bonds, a facilities parcel tax, a unique local school sales tax, the groundbreaking city funding commitment for schools and preschools, and a parcel tax to support teachers and other school employees. Jill has served on the board during a time when the school district has been hailed for rooting out corruption and incompetence, and student achievement has steadily risen. She understands that there is far more work to be done, and has the knowhow and commitment to continue overcoming those challenges.

By the way, Jill was an SFUSD parent for 22 years and has lived in Bernal Heights for 36 years. Her husband is a union ironworker, and Jill is currently employed as a professional fundraiser for the Jewish National Fund. To learn more about Jill and her campaign, please visit:

RACHEL NORTON: Rachel is an SFUSD parent and volunteer with a particular knowledge of and involvement in special-education issues. She’s savvy, thoughtful, capable and committed. (My colleagues in what's left of the news business will be interested to know that Rachel is a former New York Times reporter.) Please visit her website at:

EMILY MURASE: Emily is an SFUSD parent with an impressive background in community service and two children in elementary school. Please visit her website at:

MARIGRACE COHEN: Marigrace Cohen is a longtime SFUSD employee; her 44-year career includes experience as a teacher, administrator, and central office supervisor. Please visit her website at: