Josephine Zhao for School Board 2018
Josephine is a public school mom, an engaged community leader, and a passionate advocate for students, parents, and public schools. She is a single mother of two girls enrolled in San Francisco public schools and has been deeply involved in the public school community since 2009.
A firm believer in the power of community, Josephine has been an ardent leader in the PTA, on the English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC), and the School Site Council (SSC) for several years. On the San Francisco Board of Education’s Parent Advisory Council she strove to ensure parents from all backgrounds had a seat at the table when policy is being discussed and developed. When serving on Mayor Breed's Education Policy Transition Team, she advocated for a citywide Meaningful Outreach and Engagement effort to educate all communities on social justice issues.
Josephine immigrated to the United States to pursue higher education and knows first-hand the power a quality education can have in changing lives. As a champion for our students, she was a key advocate in the successful campaign to add Geometry to SFUSD’s summer course curriculum for 10th grade students in 2017, and became a recognized leader in finding options to college-bound students who were delayed access to advanced math in 8th grade.
In addition to her advocacy for public schools, Josephine is a community builder who has founded two nonprofit organizations since 2011. The first, AsianAmericanVoters.org focuses on educating and organizing San Francisco’s Asian American communities around the subjects of education, housing, and quality of life and anti-discrimination issues. The second, BetterHousingPolicies.org, provides training to immigrant housing providers on ethical standards, translation services, conflict resolution between tenants and landlords, and assistance for first-time homebuyers when navigating the process of purchasing a new home.
Josephine holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Colorado State University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from University of Northern Colorado, and is a graduate of Emerge California. She currently works for Hoover Middle School as the school/family liaison.
Josephine will draw on her unique experience as a public school mom, district employee and parent advocate. She deeply understands the needs of students, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and the school district. Josephine is running for the San Francisco School Board because she believes all of these stakeholders can work together to make fantastic public schools that serve the entire community.
Do you believe that SFUSD’s school assignment system needs reform? If not, why? If so, how would you change it?
It is a hard act to balance the need for neighborhood schools and racial diversity in school assignment.
There are advantages to both the neighborhood school assignment model and the diversity-oriented lottery assignment model. Historically, SFUSD had tried both models and neither was a full success. And now, it has rested in a compromise in which neighborhood assignment for kindergarten/elementary schools, and the feeder pattern for the middle schools - where a few nearby neighborhood schools are fed into a middle school to achieve diversity are the norms.
There are advantages for neighborhood school assignment - it provides a sense of community...Read more
[This OpEd was originally published in San Francisco Examiner.]
I am a public school mom of two daughters, a longtime parent advocate, an immigrant who grew up very poor in mainland China, and an experienced paraeducator/family liaison in the San Francisco Unified School District. As a progressive leader in the immigrant community, I am running for school board in order to ensure all children, including LGBTQ students, have the opportunity to succeed in our city. I support equal rights and access for ALL students. My values drive me to advocate that every student, of all background and needs, reach their fullest potential.
My family moved to the City ten years ago because my older daughter Genevieve had kidney failure at the age of 4. While we were fighting for her life, we also had to find housing and schools for my daughters. It was so heart rending. We were implicitly denied housing, and unable to enroll Genevieve at a school near our home or hospital. After Genevieve got a transplant and recovered, I became a citizen so I could find answers for why it is so hard for a family to get by in the City.Read more