If elected, Beiser would become the first openly gay school board member, and first teacher to serve on the board in over 40 years.
(SAN DIEGO) Kevin Beiser, an award-winning San Diego teacher, has formally declared his candidacy for the San Diego Unified School Board, District B. If elected, Beiser would become the first openly gay member, and the first teacher to serve on the board in over 40 years.
“Major issues are affecting our schools, programs are being cut, kids are being left behind,” said Beiser. “I believe my personal and professional background make me the ideal candidate for this position. As a teacher I would be the only board member with current or recent experience in the classroom, which I believe is critical to understanding the challenges facing students and teachers today.”
Beiser is currently a teacher at Granger Junior High School in National City where he has received numerous awards for his work with children, including the 2008 San Diego Math Teacher of the Year by the Greater San Diego Math Council, and the Distinguished Service Award for his commitment and support to the program for Gifted and Talented Education. His most cherished award though came from the Granger students themselves when they named him the Most Inspirational and the Most Caring teacher.
Lisa Renay Burgess, whose son Wilem Torgersor is an eighth grader at Granger, and former student of Beiser, said her son was extremely upset that Beiser wouldn’t teach her son again this year. “How often do you have a child who is excited to be in an advanced math class?” she stated. “Mr. Beiser is the most enthusiastic teacher on campus and inspires each student to excel. He doesn’t just focus on a select few, but really makes sure every child has the opportunity to live up to his or her potential regardless of their background.”
“Ninety-percent of the kids in my classroom participate in free or reduced lunch programs," Beiser said. “These are kids living in poverty. I too grew up in poverty. My family and I lived in a tent and homeless shelter for a few years. It was then that I made a conscious decision to be the first from my family to graduate from high school and attend college. And I want others to have the same opportunity to excel through a great education.”
Burgess added that Beiser’s passion for teaching isn’t just in math, but “the overall education of each child across all subjects.”
“The first time I saw Beiser he was the Cat in the Hat for the school’s literacy night,” said Burgess. “His passion for making sure students are motivated is so moving.”
Beiser is an advocate of lowering class sizes, promoting electives to inspire students, and improving test scores – issues he has focused on at Granger, and those he said he wishes to focus on across the city should he become elected to the Board.
At Granger, Beiser has helped to increase the school’s Academic Performance Index (API) from 604 to 781. An API score of 800 or higher is deemed to be an outstanding performing school.
“Research shows that students who are in smaller classes are more comfortable asking questions, and the teachers can provide more one-on-one attention to students that may be struggling,” added Beiser. “By providing students with a solid foundation, especially in elementary school, the API goes up as we promote each student’s success through middle and high school, thus increasing graduation rates.”
“And for the sake of improving test scores we absolutely must preserve and enhance elective opportunities – foreign languages, band, and art,” Beiser said. “I’m concerned that electives are being cut in order to put more focus on math and English. Athletics, and other electives are important to team building, offer a buy-in to school and allow for character development.”
While Beiser acknowledges his way around a classroom, he acknowledged administrative skills are equally important to the job as a school board member.
“I believe a person’s experiences inform who they become,” Beiser said. “My experiences growing up poor and fighting for my education, my experiences in the private sector as a retail manager, building and cultivating relationships, and my real-classroom experience all combine to give me a unique perspective on what our kids need to be successful in our public schools.”
Kevin has served in various leadership positions, including Mathematics Department Chair, Professional Learning Community Team Leader, Faculty Advisory Committee, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment District Committee, Link Crew Adviser, Math Field Day Adviser, Math Club Adviser and Cat in the Hat for literacy night.
Beiser resides in Serra Mesa, and has called San Diego home for over a decade.