SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Education on Jan. 14 elected its officers for the 2014 year.
Commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer is now president of the board, and Commissioner Emily Murase is vice president.
“I am honored to serve the San Francisco Unified School District and its families in the capacity of board president,” said Fewer. “I am fortunate to represent a board and school district that prioritizes a high level of education for all students with an emphasis on creating future San Franciscans that are deeply rooted in social justice values.
“I will join my board colleagues in working hard this year to ensure that we graduate every student with opportunities and skills to be successful in the 21st century. I look forward to a productive year and invite others to join us as we educate the finest students in the nation.”
A member of the board since 2009, Fewer has authored resolutions to implement restorative practice approaches to student discipline, institute ethnic studies classes in high schools, create a parent engagement plan, and re-commit to the anti-discrimination of LGBTQQ youth.
From 2001 to 2009, Fewer was the director of parent organizing and education policy at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, where she authored a resolution to create a Parent Advisory Council to the Board of Education and helped craft the first Education Equity Platform for San Francisco public schools.
Fewer’s awards include the Champion of Justice award (Chinese for Affirmative Action), Parent Leadership award (Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network), Community Leadership award (Coleman Advocates), and Community Ally award (Harvey Milk Democratic Club). She holds a BA in justice administration and an MA in public administration.
A fourth-generation Chinese American San Franciscan, Fewer is a SFUSD graduate and mother of three SFUSD graduates. She lives in the Richmond District.
As a school board member, Murase has focused her efforts on responding to the concerns of families on an individual basis, at the same time collaborating with her fellow school board members on such initiatives as anti- bullying, reforming the school meals program, and supporting foreign language and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs.
In her professional capacity, Murase serves as executive director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, where she oversees a $4 million budget and a professional staff of six to promote the human rights of the women and girls of San Francisco. Previously, she served in the first Clinton White House as director for international economic affairs (1993-1994), after working for AT&T Japan in Tokyo, and later worked in the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission.
Murase received the Alumni of the Year award from her alma mater, the UC San Diego Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, as well as the Outstanding Advocate for Women’s Rights award from the National Council of Jewish Women San Francisco Chapter.
Murase holds an AB in modern Japanese history from Bryn Mawr College, a master’s from the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UCSD, and a Ph.D. in communication from Stanford.
A graduate of San Francisco public schools herself, Murase has two daughters who attend Lowell and Presidio and are graduates of the district’s Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP) at Rosa Parks Elementary School. She is the first Japanese American on the school board and the first Japanese American woman to be elected to any office in San Francisco.
Also serving on the Board of Education are Matt Haney, Kim-Shree Maufas, Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, Rachel Norton and Jill Wynns. Members are elected at-large to serve four-year terms.