Board of Education Candidate Shamann Walton Wants More Kids to Go to College
Last month San Francisco Board of Education candidate Shamann Walton held a campaign fundraiser at Omega House, which is located in a rundown neighborhood of Oakland. Walton held the East Bay event to garner support from the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, of which he’s a member. “As you know running for office can be expensive, and we have nine [fraternity] chapters in the Bay Area. In order to host a fundraiser in a neutral area, so that we could maximize on potential supporters, we chose our venue in Oakland,” Walton said. At the fundraiser Walton asked 50 of his fraternity brothers to donate $50 each to his campaign.
The candidate has three goals as board member: increase school district revenues; decrease the achievement gap between higher and lower achieving students, particularly Latinos, Pacific Islanders, African-Americans, and those with special needs; and increase the number of children who attend post-high school education, such as college or vocational school, as a means to improve students’ employment skills. “That's what leads our children to success,” Walton said. Walton wants kids to know how learning will affect their jobs and careers.
Walton is a San Francisco native, and lives in the Excelsior. He has two children, Monique, 21, a San Francisco State University (SFSU) student, and Malcolm, 20, who attends Solano Community College. Walton attended Cobb Elementary School, located in Pacific Heights, and El Dorado Elementary School, in Visitacion Valley. When he was 11, he moved with his mother to Vallejo. After graduating from Vallejo Senior High School in 1993, he earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, graduating with honors, and received a master's of public administration degree from SFSU.
Walton currently serves as the executive director of Young Community Developers, Inc., a $1.7 million workforce development agency located in Bayview-Hunters Point. He previously was the director of the Economic Opportunity Council of San Francisco's Potrero Hill Family Resource Center. Walton is a former classroom teacher in the Vallejo City Unified School District, and, according to his campaign website, has “developed and implemented academic, school readiness, mentorship and workforce training programs” in San Francisco Unified School District schools.
To increase funding for the school district, Walton wants to leverage resources from federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, to provide vocational opportunities for kids. If elected to the board, Walton plans to ask the district to invest more in teacher training and development, as well as make improvements to school facilities. He wants the board to “continue to pursue legislation for facilities improvements.” He suggested that the board use proceeds from the sale or lease of district properties that aren’t being used to pay for improvements. “I just want every kid to be successful,” he said.
Walton also wants the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Board of Education to work together more effectively. To close the achievement gap, Walton advocates that teachers have all the materials, training and enhancements they need. And he’ll ask for innovative programming and increased parent participation. “These are all our kids,” he repeated.
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