SOMSD Board of Education Elections 2020


SOMA Justice and P.A.R.E.S (Parents in Partnership with Respect and Equity in SOMA Schools)  provided  questions to each candidate on addressing the issues of inequity and safety in our district (particularly in regards to vulnerable populations, i.e., POC, queer, special needs, immigrant, second-language learners, etc) 

Bleasdale Educational Research and Consulting gathered the responses and collated the data.

The candidate answers were analyzed by an independent research team (not connected to SOMSD). The research team evaluated the answers from a lens of equity and inclusion and based upon the espoused values/principles (i.e., accessibility, fairness, anti-racist, gender and sexuality affirming, prioritizing restorative justice, innovative, research-based) of the groups sponsoring the scorecard (P.A.R.E.S and SOMA Justice).

More details regarding the process including the questions and candidates answers, in full and their introductory videos can be viewed  here. 

5 candidates are running for 3 open seats

Bergin, SusanA
Engel, DeborahB
Finnern, MelanieF**
Malespina, ElissaF**
Winkfield, CourtneyA*

*Please note: Evaluators want to add commentary that Ms.Winkfield’s answers scored exceptionally high in relaying a clear and thorough understanding of the issues of race and equity and its application to PK – 12 education. The given scale could not account for this distinction and thus this footnote was added.

**Finnern and Malespina declined to participate.

Candidate running unopposed for one year term

Zubieta,Kamal F***

*** Zubieta did not respond to the invitation prior to the date of submission

Scale Used

A 90 – 100

B 80 – 89

C70 – 79

D 60- 69 

F: Failed to submit


For competitive seats in the BOE race:


Susan Bergin – participated evaluation pending

Deborah Engel – participated evaluation pending

Melanie Finnern -declined invitation

Elissa Malespina – declined invitation

Courtney Winkfield -participated evaluation pending

New this year – participant videos to be posted with the scorecard

Running unopposed for one year term.

Kamal Zubieta – no response to invitation.

Scorecard will be posted here ASAP !

Scorecard Launched for 2020

We are excited to launch our scorecard project for the 4th year in a row!

All candidates have been invited to participate. Answers due September 24. Check back here for regular updates.


Questions are reviewed updated annually with input from members of the two groups.

SOMAJustice/P.A.R.E.S. Questions SOMSD Candidates BOE 2020


  • Each candidate is  invited to submit answers to the questions
  • Candidates running on the same ticket must each submit their own answers.
  • Due to a tight deadline for researcher review and data analysis , late submissions can not be accepted. Candidates have until midnight on September 24, 2020. 
  • Please submit you ara answers in an MS word or google document
  1. . Do you believe integration changes proposed by Dr. Taylor in school year 2019-2020 and the district’s access and equity policy go far enough in addressing the issues of inequity in our district (particularly in regards to vulnerable populations, i.e., POC, queer, special needs, immigrant, second-language learners, etc)?  Yes or No Please clarify your answer.
  1.  This current integration plan relies heavily on professional development, but research shows that this is not an effective way to reduce bias. Do you have other specific ideas about what other forms of data the district could collect or actions it could implement to address the educational disparities in regards to Black students? Yes or No

Please clarify your answer (in addressing both segregation and the racial achievement gap)

  1. Realistic active shooter and lockdown drills are used nationwide with little to no evidence of efficacy in a real emergency. Are you open to implementing research-based policy on school security drills (within the state law), including replacing physical reenactments of active shooter drills with tabletop exercises (in which teachers explain and review emergency protocols in a lesson or game)?  Yes or No

Please clarify your answer.

  1. Do you think that the current policies in place for the SOMSD address the racially disproportionate discipline of students in regards to suspensions and expulsions, and the disproportionate number of students of color placed in special education? Yes or No

Please clarify your answer.

  1. Do you think that there should be more accountability in ensuring that educators in our district do not discriminate against students of color in the classroom in regards to curriculum, materials, or discipline? Yes or No

Please clarify your answer.

  1. Do you think the district should specifically address the social and educational disparities that result from the COVID crisis for those students who don’t have access to resources at home? Yes or No. 

Please clarify your answer. (If possible, be sure to specifically include mention of students with special needs in your response ) 

  1. Do you support the placement of School Resource Officers (police officers assigned to and stationed) in SOMSD schools.Yes or No

Please clarify your answer.

  1. Are you open to the creation of a small, special/private fund that will ensure that all students get access to the same lunch and forgiveness for small fees that hamper the receipt of a high school diploma?Yes or No

Please clarify your answer.

  1. Given that swimming and pool access has been eliminated as a part of the high school curriculum, do you think that the district should work to ensure access to swim education for all students in the district, especially those who do not have access to these lessons outside of school? Yes or No.  

Please clarify your answer.

  1. What are your two top priorities if elected ?
  1. If you are an incumbent please explain how you have worked to address race and inequality in SOMSD during your previous tenure.

Published by Jane Bleasdale PhD

Jane.Bleasdale, PhD is Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Leadership Studies in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco (USF). Dr.Bleasdale has lived and taught in the United Kingdom, The Bahamas and the United States, Her career as an educator now spans three decades. Dr. Bleasdale previously served as a high school administrator focusing on equity and inclusion through personnel and student development Her doctoral research focused on equity and inclusion in high schools and specifically the experience of Black, Latino and LGBTQ students. She has recently conducted research on social and emotional wellness of students, the impact of school leaders on creating inclusive communities and critical feminist perspectives on leadership.Current research focuses on the experience and impact of women leaders with intersectional identities. Dr.Bleasdale is the principal investigator on a participatory action research project at USF collaborating with 10 doctoral students on a new paradigm for equitable leadership focused on critical feminst perspectives.

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