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Parent announces school board candidacy

Kathy Jordan joins incumbent, newcomer in November election

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Palo Alto parent Kathy Jordan, a staunch critic of the district's handling of student sexual violence, is the third candidate to announce a bid for two open seats on the Board of Education this fall.

Jordan is a district and PTA Council volunteer, former professional tennis player and graduate of Stanford University. She has become a watchdog of sorts since last spring, when media reports disclosed that a Palo Alto High School student who had been accused of sexual assault remained on campus.

Jordan speaks at nearly every school board meeting and has filed dozens of Public Records Act requests and complaints, including with the California Department of Education and U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, in what she describes as her "quest" to hold the school district accountable for its handling of this and other sexual-assault incidents. She sees this lack of accountability extending to other issues in Palo Alto Unified, including fiscal responsibility, transparency and students' civil rights.

"From what I'm learning and the experience we've all had in the last year -- my awakening -- it seems as though our students are not receiving the protections, benefits, services that they're entitled to under the law," she said in an interview Wednesday. "That's not right. If there's something I can do to help shift that, I would like to."

Jordan has two daughters, one a graduate of the district and the other attending a district middle school.

Jordan is an East Coast native who attended Stanford in the late 1970s. She went on to play tennis professionally, winning seven Grand Slam doubles titles. She also served as a player advocate for the Women's Tennis Association and on the organization's governing body, the Women's Tennis Association Tour.

In the early 1990s, she worked as a field representative and director on U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's campaign.

In the school district, she was co-secretary for Palo Alto Council of PTAs for four years, served as a parent network co-chair and volunteered on a district committee that recommended a new school calendar.

Jordan sees herself as an "independent voice" needed on the school board. She has repeatedly called for the termination of any administrators who mishandled two Paly sexual-assault cases, one in 2015 and another in 2016. She is pushing for the district to release an external law firm's report on the 2015 incident and sees its absence as indicative of deeper issues with accountability. She's also criticized the district's failure to properly notify its employee unions of an intent to reopen contract negotiations last year, costing $4 million in unbudgeted pay increases.

If elected, Jordan hopes to represent others in the community who she said share her concerns and restore a sense of broken trust in the district.

"I don't think (the) community has felt like it's been heard," she said.

"If you look at it as putting students first and also being respectful of students and families, if you're respectful of the taxpayer ... these are our taxes and these are our children," she added. "They should come first, in my opinion."

Jordan joins current school board President Ken Dauber and newcomer Shounak Dharap in the race. Dauber and board member Terry Godfrey's first terms will end this November. Godfrey is not seeking re-election.


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73 people like this
Posted by A PALY Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm

A PALY Mom is a registered user.

Finally, a current parent for school board! We have enough board members who sent their own kids to private schools (Ken Dauber, Jennifer de Brienza, Melissa Casewell) but run and sit on our school board, or a candidate (Dharap) who does not even have a kid yet!

I would vote for Kathy Jordan simply because she is one of us as a PAUSD parent, and chose to stay in the district!!!

49 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 3, 2018 at 7:28 pm

By far a great candidate and critical addition to the school board.
Thank you for running. We need more like Kathy
involved with our schools.

57 people like this
Posted by no vote here
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm

sorry if Kathy Jordan's main message is about Title IX then she doesn't get my vote. We have more important issues that actually have to do with teaching our kids. Title IX is an administrative disaster putting school administrators in difficult positions that are better handled by our justice system. I want my school administrators and teachers focussed on learning not impossible to prove "he said she said"

32 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Downtown North
on May 3, 2018 at 9:20 pm


27 people like this
Posted by not optimistic
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 3, 2018 at 11:07 pm

First off, I have to wonder if the PALY mom above knows enough about Caswell to say she sent her child to private school why doesn't she also know that Caswell is (or was recently) a Paly parent? So, for whatever reason, her kids didn't take the same educational path. As for Jordan, I know she cares a lot about one issue. I know she took a scorched earth approach to try to make things better at Paly and I doubt that that's what she achieved.

63 people like this
Posted by white elephant
a resident of Barron Park
on May 3, 2018 at 11:51 pm

FINALLY! I am so excited to have Kathy run for a seat on the board. Thank you Kathy !! :)

Kathy has integrity, she has been working hard to bring back responsibility to the administrators who are in charge of safety for our children. Students should not be bullied, harrassed, assaulted on campus while the adults/ adminitrators look the other way. Thank you Kathy for caring about all our children , their safety, and their peace of mind knowing that they will be supported. Kathy stands by fiscal responsibility and I know she will be a welcome addition to the board. She will do right by our students,

She has my vote.

43 people like this
Posted by Good
a resident of Barron Park
on May 4, 2018 at 1:50 am

Glad to see an honest broker who is not afraid of ensuring accountability.

Thanks for running.

30 people like this
Posted by Shounak Dharap
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 4, 2018 at 11:03 am

Shounak Dharap is a registered user.

I’m thrilled to welcome Kathy to the school board race! Kathy is clearly passionate about the welfare of our students and, like me, has some on-the-ground experience of the challenges they face. I wholeheartedly agree that we need to increase transparency and accountability in the district, and I look forward to sharing ideas with Kathy and the community. After all, transparency and accountability are necessary prerequisites to re-examining how we define success and empowering students for a future we don’t yet know.

28 people like this
Posted by Paly parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 4, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Kathy means well but she is way too rigid to be effective on the school board.

16 people like this
Posted by Anyone but
a resident of Barron Park
on May 5, 2018 at 3:59 pm

I’m voting for everyone but Kathy. I encourage others to do the same. Her actions toward pausd employees is a dark underbelly of the district. No thank you.

26 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2018 at 4:41 pm

@Anyone but

She’s exactly what the district needs !
The dark underbelly is the district itself.
MORE of Kathy Jordan ‘s drive and intelligence will help correct the misguided ship.

4 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of Downtown North
on May 6, 2018 at 4:03 am

I’m glad to see a Harley biker running for school president! Saw her cruise up to meetings on a sweet bike.

Agree that Title IX has morphed Into a disaster. Allegations of sexual assault need to be handled by the police, not untrained school officials.

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