Getting to Know Linda Chavez
2018 Newly Elected Board Member
Alum Rock Union Elementary School District
Rarely does one meet a woman so dedicated to serving the needs of her community as Linda Chavez. The energy Linda exhibits attending meetings, learning, participating is remarkable. Prior to running for the board, Linda worked for 35 years managing a family-owned jewelry store. She was responsible for everything, from overseeing employees and their work to providing customer services, from loss-prevention to managing the finances and accounting, and advertising.
She remembers one incidence years ago working with her husband Frank, promoting the jewelry business on radio. The radio show was called “Life Stinks”. The station’s owners were reportedly atheist, which might discourage some Christians. But Linda and Frank learned to create a win-win situation for the station by learning how to operate the station’s equipment to allow the station’s employees to take time off from work. Linda and Frank formatted their own gig, bartered and told humorous stories while freely talking about God and their Christian faith. And they didn’t get kicked off the air! As it turned out, the owners of the station told them they liked listening to the show and thought the humor was hilarious. The experience taught Linda the importance of the win-win when working with others. The knowledge has carried over as she works with school board members. She makes working together on the board an enjoyable experience.
Linda retired in 2017 well versed in working with people. Thinking critically and creatively, today she is driven toward one major goal: “Do what is right for the children.” As a candidate for the Alum Rock Union Elementary School Board in 2018, Linda expressed a need to give back to her community. As a child, her immigrant Spanish-speaking Mom enrolled her in quality schools. Later, as a parent herself, she enrolled her three sons and daughter in Alum Rock schools. Recently however, with Alum Rock’s board members having lost their focus on students and with the district doing so poorly, Linda felt compelled to get involved.
Her campaign focused on her love for children and ability to connect with the community. Fluent in Spanish and English, she understands the families in her district – where 85% of the students are learning to speak English. Linda has no problem reaching out to the parents, putting the needs of children before her own, making education the center of her life.
Linda’s strategy on the Board of Trustees is to identify common goals and pass effective policies that will improve the quality of education in Alum Rock schools. She was immediately selected by other Board Members to be President of the Board because of her ability to reach consensus. She is a leader who believes that honesty and integrity are important for the moral character of elected officials. As Alum Rock is dealing with a deficit budget, Linda has focused on creating policies that will ensure there are enough resources available to upgrade deteriorating buildings and to have resources available to help students achieve the American dream.
Fighting for every student, Linda’s goals are to provide a quality education where standards are not lowered, where students come to school on time and eager to learn, where those with special needs get help outside the classroom so that they do not interrupt the instructions of the classroom teacher, where parents show their children they value education by teaching their children self-discipline and good character and by learning themselves to speak English. She believes it doesn’t matter if the student chooses to go to college, enters a trade, or attends a trade school, that perseverance and social skills are just as important as high test scores.
Reading through Linda’s campaign literature, it is obvious that she is a woman who considers the needs of other people equally with her own. Linda’s journey as a school board member has just begun. But in truth, she has already achieved much in her life. Linda Chavez is a woman of great faith in God and family, educated, accomplished, and devoted to her community.
[by Betty Sakai]