Emily Murase
Emily Murase

SAN FRANCISCO — Emily Murase, vice president of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, is running for a second term in the November election.

Elected in November 2010, Murase is the first Japanese American woman elected to any San Francisco city office.

A graduate of San Francisco public schools herself, Murase and husband Neal Taniguchi have two daughters who attended the district’s signature Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP) at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Founded 40 years ago by community leaders and parents, including her own, JBBP continues to promote multiculturalism within the school district.

Murase was a member of the Rosa Parks School Site Council, the JBBP Parent Teacher Community Council, and the Lowell Alumni Association Board of Directors. She chaired the SFUSD Parent Advisory Council and served on the two recent successful initiatives supporting public schools in 2008 and 2010.

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, supporting foreign language and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, and the new Common Core Standards.

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. In partnership with community-based service providers and law enforcement agencies, her work has contributed to the elimination of domestic violence homicides in San Francisco for the first time in over a decade.

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.

A founding sister of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute, Murase is a graduate of the Emerge political leadership training program, Leadership San Francisco, and Leadership California. She has served on the boards of the Fort Mason Foundation, the Japanese American Citizens League (San Francisco, Tokyo, Washington, D.C. chapters), and the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association. She is currently on the board of Democratic Women in Action.

This year, 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 from the National Council of Jewish Women San Francisco Chapter. In 2009, she was recognized for her contributions to the women’s community by the Democratic Women’s Forum.

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 UC San Diego, and a Ph.D. in communication from Stanford University.

She resides in San Francisco with her husband and their daughters, Junko Taniguchi, chief negotiator, and Izumi Murase, chief curiosity officer, of the Murase/Taniguchi household.

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