School Board member Jenny Lam, who was appointed by Mayor London Breed, is running for election against two challengers. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Mayoral appointees hold on to school board, CCSF seats

San Francisco school board incumbent Jenny Lam was winning the battle to keep her seat Tuesday night.

Lam, who was appointed in January by Mayor London Breed, and also serves as Breed’s education advisor, is being challenged by artist and tenants rights advocate Robert “Bobby” Coleman and SF FILM development director Kirsten Strobel.

As of 11 p.m., Lam was far in the lead with 71.7 percent of the votes. Coleman received nearly 11.6 percent of the vote and Strobel nearly 16.4 percent.

Lam, a second generation Chinese American, has told the San Francisco Examiner previously that her priorities include addressing SFUSD’s achievement gap, increasing support for English learners, educator recruitment and retention and integrating technology in classrooms throughout the district.

She previously served as the director of community initiatives for Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a leading social justice nonprofit that advocates on behalf of Chinese Americans and the broader Asian and Pacific Islander community in San Francisco. Lam also co-chaired the San Francisco Unified School District’s Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee, which advises the school board and superintendent on distributing the local funding.

Lam’s contenders have told the Examiner that they were inspired to run for a seat on the school board for the November election after a unanimous vote in June to paint over a controversial mural depicting genocide and slavery inside of George Washington High School.

District officials have said the decision was made out of a desire to respect the feelings of African American and Native American students. However it sparked a national controversy and debate over art preservation and whether the district should cover or make use of the depiction of troubling chapters in American history.

City College of San Francisco Trustee Ivy Lee will be easily re-elected to her position, too. As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night she had 99.6 percent of the vote.

Lee, who for five years served as a legislative aide to former San Francisco supervisor and mayoral candidate Jane Kim, was appointed to the college’s board of trustees in July 2018.

Lee has helped spearhead the effort to provide free tuition to San Francisco residents attending City College through it’s “Free City “program and this year worked to secure permanent funding for the program.

In September, Lee delivered the sole vote against a host of administrator raises and called for an independent audit into administrators’ pay scales.

Lee is a former civil rights attorney for the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, leading efforts to combat human trafficking.


CCSF Board member Ivy Lee, who was appointed by Mayor London Breed, smiles while chatting with host Alex Clemens at the traditional Election Day luncheon at John’s Grill on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Lee is running unopposed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

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