I became US Citizen in 2007, and registered as a Democrat right away with my grandpa. It was a life-changing moment in 2008, as I voted in my first election for our country’s first African American President. I know first-hand the power of a strong public education and how it can transform the lives of students and their families. In public schools, I started learning English in 2nd grade and had to navigate a new educational system not only for myself, but my parents as well. I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college, and I bring a student and community advocate’s voice to our school board.
Because education has transformed my life, I’ve focused my entire career on advocating for students and working families. I’ve mentored and coached high school students so they can graduate and find the right path. I’ve worked with parents and organized them so they can create positive change in their child’s education. I have also worked with our state legislators and other elected leaders on policy to benefit English Language Learners, working families, and communities of color in Oregon. Through the values I carry, and experiences I bring in creating effective partnerships, listening to communities, and focusing on the success of all children, I will be a positive addition to our school board.
Occupation: Civic Engagement Manager, APANO
Occupational Background: Girls Inc., 211info, SEIU Local 503, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
Educational Background: St. Mary’s Academy, 2004; Portland State University, Community Health, 2007, BS, Summa Cum Laude Prior Governmental Experience: United States Census Volunteer (2010); Taskforce on Minority Language Materials (2015); Precinct Committee Person
I am running for school board to support all of our students and their families. Every student deserves a quality education, a fair shot at success, and diversity is our strength. I have lived in the district with my family for 12 years, and have a decade of experience building successful partnerships. As an Academic Success Program Coordinator, I’ve worked with over 100 high-risk youth and their families through wraparound case management services.
As a Community Organizer, I’ve listened to the needs of diverse groups, and launched community-driven campaigns for affordable housing, healthcare, and English learner education. As a Civic Engagement Manager, I have built visibility for marginalized communities; I have specifically trained youth and parent leaders to testify in front of lawmakers to help bring positive change to Oregon.
My guiding principles:
- Partnership that builds trust between schools and families.
- Inclusive practices that support students of diverse backgrounds.
- Empowering marginalized voices to be at the decision making table.
Having seen the lack of leadership positions for women, Kathy decided to participate in Emerge Oregon, in hopes of running for elected office someday. She graduated from the program in 2013, and wants to inspire young women of color to be in elected office.
Awards Equity in Practice, 2016, Spirit of Portland Exemplary Volunteer, 2010, Asian Reporter Community Leadership, 2010, David Douglas HS
- Representative Jeff Reardon Rep. Karin Power
- Dave Hunt, Clackamas Community College Board
- Angel Falconer, Milwaukie City Councilor
- Linda Chelsky, CHS ASPIRE Mentor
- Dr. Alma M.O. Trinidad, PhD, Happy Valley parent and social work professor
- Clackamas Democrats
“A dedicated community advocate, Kathy will bring real-world dialogue and a 21st century perspective to district decisionmaking, focused on success for ALL students.” Cheryl Myers, former NCSD Board Chair
“Kathy brings energy and enthusiasm to everything she does. Her personal and professional experiences uniquely qualify her to be a voice for students and parents of NCSD.” Ashley Lawrence, Childcare Director, Former Special Education Teacher, NCSD Parent
Connect with Kathy
On her Website at http://www.kathywai.com/
on Facebook at Kathyforschoolboard