Berkeley School Board Candidates Forum September 27, 2012, 6-8pm, LeConte Elementary School

Amigos de Inmersión Dual de Berkeley (Friends of Berkeley TWI) is a group of parents and teachers dedicated to improving and sustaining the TWI program in the Berkeley schools. Visit us on the web at If you would like to join our low-traffic email list, please send an email to This event was organized entirely by volunteer parents. We incurred about $200 costs for food, translation services, supplies, and custodial services. If you can contribute to off-set these costs, we would be very grateful. There is a basket by the door to accept donations.

Biographies Provided by the Candidates
Judy Appel -- Judy is the mother of two BUSD students, with a long record of service to our public school students. She served as Oxford PTA President for two terms and on the Oxford Site Council for four years. She is currently one of two community representatives to the Superintendent’s budget advisory committee. She holds a deep love for children and a commitment to ensure that all students succeed in school. Judy is currently the Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, which promotes the equality and well-being of LGBT families. She works with school communities throughout California to create more welcoming and inclusive elementary schools. Judy formed the BUSD Family Diversity Task Force and later trained every BUSD teacher on the Welcoming Schools guide. Judy has worked for over 25 years for nonprofits toward full inclusion and equality across communities. Judy lived and worked in Central America for four years helping to reduce dependency on pesticides for small farmers. She has served as the legal director at both the Drug Policy Alliance and the SF Coalition on Homelessness. Judy was educated in the public schools from kindergarten through graduate school. She has a Masters in City Planning and a law degree. Norma Harrison --
End striving, getting ahead. Instead, let us enjoy. Richard Wolff just spoke in Berkeley, explaining school, that feeds people into the privileged, comfortable, the ruling class; and the majority of school, that feeds people into prison, poverty, low wages, uncomfortable jobs - which 'job' is. [start at 52mins for 3 minutes]. The Owning class owns our lives, steals our land, labor, water, voting, and we go to school to find we have to submit to the structure. We on the streets call for education, as though school is education. However, educe is the root of the word. Educe means that who comes, whatever their age and experience, people who come to school have content. This is not what is brought forward and enhanced by students' questions, answers, participation. We fool ourselves into thinking it is. But the structure - not really the teacher/s limit people's value. Several elements of the experience cause it. Age segregation is altogether wrong. We are all students and teachers all our lives. Alienation from that aspect of our nature clearly explains Marx; alienation. People ALL need to contribute to care of us all. Age is not the necessary delimiter of that participation. Someone has explained that school warehouses people who are not permitted to work. And it's not just school that does that. The job does it. Old-age residences do that. At NO age should a person be prohibited from what is production for our mutual satisfaction and benefit. School is the corporate-structured purveyor of what we need to 'get along'. It owns, through investing these in the teachers, history, science, art, 'gym', student theater, math/arithmetic, recess, toilet use. These belong integrated with us. A seat permitting this discussion needs to be on our board.

Tracy Hollander -- My work in the schools and the community, along with my teaching experience gives me the perspective of a teacher, a parent, and a community member. I received my BA in Philosophy (with an emphasis on educational philosophy) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and my California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from the University of San Francisco. I have taught preschool and elementary school in East Harlem, New York and the Bay Area. I was also a teaching assistant to students with disabilities. After my first child began preschool I interned with two different educational policy organizations. I have been very active in the Berkeley Unified School District PTA since my son started Kindergarten. I was PTA President at Rosa Parks Elementary for two years, on the School Governance Council there for three years, the PTA representative to the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee; I have been on the Executive Committee of the PTA Council since 2010, and am the current PTA Secretary at Longfellow Middle School. Throughout this time, I have been a volunteer classroom aid and tutor. I am a member of BOCA (Berkeley Organizing Congregations to Action), a faith-based community organizing non-profit. Our purpose is to raise awareness and move forward in solving issues around homelessness, immigration, youth violence and education. I serve on the education committee. Beatriz Levya-Cutler -- I was born and raised in a Spanish speaking household in the Mission District of San Francisco; my father is from Mexico City and my mother from San Antonio. I graduated from San Francisco State with my BA in La Raza Studies. I received my Masters of Arts from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development with an emphasis on Leadership Development. I have taught in Spanish as adjunct faculty in local community colleges in the early childhood department. I have two grown bilingual children who are graduates of Berkeley High. Xochitl is a nurse (Labor and Delivery) at Kaiser and Maximilio is doing a study abroad program in Germany. I am also a grandmother and I speak Spanish to my granddaughters. I have a lifetime commitment to providing bilingual education to children and adults. I believe that my 32 years with BAHIA has made an impact and has respect in Berkeley and the wider community. I am Co-Chair to the Chicana Latina Foundation that provides scholarships and leadership training to Latinas in the bay area and on the board of the National Latino Children’s Institute and Advisory Board member to Somos Familia, an organization that supports families with LGTBQ children/youth.

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