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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Local

City of San FranciscoCandidate for Board of Education

Photo of Rachel Norton

Rachel Norton

School Board Member
129,012 votes (13.86%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ensuring every child in SFUSD receives an excellent education
  • Improving teacher retention and making sure teachers earn enough to stay in San Francisco
  • Making our student assignment system fairer and more predictable for families

Experience

Experience

Profession:Member of the Board of Education since 2008; public school parent
Interim Chief Executive Officer, San Francisco Parks Alliance (2013–current)
Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education — Elected position (2008–current)
Communications Consultant, Self-employed (1998–2013)
Editorial Director (part-time), FORA.tv (2007–2008)
Art Director, CNET.com (1996–1997)
Graphics Editor, The New York Times (1990–1996)

Education

Barnard College Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), English (1988)

Biography

Rachel Norton has served on the Board of Education since January 2009, and served as Vice President and then President of the Board in 2012 and 2013.  She has served as a member of  the California School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly since May 2009, and was appointed to the organization’s Legislative Committee in January 2012. At various times during her tenure on the Board, she has chaired the Rules, Curriculum, Budget and Student Assignment committees.

Previously, Rachel served as co-chair of the Site Council at Argonne Year-Round Elementary School and as a classroom volunteer. She served on the SFUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education between 2005 and 2008, and has been an active member of Parents for Public Schools – San Francisco (PPS-SF) since 2001. She volunteered for the Autism Speaks Bay Area Advocacy Committee between 2006 and 2008, working to secure health insurance coverage for kids with autism (in 2012, the California legislature finally passed insurance coverage for speech, occupational therapy and behavioral treatment for autism spectrum disorders). In June 2008, she graduated from the Emerge California program, which helps Democratic women gain the political skills they need to run for public office.

An editor and writer, Rachel has worked at The New York Times, Reuters, and CNET:The Computer Network. In 1996, she created the Visual Journalism course at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, which she co-taught for two semesters. Between 2007 and 2008 she worked as the part-time Editorial Director for FORA.tv in San Francisco and has done paid writing, editing and consulting for PPS-SF. She is currently the Interim CEO at the San Francisco Parks Alliance, a nonprofit that seeks to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain and enrich San Francisco parks, recreation and green open spaces.

Rachel Norton has served on the Board of Education since January 2009, and served as Vice President and then President of the Board in 2012 and 2013.  She has served as a member of  the California School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly since May 2009, and was appointed to the organization’s Legislative Committee in January 2012. At various times during her tenure on the Board, she has chaired the Rules, Curriculum, Budget and Student Assignment committees.

Previously, Rachel served as co-chair of the Site Council at Argonne Year-Round Elementary School and as a classroom volunteer. She served on the SFUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education between 2005 and 2008, and has been an active member of Parents for Public Schools – San Francisco (PPS-SF) since 2001. She has also volunteered for the Autism Speaks Bay Area Advocacy Committee, which is working to secure health insurance coverage for kids with autism. In June 2008, she graduated from the Emerge California program, which helps Democratic women gain the political skills they need to run for public office.

An editor and writer, Rachel has worked at The New York Times, Reuters, and CNET:The Computer Network. In 1996, she created the Visual Journalism course at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, which she co-taught for two semesters. Between 2007 and 2008 she worked as the part-time Editorial Director for FORA.tv in San Francisco and has done paid writing, editing and consulting for PPS-SF. She is currently the Director of External Affairs at the San Francisco Parks Alliance, a nonprofit that seeks to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain and enrich San Francisco parks, recreation and green open spaces.

A product of California public schools, Rachel was born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., and graduated from Berkeley High School. She has a degree in English from Barnard College and is married to Tim Norton. They rent an apartment in the Richmond district and enjoy the rich experience of raising their two teens in an urban environment.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Francisco Democratic Party
  • United Educators of San Francisco
  • Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Organizations (4)

  • San Francisco Women's Political Committee
  • San Francisco Building and Construction Trades
  • San Francisco Examiner
  • San Francisco Chronicle

Elected Officials (15)

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • State Senator Mark Leno
  • Fiona Ma, State Board of Equalization
  • Assemblymember David Chiu
  • Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu
  • Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco Board of Education
  • Shamann Walton, Vice President, San Francisco Board of Education
  • Matt Haney, President, San Francisco Board of Education
  • Scott Wiener, San Francisco Supervisor, District 8
  • Norman Yee, San Francisco Supervisor, District 7
  • Assemblymember Phil Ting
  • Mark Farrell, San Francisco Supervisor, District 2
  • Eric Mar, San Francisco Supervisor, District 1
  • London Breed, President, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Katy Tang, San Francisco Supervisor, District 4

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I first took office in the wake of the Great Recession, and watched the district’s unrestricted general fund shrink by about 25 percent between 2009 and 2012. Now, state funding for education has begun to recover. San Francisco has made new investments in teacher salaries, technology and Common Core implementation, but those investments aren’t enough to build the schools we all envision and deserve. And if the economy slows just as temporary sales taxes expire in 2018, the picture could quickly worsen.  As the Board’s budget committee chair the last two school years, I’ve made sure the Board is focusing on funding the right priorities for our district.

Learn more about my second-term accomplishments.

I also closely monitor our student assignment system and have pushed for changes to make it fairer and more effective. I’ve spent significant time monitoring our curriculum reforms such as Common Core implementation (particularly the controversial math sequence) and proposed improvements to address the concerns of constituents.

Finally, San Francisco is changing — it’s growing rapidly and income inequality is at a stunning high. Our school system has to get more nimble in adapting to change,  and I’m focused on planning for the future. We need to get busy building new schools and developing a more robust recruitment pipeline for teachers and school leaders — and to do that, we must pay teachers more so that we can attract and keep our educators in San Francisco. We spend thousands of dollars per teacher on professional development each year, so every teacher we lose to a higher-paying district represents a lost investment.

Here are my specific positions on these issues:

Videos (3)

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