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By Julian Peeples

Some people are just born to lead. This has to be why educators across the state are rising to serve their communities in the midst of multiple crises that threaten our collective health, safety and future prosperity. They’re campaigning for election like never before, finding new and creative ways to reach voters while maintaining safe social distancing and healthy practices.

We’re shining a light on some of these dedicated educators running for election during this chaotic time – leaders who are rising to defend our students and fight for the schools and community colleges they deserve. Here’s the next educator candidate in our series: Amarjit “AJ” Kaur.

Amarjit “AJ” Kaur

Candidate for: John Swett Unified School District Board of Education.

Experience: 15 years in education, currently the MTSS Mental Health Counselor at Martinez Unified School District; Martinez Education Association member.

Why: I 100-percent believe that educators should be on school boards as we are the “boots on the ground.” Knowing the day-to-day needs of students and educators, coupled with my leadership experience, I will bring a perspective that will benefit the school board and the entire school community.

Top issues: My top priorities are addressing disparities in social and racial equity, especially in the era of an awakening among the American people about the ongoing systemic oppression impacting our BIPOC students and staff, layered with the COVID pandemic, which has exposed the pressing inequities.

Distance campaigning: Campaigning has changed during the COVID pandemic, however with the support of the John Swett Education Association, we have been able to distribute information by mail as well as creating door hangers that we have distributed in the community. I have also participated in a Zoom forum and texting campaign.

Choosing to lead now: Particularly during this crisis, we as educators need to be part of the decision-making process and have a voice at the table. I work shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers, and as the mental health counselor, I see the impacts this crisis is having on students, families and the community. Leadership has to be informed by real-life, day-to-day experiences, not theoretical beliefs.

Although my district is located in an area that is very diverse, the school board, which should be a representation of the community, continues to be predominately white. It is vitally important that we are representing our community. I believe I will be the first Asian Indian American woman to serve on the John Swett School Board.

Website/social: AJ Kaur for John Swett Board of Education Facebook Page