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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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New Haven Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Michael Ritchie

Michael Ritchie

9,052 votes (18.24%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve graduation rates
  • Close achievement gaps
  • Expand education programs, such as Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM)



Profession:Marketing Professional
Marketing Consultant, Critical Info (2002–current)
School Board Member, New Haven Unified School District — Elected position (2012–current)
School Board Member, New Haven Unified School District — Appointed position (2011–2012)


San Jose State University Bachelor of Arts, Advertising (current)

Community Activities

Volunteer and Committee Lead, American Cancer Society, Union City Relay for Life (2008–current)
Various roles: Communications Director, At Large, Currently Vice President, New Haven Schools Foundation (2011–current)


I have served as a New Haven School Board member for the past five years and I was board president in 2015.  I am also the board representative for the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA). I was the co-founder of the New Haven Boosters Association, which raised money for New Haven schools in order to retain co-curricular programs.  I have served on school site councils at Kitayama Elementary School, Cesar Chavez Middle Schol (also Chairman) and James Logan High School (also Chairman).  I am a long time board member of the New Haven Schools Foundation and currently serve as Vice President.  My wife, Lorrene, and I have three children all three of which attended and graduated from New Haven Schools.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (3)

  • Tri-City Democrats
  • Alameda County Democratic Party
  • New Haven California School Employees Association (CSEA)

Elected Officials (12)

  • Eric Swalwell, U.S. Congressman
  • Bill Quirk, CA State Assemblymember
  • Bob Wieckowski, CA State Senator
  • Richard Valle, Alameda County District Supervisor, District 2
  • Carol Dutra Vernanci, Mayor, Union City
  • Emily Duncan, Vice Mayor, Union City
  • Pat Gacoscos, Union City Councilmember
  • Lorrin Ellis, Union City Councilmember
  • Sarabjit Cheema, New Haven School Board Trustee
  • Linda Canlas, New Haven School Board Trustee
  • Eileen MacDonald Trustee, Alameda County Board of Education
  • Pat Danielson, Trustee, Washington Hospital Board

Individuals (6)

  • Barbara Aro-Valle, Former, New Haven School Board Trustee
  • Gertrude Gregorio, Former, New Haven School Board Trustee
  • Tommie Lindsey, Director James Logan Forensics Program
  • Gary Singh, Candidate, Union City Councilmember
  • Bob Garfinkle, Former Union City Mayor and City Council Member
  • Jenn Stringer, Former, New Haven Unifed School Board Trustee

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Michael Ritchie:

New Have School Board and district staff have enthusiastically embraced the state’s Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control and Accountability Plan.  These efforts include involving community members at each school site and a collective effort district wide to provide input on our funding formulas and metrics on student outcomes.    The board has directed staff to provide regular extensive reports showing progress towards reducing achievement gaps and increasing graduation rates for all monitored sub-groups.  

Questions from League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark, Union City (4)

Comment on your district’s implementation of the common core standards?
Answer from Michael Ritchie:

New Haven has fully embraced implementation of the Common Core Standards.  Implementation includes extensive teacher and staff training and integration into our Local Control Accountability Plan.

Do you support Proposition 51 ($9 Billion Bond for school construction and maintenance? Please explain your reasons for supporting or not supporting this Proposition.
Answer from Michael Ritchie:

Yes, I am in full support of Prop. 51.  While our own district has recently passed a school bond measure, we are only able to implement a portion of the facility upgrades identified in our master plan.  As I know investment in education has slowed over the last number of years, I am certain with appropriate safe-guards and policies included in the measure, Prop 51 funds will put to excellent use state-wide. In my view, education should be one of the very top priorities for state funding.  

What are your plans to deal with bullying in schools?
Answer from Michael Ritchie:

The goal for our district is to eliminate all bullying and other forms of harassment and discrimination.  Teachers and staff are trained to identify and halt bullying, harassment, etc.  District staff are aware elimination of bullying is a top board priority.  A system is also in place to lodge and track complaints.

There have been several studies that indicate that the high school students are under a tremendous amount of stress.  What can you do to help alleviate that?
Answer from Michael Ritchie:

Several programs and methods exist to help New Haven high schools students deal with stress.  Our large high school is divided into three houses for more personal attention by staff and teachers.  Students also have the option to attend still smaller schools or programs (including Conley Caraballo, Institute for Community Leaders, band, forensics, athletics, various clubs, etc.)  that provide even more adult support.  Students also have access for additional support from the community health clinic, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center.

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