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Breed names replacement appointees for San Francisco school board

Mayor London Breed will announce her picks this morning to fill the three San Francisco Board of Education seats opened up by last month’s historic recall election.

Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi, Lisa Weissman-Ward will replace Gabriela López, the board’s former president, and former commissioners Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga—all of whom were ousted by voters on Feb. 15—the mayor's office has confirmed.

Hsu is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur who became a highly active participant in the recall campaign after being elected president of the Galileo High School PTA last summer. She also organized a voter outreach task force for Chinese speaking voters. Motamedi is a program director and Ranger at the National Park Service and is also co-chair of the Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee at SFUSD. Weissman-Ward is Associate Director of the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.

The question of who Breed might appoint has been a topic of intense speculation since the beginning of the recall effort—and not only due to strong community feelings surrounding district leadership.

The Board of Education has historically been a stepping stone to higher office. Supervisors Shamann Walton and Matt Haney are two recent examples local politicians who parlayed their time on the Board of Education into a leadership position within City Hall.

“This is probably one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make as it relates to appointments because of the significance of what this means and what the people of San Francisco expect of who I will appoint,” Breed said the morning after the recall election.

Pending the upcoming special elections, Breed may also appoint replacements for Haney—the District 6 supervisor is running for Assembly District 17—and District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who faces recall in June. She will also be appointing the replacement for Police Commission President Malia Cohen, a former supervisor who stepped down last week to run for state controller.

The new board members will be jumping into weighty decisions: choosing a new superintendent, implementing budget cuts under state watch, a new student assignment system meant to desegregate schools, student protests over responses to sexual harassment and assault allegations, and an educator vacancy crisis. 

Student delegate Joanna Lam said she hoped the new commissioners came in open-minded and took their time to digest the issues.

“I don’t want them to come in with a preset agenda or preconceived notions,” Lam said. “It is a big role. I’m sure they know that there’s a lot of eyes on them. Ultimately, I’m hoping they have the right intentions and are student-centered.”

The Board of Education will have its first regular meeting with the new board on Tuesday, March 22 at 5 p.m.

Mike Ege contributed to this report.

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