Santa Clara County Board of Education looks to fill vacant seat
Lincoln High School in San Jose is a part of the San Jose Unified School District. Photo by Sonya Herrera.

The Santa Clara County Board of Education will appoint a new trustee next month to fill a seat recently left vacant.

“There are families even in District 2 which need services just as much as any families in the county,” said Anjali Kausar, CEO of the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce and a candidate for the open seat on the board. “It doesn’t matter which district or which side of the county somebody lives, we want to make policies in such a direction so that every child grows.”

The District 2 seat on the board became available when Kathleen King resigned to focus her attention on the Healthier Kids Foundation, according to county Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan. King is the CEO of the foundation.

The Santa Clara County Office of Education oversees and provides services to the 31 school districts in the county, and also operates special education programs, Head Start and state preschool programs. District 2 covers school districts in Cupertino, Los Gatos and Saratoga, as well as parts of Sunnyvale.

Along with Kausar, four other candidates are running for the seat: Tara Sreekrishnan, Mingi Bodine, Sudha Kasamsetty and Kevin Koch. The Santa Clara County Office of Education declined to release biographies of the candidates. Board President Claudia Rossi said the biographies will be uploaded to the board’s agenda portal late Friday afternoon.

“I am really pleased, as board president, to have quality applicants expressing interest in serving on the county board of education,” Rossi told San José Spotlight. “They all have different skill sets.”

Kausar has served as the head of the Cupertino Chamber for eight years and previously served as a trustee for the Cupertino Union School District. From 2012 to 2019, she ran a nonprofit called SkoolCare, which provided dental care to students in underserved areas.

“We discovered that there were kids who had never seen a dentist until they saw us at their school,” Kausar told San José Spotlight. “Those little things make a big difference.”

Sreekrishnan, deputy chief of staff for state Sen. Dave Cortese, attended schools in Cupertino Union School District and Fremont Union High School District. According to the cover letter she shared with San José Spotlight, she co-founded Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action and previously served on the Bay Area for Clean Environment board and the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Customer Advisory Group.

Sreekrishnan said she wants to inspire young girls to enjoy the same opportunities as she did growing up.

“My hope is that more and more women of all ages and backgrounds will pick up the mantle in their communities,” Sreekrishnan wrote. “I am enormously grateful to be a product of our public schools and for the privileges my education has afforded me; my mission is to ensure the same opportunities exist for all students and families who want to thrive and succeed here.”

Bodine, Kasamsetty and Koch could not be reached.

No matter which candidate is selected, they’ll need to listen to the needs of a broad community of families, Rossi said.

“Someone who has endeavored to build community that can then, as a trustee, build on those relationships… to listen and be in tune to what the community needs,” Rossi said. “If you have somebody who hasn’t endeavored to be part of a community or serve a community, then those relationships are not there.”

The board will convene on Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. to appoint the new trustee. Readers can tune into the meeting at the Santa Clara County Board of Education meeting portal.

Editor’s Note: Kathleen King serves on San José Spotlight’s Board of Directors.

Contact Sonya Herrera at [email protected] or follow @SMHsoftware on Twitter.

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