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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 in this series: Michael Gonzáles.

Michael Gonzáles

Candidate for: New Haven Unified School District Board of Education

Experience: 14-year elementary school teacher (K-5) with United Teachers Los Angeles, now with Hayward Education Association.

Why: As a third-generation Union City resident, my family and I are embedded in this community as both coaches and educators. I grew up here but spent the last several years teaching elementary school in Los Angeles. Not only did I learn how to be an excellent teacher, I also learned how to help grow my union as a site leader. I left an amazing career in LA to return home and run for school board in Union City. My sole purpose for running is to help elevate our fellow educators, students and families to find real solutions to our ever-changing educational challenges. In these difficult times, we need to elect leaders who will prioritize how our district spends our precious tax dollars.

Top issues: There is a lot of mistrust with the current school board, and the new superintendent is never held accountable. I will bring trust back to the district and help keep our students and staff safe through this pandemic. I will prioritize the budget so there are no cuts to the classroom.

Distance campaigning: My campaign consists of handwritten postcards, campaign literature door hangers, texting, and phone calls. I am endorsed by the New Haven Teachers Association.

Choosing to lead now: Currently, this school board doesn’t have any experience with distance learning, and no one on the board is an educator. I bring that important voice to the table as a practitioner.

Website: mikeg4newhaven.com