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By Julian Peeples

Across California, educators are rising to answer another call to public service – by running for election to school boards this November.

Seeking to bring their knowledge and experience about schools and education to school boards in their home communities, these educators are stepping up to build the schools all students deserve as elected policymakers. We’ll be spotlighting a number of educators running for school board here at the digital home of California Educator as the November Election approaches.

Meet one of these education champions: Ava Chiao, a high school science teacher and member of East Side Teachers Association, who is running for a seat on the Cupertino Union School Board.

Why are you running for school board?

I’ve always had a heart for students. I know what it takes to help an individual child in a classroom because I’ve been doing that every day for years. Now I’m ready to take that expertise and apply it at the district level, implementing policy and looking strategically at the district. My unique perspective will bring an important voice of balance to the board, to help make informed decisions for my community. I’m the only candidate on the board with a teaching credential and I also bring student voices into the board.

What are your top priorities for the school district?

  • Ensuring that student well-being is at the forefront of every board decision.
  • Ensuring that data is transparent and drives district financial sustainability.
  • Ensuring that CUSD retains its strong reputation for educational excellence, attracting families and staff. 

Why did you decide that now is the time to serve your community on the school board?

I’ve been working to be ready since 2017. With my teaching, community service, and education policy experience, I am ready to serve

What would you like to say to your fellow CTA members about running for elected office?

Running for office will be like having another job. It It may seem a lot, but you will have a core team that supports you. 

Run for office! Where do you start? Go to your local politically-affiliated club meetings, county party-affiliated central committee meetings, affiliated related positions within the party and help out campaigns that you would support. Talk to people you know that have run for office before. You can also contact your local school board members, political action committee members, CTA State Council members and reach out to the politically-affiliated CTA caucuses, CTA Directors and CTA/ABC members. 

We need teachers to be more involved in making decisions at the table. If they’re not at the table, they’re on the menu. Let us get more teachers involved at the political level. Getting involved starts with you!  


Facebook:; Twitter: @AvaChiao; Instagram: @_AvaChiao

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