Understanding Ann Hsu, a San Francisco school board candidate, through interviews by 6 Bay Area Asian Leaders
When Ann was 11 years old, her family came to the United States. Her family fled China as her father was forced into a reeducation camp during the Cultural Revolution, and Ann and her brother were banned from ever getting a college education. They settled in Erie, Pennsylvania where Ann was one of only 40 Chinese people in the city of 250,000 and the only Chinese person in her graduating high school class of 600 students. Ann went onto gain her BS in electrical engineering from Penn State University, then MS in electrical engineering and MBA from UC Berkeley.
Ann and her family came with nothing to the United States, and education was a critical component of her family’s development and growth as citizens of the United States.
Ann is fluent in both Chinese and English. Her college education was as an engineer focused on analyzing problems by using data and then finding solutions. She then became an entrepreneur, founding and running her own high tech company for 13 years where again those critical elements were the basis of her success. In the last four years, she devoted herself to her family — her husband who had a stroke and then Parkinson’s disease, her parents who were both in their late 80’s and had failing health, and her twin sons who are now 16 years old. She devoted all of her time and energy caring for her family. And when her father and husband passed during the pandemic, Ann re-focused her energy towards the school system where her twin sons were attending and became the PTSA President at Galileo High School. In addition, she responded to the call for parents to join SFUSD’s Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) and stepped up to become its Chair.
During the pandemic, Ann saw first-hand the toll that remote learning was taking on her sons, especially one son. As the PTSA President, she also saw that the pandemic impacted not only students but families with 2 income earners — parents who were not able to work or stay home to oversee their children.This motivated Ann to join the Recall School Board movement, especially giving voice to Chinese parents who did not speak English but who were frustrated with the lack of support and leadership from SFUSD. During this period of time, Ann was learning first hand from the Chinese immigrant community the challenges they too were facing to navigate SFUSD. Using her language and leadership skills, she helped to organize and lead the Chinese/API Voter Outreach Taskforce that registered 560 voters in just 6 weeks. The Chinese voting bloc helped secure the landslide victory where over 70% of voters voted “Yes” to recall the 3 school board members.Ann’s experience as the PTSA President of Galileo High School, the Chair of CBOC and her leadership with the Chinese/API Voter Outreach Taskforce is unique in that it has given her first hand exposure to SFUSD’s internal issues as a parent and a community member.
Ann is trained as an engineer who focuses on data to analyze the situation without bias to external pressures, to use this data to develop a solution to address a problem and to test the solution with metrics. Ann is an entrepreneur accustomed to acting when sufficient information is acquired to develop a plan of action and to act; knowing that metrics need to be established in order to understand the success or failure of the plan…and then to adjust without blame or rancor. Ann is a parent and community member who understands the need to listen with an open ear and mind to the differing voices and concerns.