SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed on March 11 appointed three new members to the San Francisco Board of Education.
At a ceremony at Galileo High School, Breed swore in Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi, and Lisa Weissman-Ward to fill the vacant positions on the seven-member board of Education. The seats were vacated after a recall vote that took place on Feb. 15.
Breed has undergone a comprehensive process to identify, interview, and select candidates for the school board. Prior to and after the February recall election, she began meeting with parents from across the city, including from over 50 schools in neighborhoods including the Sunset, Mission, Bayview, Richmond, Tenderloin and more. She also conducted meetings with monolingual parents.
Those meetings served to identify what parents felt was needed in their public schools and what they were looking for in leadership at the district. She also met with groups like the United Educators of San Francisco to understand a broad range of perspectives. For the last three weeks she had been interviewing a range of well-qualified candidates.
“I know what our kids have been through the last two years, and I know how important our public schools are for our city,” said Breed. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without our public schools and the teachers and guidance counselors who supported me every step of the way. I want to thank everyone who stepped forward to be a part of the process, including the parents who took the time to share their views on what we need to do, as well as those who put themselves forward as candidates to serve on the school board.
“As we emerge from this pandemic, we need to focus on delivering on the basic services our residents deserve, and I know these three women will be intensely focused on meeting the urgent needs of our kids and our schools, while also focusing on the long-term health of our public school system. There’s a lot of work to do, and some tough choices ahead, but working together we can make sure our schools are moving in a positive direction.”
At the swearing-in ceremony, Breed cited the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the new members as well as their commitment to the San Francisco Unified School District to address the immediate challenges being faced, including closing the significant budget deficit, hiring a new superintendent, and stabilizing the school system as it emerges from two years of pandemic impacts.
Each of the three new members will serve the remainder of the vacated terms through the end of 2022. All three seats are up for an election in November 2022.
Ann Hsu is a public school parent who lives in the Richmond District. She is president of the Galileo High School PTSA and chairperson of the SFUSD Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. She has a BS in electrical engineering from Penn State University and an MS in electrical engineering and MBA from UC Berkeley.
Hsu has strong connections to San Francisco’s Chinese American community dating back to the 1990s when she was an active member of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee. A veteran of the technology industry, she worked for over 20 years between Silicon Valley and China at well-known large technology companies as well as co-founded and led her own company for 13 years.
“I am honored to be selected by Mayor Breed and take this responsibility very seriously,” said Hsu. “I am also extremely excited to be joining the board with two very competent professional women who are mothers! Together with the current commissioners, we will work hard to turn a new page for SFUSD and put all the children of San Francisco on the right track to success.”
Lainie Motamedi is a public school parent who lives in the Inner Sunset. She just completed a four-year term serving as co-chair of the Public Education Enrichment Fund Committee (PEEF), where she advocated for accountability and transparency reform to ensure that San Francisco city funds are utilized for student benefit as mandated by the City Charter. In this role she also reviewed SFUSD programming, advised the Board of Education, and provided recommendations to best serve its students.
Lainie holds an MBA from the University of Washington and a BA in political science from UC Santa Cruz. She grew up in Los Angeles, where her mom and stepdad were teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, her mother for over 20 years and her stepfather for 36 years. Her father is an Iranian immigrant who benefitted from California’s public education system as a foundation to build his career and future.
She is a former board member of the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Bike Coalition, and currently serves as a volunteer lead for the National Park Service in the Golden Gate Park National Recreation Area.
“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen to serve on the San Francisco School Board,” said Motamedi. “I know how important our public schools are to our children and our families, and I know how hard the last two years have been for so many. My focus is to bring my experience to help all families and all children in this city get the support they need as we do the really challenging work to get our district back on track.”
Lisa Weissman-Ward is a public school parent who lives with her family in the Mission District. She is associate director of the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. As an immigration lawyer and educator, she supervises clinical law students in their representation of clients facing removal from the U.S. and their work on advocacy projects for the purposes of engaging in broader structural changes.
Her teaching focuses on issues related to access to justice, systemic inequities, and anti-subordination principles. She is a product of public schools and comes from a family of educators.
Weissman-Ward is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
“I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with the current and incoming school board members to make sure that we do right by our public school children and their educators,” said Weissman-Ward. “The challenges of learning loss, mental health, the opportunity gap facing many students of color, and the district’s finances are real, but so too is our sense of hope and commitment to turn things around.”