I didn’t dream of growing up to be a politician. In fact, I grew up in a country where its citizens do not have the privilege of electing their representatives. Decisions were made by the Communist Party and the people would simply accept and obey.
My family came to the US from Vietnam in 1983 as refugees and settled in Federal Way, WA. I entered high school as a sophomore with no command of English, graduated in 1986, and earned my degree in Pharmacy at the University of Washington in 1992.
People said, “Having kids will change your life!” I didn’t believe them, until my two came along. The journey of parenthood has enriched me and continued to shape my own growth. Read more...
I decided to run for School Board Director in 2013 with the desire to carry on the work that many have shouldered and to help shape the vision and direction for the Bellevue School District through my unique personal experience. Currently, I am serving as Vice-President for my school board, member of the Policy Committee, member of the Legislative Committee, liaison for Board with YouthLink (Youth Leadership), and member of the Community Truancy Board.
I remembered vividly the excitement and anticipation at my first WSSDA Annual Conference in 2013. There, I met Board Directors who were both generous with their time and knowledge. With encouragement from friends and my own desire to learn, I ran and was elected to serve on the WSSDA Legislative Committee, representing Director Area 2 in November 2014. That experience shaped my advocacy and gave me clarity for my work. From there, I participated in the Federal Relations Network, engaged in NSBA advocacy, and was elected to represent DA2 serving on WSSDA Board in November 2016. I am currently representing WSSDA at the Educator Workforce Development Workgroup (OSPI) to share our perspective and input in addressing WA State’s Teacher Shortage crisis.
So, why am I running for WSSDA Vice-President? WSSDA is an organization created to support Board Directors, with the capacity to further our work around Advocacy and Leadership Development. Listening to Board Directors across our state, I have learned that our stories are more similar than different. I have learned that our commitment for an equitable educational system is universal. What we need, in my view, is the opportunity to share and to collaborate. We are set up to be separated by geography (east vs. west), by size (large vs. small), by arbitrary means to create artificial differences. I believe in collaborative leadership where collective impact can be achieved for the benefit of all students. I believe in forging the connections through active listening and trust building. And I believe in sharing best-practices and innovative ideas to create learning opportunity from one another. To achieve an equitable educational system for all students and to advocate effectively, we need leaders who are collaborative, open-minded, and thoughtful. We need leaders who will support leadership-building opportunities for 1477 elected Board Directors in Washington State. We need leaders who will build bridges and connections with communities and other decision-makers. We need leaders who are willing to learn in public and who are your partners supporting your work. I am that person.
One of WSSDA’s belief is “Public Education is vital to our country’s democratic way of life and local school boards are vital to the success of Public Education”. I am who I am today because of good Public Education. I thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to connecting with you.