Janet C. Gibson

Candidate for Trustee, AUSD Board of Education, District Alameda Unified

APA Caucus Member? N

1) Why are you seeking our endorsement? What does the APA Caucus endorsement mean to you?
APA encourages and promotes the involvement of Asian Pacific Americans in our country's electoral process. I fully support this endeavor and am acutely aware that approximately 30 per cent of the students we serve are of Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicity. I believe that my experience, integrity, and knowledge as an incumbent will be compatible for your endorsement. As a lifelong activist for the principle's of diversity and inclusiveness, I would feel honored to receive APA's endorsement and support. Your endorsement would reflect my values and commitments.

2) List any endorsements you have received.
I have been endorsed by the Alameda Education Association (local teachers), the Alameda Democratic Club, and the Green Party of Alameda County.

While I am still compiling my endorsement list, I expect to be endorse by a diverse spectrum of Alameda citizens. Some of my confirmed supporters include:
Tracy Jensen (AUSD School Board Member)
Nick Cabral
Karen Lucas (former City Council Member)
Anne DeBardeleben (past president, Alameda Education Foundation)
Doug Siden (board, East Bay Regional Parks)
Ann Johnsen
Ashley Jones
Gretchen Mackler Lipow
Dr. Arthur Lipow
Dr. Marvin and Jo Winzenread
Clare Porter
Pat Flores
Del Martin

If we endorse you, will you use our name in your campaign materials? Y

3) If elected, what are your top priorities during your term? What would you like to accomplish and how would you go about doing so? Please be specific.
The top priorities are 1)Selecting a new Superintendent; 2) Providing a top quality educational system for all students in Alameda; and 3)Improving our Fiscal Resources

I will use my experience of working with the past 7 Alameda superintendents to judge and recommend an educational leader for Alameda who is compatible with the values and aspirations of our community. I understand education and have had 31 years of pre-school through high school teaching in Alameda. I helped develop our district's Vision, Master Plan and Goals, and know how to evaluate information and presentations presented for Board decisions. I have lobbied in Sacramento to change our inequitable funding status and have met with Alamedans who have proposals on how to improve our fiscal and educational well-being. The board must offer opportunities for community input_ and involvement. We need the best thinking from all segments of our community to face the challenges ahead.

4) How have you in the past and how will you in the future use your position to expand the presence and influence of Asian Pacific Americans in public policy and politics?
I have participated in a number of diversity trainings, and, as a special education teacher, my concern has always been for those persons who are neglected, under-represented or in some way "invisible" to the majority. I supported and participated in activities at Alameda's Multicultural Center and bring my love and knowledge of diverse cultures to any of my involvements.

District committees and staffing should, if at all possible, reflect the ethnic balance of our schools and community. I have supported this in the past and will in the future.

5) What have you done that demonstrates your commitment to and effectiveness in promoting Asian Pacific American interests in the following areas (and if you have not contributed in these areas, please discuss any area(s) in which you have made a contribution):
Over this past term I have worked with our Superintendent and other board members to develop an equity policy. The social and economic diversity of our island community demand that we continually pay attention to the needs of all students.

I am a co-chair (representing the AUSD) on the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families. I've worked to establish the "Season of Non-Violence" throughout our school district. This ACCYF event ends with a city-wide Speech Contest for middle and high school youth. We help agencies, such as the Asian Mental Health group, make connections with each other in order to better serve the community.

I have supported the efforts of our school district to establish "sister" cities (one last year in China) through which classes communicate with each other across the continents.

6) Additional information:
Growing up in San Mateo during World War Two, I was forever touched by the, almost overnight, loss of my Japanese schoolmates. My parents discussed the unfairness of their internment at Tanforan Race Track and I remember our later reunions in Junior High and High School. My schools and community had great diversity and I thrived with that experience.

Later, I became interested in social justice and was involved in the civil rights movement. I received my Master's Degree at Boson University School of Theology and, while there, did volunteer work with severely handicapped adults. This led me into the path of becoming a teacher.

As an educator, I not only advocated for my students and families, but became an advocate for my fellow teachers. I serve on the Executive Board of the Alameda teachers, was a representative to CTA State Council and was sent to many NEA Representative Assemblies. This broadened my experiences of making state and national education policy. Now I use this experience and knowledge as a school board member.

Thank you for this opportunity, Janet Gibson

Submitted: 22 September 2008