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A letter from Susie Richardson

Susie Richardson is a leader in our community. She served on the Palo Alto School Board for 8 years and is now serving on the boards of nonprofits focused on education equity and civic engagement.

Read her letter below to hear why Susie is voting for Nicole and urging you to do the same.

 Dear Palo Altans,

 

I’m writing to let you know why I’m supporting Nicole Chiu-Wang for School Board.

 

I’m supporting Nicole because she is the candidate we need!

 

It is astonishing how many things have changed since I was first elected to the School Board in 1991. The iPhone wouldn’t be released for 16 years. Most classrooms didn’t have computers. And our students were primarily white. 

 

Over 30 years later, most of our secondary students carry smart phones, computers are as essential as textbooks, and close to 40% of our students identify as Asian.

 

In 1991, I was confident that “knowing” our community well qualified me to be a member of the School Board, and Palo Alto voters agreed. BUT, when I took my seat on the Board, I quickly discovered that I was ill-equipped to handle budgets, contract negotiations, HR issues and organizational strategies, all of which were key to my new responsibilities. I’m a bit horrified as I reflect on how much I had to learn on the job. I wouldn’t vote for someone like me today.

 

Nicole is ready to serve.

Nicole has management experience, both running her own startup and now working for Google, which will be invaluable to the Board which has vital financial decision-making and oversight responsibilities for our complex District. Another benefit is that Nicole can speak “High Tech.”

 

Nicole’s commitment to education and equity runs deep. 

With college degrees in gender and ethnic studies, Nicole has spent her entire adult life advocating for equity - in schools, in workplaces, in communities - through volunteer work in schools, service on nonprofit boards, and mentorship programs. She has seen the opportunity and achievement gap firsthand through her volunteer work with high school and middle school students from historically underrepresented and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and was part of a team that created supplemental learning materials used throughout an entire district. Nicole’s family moved to Palo Alto for the schools, and she wants to bring her commitment and experience working for equity to our district - we are lucky to have her want to serve.

 

Nicole is a listener and a learner.

The Campanile, a Paly student paper, endorsed Nicole because, I suspect, our kids were impressed with her genuine listening skills, her curious mind, and her ability to synthesize information. They must have heard, loud and clear, her commitment to student mental health, and her refreshing belief that we must help ALL students find their passions, and develop knowledge and essential skills to find their unique pathways to success.

I am truly impressed by Nicole’s commitment to research, her focus, and her ability to learn incredibly quickly. (Nicole has watched years of past School Board meetings!). She will bring both data-based reasoning and fresh eyes to problem solving.

 

Nicole has a lived experience of diversity.

It is painful to realize that even in the “simpler times” of the ‘90’s, we did not adequately attend to our students of color. Nicole’s blond-haired mother grew up on a farm in the Midwest. Her Chinese father grew up in Arkansas. She has a lived understanding of the dangers of stereotypes and has been a bridge builder her entire life.

 

Nicole is looking forward.

With two children attending PAUSD schools, Nicole has a long-range view. Her younger child is in our parent-participation PreSchool Family program. She bridges high touch and high tech - essential qualities for today!

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this message, and I hope you'll join me in voting for Nicole. She's the real deal, and you'll be proud you voted for her.

 

Regards,

Susie

A picture I took at a campaign event that I hosted for Nicole. From left to right: former School Board Member Cathy Kroymann, Our next School Board Member Nicole Chiu–Wang, Susie Richardson (me), and retired Paly Principal Sandra Pearson.