SV School Board, District Five: Ching vs. Johnson

Posted on October 16, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun

In their own words, meet the two candidates for Area Five of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Britta Johnson

I fell in love with Sonoma sharing a Basque baguette, Vella cheese, and wine with my now-husband under the Plaza Palm tree in 1989. A year later, the vibrant and diverse community of Sonoma became our home, the perfect village for raising a family.

High-quality public schools are the heart and soul of our community. Every student walking through our school doors embodies the dreams of today and tomorrow. There is no distance we shouldn’t go for our children, which is why I so firmly believe working together to support public education lifts everyone and nurtures those dreams to fruition. 

School Trustee leadership is vital to securing a bright future for our 4,000 students. A 20-year record of effectively improving our public schools across the Valley first as a volunteer and recently as a trustee, makes me uniquely qualified to continue as the Area 5 School Board Trustee. My effectiveness and success have earned the endorsements of all my fellow Trustees, Sonoma’s Mayor Logan Harvey and all his fellow City Council members, County Supervisor Susan Gorin, Sonoma County Board of Education Representative Gina Cuclis, the Democratic Party, the North Bay Labor Unions, and Senator Mike McGuire as well as many distinguished community members.

I have the acquired insight and experience of a parent whose daughters attended Prestwood, Adele Harrison, and Sonoma Valley High. My own experience proves that our public schools can provide an excellent education as my eldest two daughters graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 and 2020. My youngest will begin Stanford in the fall of 2021. 

Before joining the School Board, I deployed skills acquired through my 26-year career in Biotech to launch three highly successful student-focused initiatives: Prestwood Direct, Love Our Libraries, and the SVHS “I Choose” banner campaign. I also ran the Prestwood Jog-a-Thon for 7 years and led a team of volunteers to upgrade the High School and Middle Schools’ websites.

Despite the last few years of unusual stress on our teachers, administrators, and families, our School Board has become a cohesive team. Through prudent financial planning, hard work, and stable leadership, we are financially sound, have rebuilt reserves, increased teacher pay 11.5%, and renovated classrooms. We have also established new curricula, intensified our commitment to special education, electrified our bus fleet, laid the foundation for data-driven continual improvements, and focused greater attention on social, emotional, and physical health. As a unified Board, we have reformed elections so that every student and family in our Valley has an equal voice in our school governance.

Our public schools are facing unprecedented challenges in this pandemic, calling for an experienced and positive team leader to navigate the uncertainty that lies ahead. I am dedicated to our community and energized to continue working towards a brighter future. 

 Continue our progress by voting for Britta Johnson on November 3rd.


Anne Ching 

I am running for Sonoma Valley School Board (Trustee Area 5) because I care deeply about our schools and have been an ardent advocate for excellence in public education for almost two decades. I have played an active role in our local education system and served in a number of capacities, including Board President and board member of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation; a member of the District’s Measure H Bond Oversight committee, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and various strategic planning task forces; a volunteer tutor for the AVID program at Sonoma Valley High School and El Verano’s Read Naturally program; and a PTO member at Flowery and Adele Harrison Schools. 

I have been a Sonoma resident for 20 years and have raised two daughters, who attended Sonoma public schools from kindergarten through high school. I continue to attend school board meetings and argue for greater accountability of student outcomes and district finances even though my children have moved onto college. 

I believe that the combination of my educational background and professional experience make me highly qualified to serve on the Board of Trustees. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard and worked as a policy and economic analyst at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Since then, I have had an extensive 15-year career building predictive analytics and risk management tools for the mortgage housing finance industry. One of many strengths I would bring to the School Board is a data-driven approach for evaluating problems and policies. Not only am I skilled in complex data analysis and modeling, I understand how to read and dissect financial statements. As a past member of the Measure H Bond Oversight Committee, I gained in-depth knowledge of school finances and understand the importance of strong fiscal management for the success and stability of our schools. 

In addition to my education and experience, I have deep ties in the Latino community and also speak Spanish fluently. Throughout my children’s K-12 education, I actively participated in Latino parent groups (ELAC and Dual-Immersion). I continue to stay connected with the Latino community as a volunteer instructor for a citizenship class offered through Sonoma Immigration Services, a local non-profit.

If elected, my priorities in the near term are to support policies that bolster distance learning, address learning loss in the spring and plan for safe and effective transition back to the classroom. In the longer term, I feel strongly that our district needs to reform employment policies in order to recruit and retain outstanding teachers and staff. Equally important is the need for a strategic plan, not lofty statements that collect dust on a shelf, but one with goals that can be measured to improve student outcomes. 

Please join me in building a school district of which we can all be proud.


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