Ka’Dijah Brown elected as youngest president of Berkeley school board

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At 30 years old, former BUSD student Ka’Dijah Brown has been elected as the youngest president ever of the Berkeley school board.

A BUSD graduate, Brown said during her campaign for the Berkeley school board in 2018 that her former experience as a fifth-grade teacher allowed her to have a greater understanding of her impact on the school community.

“President Brown has brought a unique perspective to her tenure as a member of the BUSD Board, and during her time serving as Board President,” said BUSD Superintendent Brent Stephens in an email.

Brown is the only president of the board to simultaneously also work as a teacher, as reported by Berkeleyside. Brown taught a fifth-grade class at Making Waves Academy in Richmond where she was president of the School Site Council and an adviser for the Black Student Union, according to her 2018 campaign website.

During her 2018 campaign, Brown expressed her priority to diversify the school district’s staff. In 2018, only a third of the BUSD teachers were people of color, in contrast to 60% of the student population.

As a member of the school board, Brown hopes to diversify the district’s staff by prioritizing people of color when it comes to hiring and increasing affordable housing for teachers and giving them a salary that is more competitive.

“(Brown) views educational issues through the lens of a teacher,” Stephens said. “She has a keen lens for creating equitable outcomes, and understands the language of schools.”

Stephens added that Brown understands how classroom values such as mutual respect, support and high expectations are also effective when working with educators.

Berkeley school board Vice President Laura Babitt expressed that Brown’s previous work as a teacher brings different perspectives to the board and how their decisions impact the students of the district.

“As a Board, we are grateful to have President Brown as our captain to guide us through this next year,” Babitt said in an email.

Contact Luis Saldana at [email protected].