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November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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San Mateo-Foster City School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Annie Tsai

Annie Tsai

Businesswoman / Parent
6,783 votes (31.7%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Transparent, Accountable Budgets & Investments: I commit to looking at every decision from the standpoint of a healthy, balanced budget and clear accountability and transparency around what success looks like for our students.
  • Educator/Staff Retention & Housing Affordability: I commit to ensuring we have a comprehensive program that understands why educators & staff leave, works to close those gaps, and helps them live near the communities which they serve.
  • Equity & Opportunity: I commit to ensuring we have meaningful funding and effective programs to improve equity & inclusion and the opportunity gap in our district.



Profession:CEO, Education Technology Consultant, Mother
CEO, ETC Leadership, LLC (2018–current)
Committee Member, San Mateo County Housing & Community Development Committee — Appointed position (2019–current)
Committee Member, San Mateo County Emergency Medical Services Committee — Appointed position (2018–current)
CEO, EdioLabs (2017–2019)
Chief Customer Officer & Head of Human Resources, DoubleDutch (2014–2017)
Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Customer Officer, DemandForce, acq. Intuit (2010–2014)
Director, Marketing Strategy & Customer Experience, PGi (2004–2010)


University of California, Berkeley Bachelors of Arts (2001)


As a resident of San Mateo County since 1988, I've been so fortunate to grow up with access to high-quality public education from incredible educators that have been a part of their community for years. This is what I am working for, for all of our children. 

I was born in Michigan in 1979 where my dad took his first job after grad school. Our family returned back to the west coast a few years later, and in 1988 moved from San Francisco to Millbrae, CA where my sister and I grew up. My husband and I have known each other since we were in middle school, and in 2012 we settled in San Mateo so we could start and raise our family. We have a six-year-old son who is the first grade in our district and absolutely loving it. 

My experience attending school in the Millbrae School District, San Mateo Unified High School District, and the University of California at Berkeley has left a powerful impression with me on what is possible for public education - and I am passionate about the promise of public education for all in our district. Core to my belief system is that learning happens everywhere for children, and it takes a community to nurture that learning. We are all busy, I know. But, I also know that it's imperative that we come together as a community to build trust and open lines of communication with clear fiscal accountability, increase educator and staff retention, and ensure that we are supporting the whole child in order to best prepare all of our children for the incredible adventures that lie ahead of them. 

My professional background has thoroughly prepared me for the challenges and responsibilities of being a Trustee of our school district. For the past 18 years, I've built, grown, and led teams and companies through good and tough times. Today, I help companies solve business challenges and develop employees to achieve their leadership potential. My areas of expertise are strategic fiscal accountability, customer and employee retention strategy, and branding and communications. From a career of developing strategic and fiscal acumen, as your board trustee, I will make sure that every dollar is invested as effectively as possible.

Aside from this skill set, which I feel is a critical asset to the Board, I have a deep and empathetic understanding of the challenges facing our educators, students, families, and school district. I have a young child in our district, am a PTA board member, have spent hundreds of hours observing teachers working in classrooms and interviewing administrators/staff, and worked in the community to help ensure 9 years of funding for teacher/staff retention, outstanding school programs, enhancement of STEM classes, and support of classes for the arts via Measure V.

For the past several years, I have spent a large part of my time giving back to my community. I currently sit on San Mateo County's Housing & Community Development Committee and Emergency Medical Services Committees, two services which are critically important to maintaining the safe, healthy, and diverse communities that we enjoy in this county. I'm so proud to be a part of the solution with bringing affordable housing units to our residents and am energized by the idea of applying my experience to helping solve housing affordability for educators and district staff.

Lastly, I have worked hard to listen and build relationships with the community and our local governments, and am confident that we will be able to work together to thoughtfully solve the challenges we face in the coming years.

Our family will be a part of this school district for another eight years, and I am committed to giving my everything to all of our children. Thank you for your consideration in this very important decision. I hope you will join me in bringing this mission to life! 

With Regards,

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Mateo Daily Journal
  • San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association

Organizations (3)

  • San Mateo County Central Labor Council
  • San Mateo County Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus
  • Carpenters Union Local 217, San Mateo County

Elected Officials (28)

  • Don Horsley, San Mateo County Supervisor District 3
  • David Canepa, San Mateo County Supervisor District 5
  • Diane Papan, Mayor, City of San Mateo
  • Rick Bonilla, City of San Mateo Council Member
  • Eric Rodriguez, City of San Mateo Council Member
  • Joe Goethals, City of San Mateo Council Member
  • Nancy Kohn Hsieh, Former San Mateo-Foster City Board Trustee
  • Eric Olbekson, President, Highlands Recreation District Board of Directors
  • Art Kiesel, Former Mayor, Foster City
  • Ed Coady, Former President, San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Trustees
  • Catherine Mahanpour, Foster City Council Member
  • Gina Papan, Millbrae City Councilmember
  • Mark Nagales, South San Francisco Council Member & HEART Board Member ​
  • Sara McDowell, San Carlos City Council Member & HEART Board Member
  • Julia Mates, Belmont City Council Member
  • Amy Koo, Belmont-Redwood Shores School District Board Member
  • Carrie Du Bois, Sequoia High School District Board Member & Past President San Mateo County School Boards Association
  • Peter Hanley, San Mateo Unified High School District Board Member
  • Robert H. Griffin, San Mateo Unified High School District Board Member
  • Marc Friedman, Vice President, San Mateo Unified High School District Board & Past President, San Mateo County School Bo
  • Melodie Lew, Former San Mateo-Foster City Board Trustee
  • Chelsea Bonini, Former President, San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Trustees
  • Charles Stone, Belmont City Council Member
  • David Bauer, Former City Councilmember, Belmont
  • Gary Pollard, Former City Councilmember, Foster City
  • David Lim, Former Mayor, City of San Mateo
  • Linda Koelling, Former Mayor, Foster City
  • Pam Frisella, Former Mayor, Foster City

Individuals (34)

  • Elizabeth DeWinter, San Mateo Public Library Board Trustee
  • Julie MacArthur, Educator & President, San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association
  • Chris Hsiung, Commissioner, City of San Mateo & Law Enforcement Executive
  • Mike Etheridge, Chair, City of San Mateo Planning Commission
  • Naomi Hsu, Vice President, Bay Meadows Neighborhood Alliance, Measure S Oversight Committee Member, & SMCTA Citizens Adv
  • Anna Kuhre, President Emeritus, San Mateo United Homeowners Association & Former Public Works Commissioner
  • Linda Seguenza, Educator and Former SMFCSD Parent
  • Tara Clark, Educator & George Hall Elementary Parent
  • Patricia Matthews, Community Volunteer
  • Yen Pang, Analyst & College Park Parent
  • Marilynn Kaplan, Former Foster City Parents Club President ​
  • Nu Lai, Educator & Parent
  • Shareen Lal, North Shoreview Montessori Parent
  • Hema Mohan, Rising SMFCSD Parent
  • Ian McCullough, Parent & Former Measure V Campaign Committee Member
  • Julie Lee, Educator
  • Christina Lee, Educator & Parent
  • Randi Paynter, ScD, Public Health Scientist & Foster City Elementary Parent
  • Alesa Quock, Registered Nurse & George Hall Parent
  • Amit Saini, Rising SMFCSD Parent & Foster City Resident
  • Michelle Territo, Educator & Parent
  • Vanita Tewari, Marketing Executive & Foster City Elementary Parent
  • Linda Tong, Educator & Founder of Genius Learning Early Education Center
  • Rebecca Woodruff, LCSW, School Social Worker & Parent
  • Eric Park, Engineer & Parent
  • Melissa Hobbs, Social Worker & Parent
  • Alan Canas, Former Burlingame Parents Club President
  • Mark Henderson, PhD, Public Policy Professor & Former SMFCSD Parent ​
  • Karen Eng-Toda, IT Professional, Mompreneur, Burlingame Parents Club Board Member, & George Hall Elementary Parent ​
  • Lisa Denney, Parkside Montessori Parent, PTA Secretary, & Research Administrator
  • Steven Davis, Special Education Advocate & San Mateo Park Parent
  • Michael Darling, Parkside Montessori Parent & Realtor
  • Karen Bettucchi, Former Millbrae Education Foundation President & Parent ​​
  • Amy Connors, Parkside Montessori Parent

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Our Binding Agreement. I believe that as a community, we must do choose to move forward with a binding agreement that respect, collaboration, and transparency are core values. Furthermore, it is important and necessary to ensure that we are as a board asking the right questions to staff and the community, come prepared and informed to our sessions, and are not afraid to respectfully challenge the status quo in order to best serve our children and the evolving needs of our community. 

For All Kids. Everything for me is about our children. I will always look at our challenges from the lens of "how does this impact all stakeholders?" with the students being the priority. Our reality is that it's likely that every challenge we face will require trade-offs of some sort. This is where clear and transparent communication of our vision and plan are so important - we must all understand how the puzzle pieces fit together in order to see how we can best work together and ensure our dollars are most effectively spent. 

Collaborative Solutions. Many of the problems our district is facing or will face in the coming years are not going to be unique to our district alone. As well, solving these challenges will almost certainly have a better outcome when we work with the cities represented in our jurisdiction, our neighbors, and partners to look beyond what has been and instead envision what is possible. I commit to this community that I will always approach the challenges we face with a data and community informed view and use that as the starting point for supporting the conversation around "what's possible" and "what's right for our kids".

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