I have worked on the "front lines" of youth and community development work in Berkeley ever since I moved here in 1991. During my time with the South Berkeley YMCA, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, and Berkeley Boosters Police Activities League, I have worked with some of Berkeley's most at-risk youth in programs designed to support their success in our public schools and help move them to higher education and to become successful, contributing members of our community.
During that time, I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most dedicated public servants and citizen activists that I believe our country has to offer. I have witnessed sacrifices of time, resources, and ego from people whose only concern was assuring that Berkeley's young people would have access to the highest quality education possible. I have seen people engage in rigorous public debate about one of our most intractable issues in the pursuit of that goal, the racial achievement gap.
I am supporting Julie Holcomb's candidacy to serve as one of our next BUSD School Board members for the simple reason that, in all of my time working on these issues, I have not come across a more credible, passionate, balanced and hard-working person. Her leadership skills, business experience and in-depth knowledge of BUSD issues, finances and community concerns is unsurpassed.
Julie recognizes that the racial achievement gap is a very real, very painful and very critical issue in our schools that goes to the very heart of our mission as a community and she is one of the few people I know who is able to balance the many emotions, facts, competing interests and politics and remain focused on assuring that ALL of Berkeley's children have their needs respected and met, and receive the highest possible standard of instruction and support. Meeting that need while making dramatic improvement in the achievement and success of our community's lowest performing students will be the single biggest challenge of the next several years as this district struggles with the ongoing challenges of seemingly endless funding cuts from the state.
I offer Julie my wholehearted, unabashed and highest possible recommendation for this job. Her years of experience as a successful small business owner, her length of time serving the district as a parent volunteer, community leader on BSEP issues, Co-Chair of the Planning and Oversight Committee all make her uniquely qualified to serve. She deserves our support!
David Manson was the Campaign Coordinator fo Measure A of 2006 and is Former Director of Berkeley Boosters