Heading to class in 1st grade with flowers for teacher.

Heading to class in 1st grade with flowers for teacher.

Attending the Pride mixer hosted by Silicon Valley Business Journal. Photo Courtesy Otto Focus Photography

Attending the Pride mixer hosted by Silicon Valley Business Journal. Photo Courtesy Otto Focus Photography

Awards & Service positions

Born just outside of Chicago and a San José resident for more than fourteen years, my story is about more than just my experiences. I am thankful to share with you more about myself. To know why I am running and why I am so passionate about community service, it helps to know my story.

Like many working families, my parents sought to build a better life for their family. When I was child we moved to Nebraska, but after several years, we returned to the Chicago area to help care for my grandmother’s declining health. The first of many of my life’s changes influenced by health. After graduating high school in Waukegan, I attended Indiana University on full scholarship. However, changes in health, this time my own, would lead me back to Chicago, and set my life on a new direction.

As a young individual struggling to find identity during the 1980’s,  the value of community was important.  Being positive gained new meaning and while fighting for life, I began to learn about the fight for social justice with my new community. My involvement during this effort taught me more about the value of service, and how to affect change. Chosen by the local health department to educate the community, there were some incredible opportunities to learn and grow. I was fortunate to be appointed by Mayor Daley’s initial Title one Advisory Committee during this time and was able to impact many through peer education and by just being open about my life.  

In 1994, after being told to buy a cemetery plot, I would meet the man who has been by my side ever since. Jeff committed to be my partner through whatever came our way. Unlike too many family, friends, and community leaders, I was one of the lucky ones, and my body responded to treatment. Jeff’s career as a healthcare technician would provide him opportunities to travel, and in 2001 we made our first stop in the Bay Area. 

After brief periods in Boston, Orlando, central Illinois and Iowa, Jeff was offered to return to the west coast. Our trip to San José in 2004 was the last stop for our travels and one year later he was offered a permanent position. Due to my health concerns, legal and cultural restrictions, we were uncertain if we would be able to start a family, but upon settling in San Jose, we knew that was a place we could see that change. Here we started the long and difficult process of foster-adoption, we also chose to stop being renters, and sought to be homeowners.

Alum Rock was our top destination to raise our family. While our first offer for a home in this neighborhood was unsuccessful, we found our home moved to Alum Rock in 2010, just in time to count in Census 2010. One year later our son, Tim, completed our forever family. Since we have been Alum Rock residents I found opportunities to volunteer with the school district and advocated for our families, students and community.

Since 2013 I have been Chair of the Alum Rock Union School District Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee. We have helped to insure the bond funds are properly expended. In the last two years, we have seen mismanagement and poor choices of our current trustees cause the district embarrassment and invasive investigations. I have supported these when requested and look forward to a time when our district will be considered stable. Until then, I will continue to advocate on behalf of the entire community, including students, teachers, neighbors and families. 

I am now asking for your vote because I believe it’s time for a change on the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees. We need to build on our success and stop ignoring the voices of residents. The district needs new perspective from trustees who do not have so many entanglements and are not legend for the chaos which surrounds them. We must have collaboration and cooperation to heal the wounds of the past and i am ready to be part of that team.

On day one I am committed to:

- Listen and respect the needs and priorities of our community, instead of businesses who want to profit from our children.

- Keep the Board focused on our most important priority: making sure our students have access to a world-class education.

- Direct taxpayer bond money where taxpayers want it: to provide safe and secure schools where our children can succeed.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, I look forward to getting to know you and how we can work together for the students of Alum Rock Union School District. ~ RM

The images on this site are from various places, and events. Some of the images are selfies, others from a professional lens.
Thanks to Jeff Leech, Bruce Meisner, Gailan Sabin Gray M.F.A., Robert Benscoter, Nhat Meyer/Bay Area News Group and Jo-Lynn Otto for capturing these moments.
Formal Portraits by Luis Pedro Castillo Pictures.