Northwest Asian Weekly
After a long and accomplished record of public service as a city councilmember and working with the Seattle School District, Cheryl Chow announced Wednesday, May 27, ahead of next week’s filing period for elective office, that she will not run for a second term on the school board.
Chow said it was time to close the chapter on politics and public office in her life and focus on other priorities.
“I’m very proud of how far we have come in the last four years to put the Seattle School District back on the right path and lay a firm foundation to ensure the success of our kids,” she said in a statement. “With the loss of my mom, Ruby Chow, last year, I’ve come to realize that there comes a time to walk away from the public spotlight and focus my energy on other personal goals. Now is that time.”
When Chow ran for the school board four years ago, the district lacked vision, focus, and civility on the board. Chow believed that the voice of an experienced educator and policymaker was needed to get things back on track. The voters agreed and elected her into office in 1990 with 54 percent of the vote.
Chow insists that she is not retiring. “That word is not in my vocabulary,” she said. She plans to continue to work as the low-income outreach program director with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, to lead the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill team, and to coach youth basketball through the Seattle Parks Department.
As for her thoughts on the immediate future and challenges facing the school district, she said, “I’m more confident now, after the past four years, that we have an increasingly unified community that recognizes the importance of public education, and that we cannot fail our kids. … The Board is committed to working together with the superintendent, and most importantly, willing to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions. I am confident we have a strategic plan in place that will raise academic achievement and give all children the tools they need to be successful.”
Chow herself is a product of Seattle public schools, attending Bailey-Gatzert Elementary, Washington Junior High School, and Franklin High School. After finishing graduate school, Chow became a teacher at Hamilton International Middle School. ♦