Mark Sanchez (politician)

Mark Sanchez (politician)

Mark Sanchez is an American politician in San Francisco, California. He was on the San Francisco Board of Education from 2001 to 2009, and served as president of the board from 2007 to 2009. Sanchez lost a 2008 election for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in District 9.


Biography and political career

Mark Sanchez was a long-time teacher in San Francisco. He founded Teachers for Change and Teachers for Social Justice before running for the Board of Education in 2000. In 2000, he became the first Green Party member and the second openly-gay Commissioner on the Board of Education.

Sanchez represented the opposition to then-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. The San Francisco Chronicle blamed Sanchez in part for the tense relationship the Board had with the superintendent:

What (Ackerman) doesn't need is sniping and second-guessing from elected officials whose job is to set broad policies, not micromanage the superintendent's daily conduct. Tensions between school board members and superintendents come with the territory. But in San Francisco, those tensions had gone far beyond the limits of acceptability. Three board members in particular—Eric Mar, Sarah Lipson and Mark Sanchez—need to start working with Ackerman, not fighting with her virtually on a daily basis.[1]

At a September 2003 meeting of the Board of Education, Sanchez was among "three board members with whom Ackerman has locked horns said they remain steadfast in their objections to her management of the district, which they characterize as autocratic and unyielding to differing views."[2] Ackerman resigned in 2005. Reported the San Francisco Chronicle, "Mayor Newsom said he was saddened but not surprised by Ackerman's resignation considering the ongoing bickering that has gone on between her and a faction of the school board. He said it was a shame to be losing the architect of the improvements within city schools."[3]

In January, 2007, Mark Sanchez was unanimously elected as the President of the Board of Education. His tenure as President included the hiring of new SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia, the shortening of the Board of Education's regular meetings, the debate over San Francisco's popular JROTC program and a resolution for Lennar Corporation to halt construction in Hunters Point Naval Shipyard because of health concerns.[4]

In 2003, commissioners Sanchez and Mar sponsored an anti-war resolution. "The original resolution called for promoting a district-wide anti-war rally and creating a curriculum culled from the resources of anti-war groups to be used from kindergarten on up."[5] However, other board members objected to the resolution, calling it one-sided and for taking students out of school to participate in the rally. "The proposal failed but a watered-down version that passed the board called for a day of on-campus public discussion about the possibility of a war in Iraq.".[6]

JROTC controversy

In 2006, the Board of Education voted to eliminate its Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corp program as an anti-war statement. Commissioners Sanchez, Mar, Kelly, and Lipson voted to eliminate the program, with Commissioners Jill Wynns and Norman Yee voting for keeping the 120-year-old program. Commissioner Eddie Chin was absent.[7] "Opponents said the armed forces should have no place in public schools, and the military's discriminatory stance on gays makes the presence of JROTC unacceptable."[8] One supporter of the program argued that the program is the only place the kids feel safe[8] AsianWeek magazine criticized the schoolboard for closing down the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps in San Francisco high schools: "Supporters of JROTC acknowledge problems with the U.S. military and gays, but say Mar and (Norman) Yee are discounting the tremendous benefit JROTC has provided to minorities and low-income students."[9]

In December 2007, during Sanchez' presidency, the Board voted 5-2 to postpone the elimination of JROTC because a replacement program had not been created. Sánchez and Mar were the only commissioners to vote for immediate elimination.[10] In June, 2008 the board discontinued the awarding of physical education credit due to the threat of a lawsuit.

In 2008, San Francisco voters overruled the Board of Education and passed Proposition V, which urged the San Francisco Board of Education to reverse its elimination of the JROTC program. The proposition passed 55 to 45 percent.

Campaign for Supervisor

In 2008, Sanchez ran for supervisor in District 9. He received the endorsement of the San Francisco Chronicle [1] He came in second in the race with 29 percent of the vote.

Principal of Horace Mann Middle School

In 2009, the San Francisco school board waived its own rules and offered Sanchez a one-year interim position as principal of Horace Mann Middle School.[11] In order to give Sanchez the position, board members suspended a 30-year-old policy that prohibited the district from hiring or contracting with former board members within two years of the end of their term.[12]

In March 2010, Horace Mann Middle School was put on California's 5 percent lowest-achieving schools list. Schools on the list were required to be closed, converted to charter schools, or subjected to a complete staff overhaul, including the principal. However, Sanchez was not replaced because regulations allow schools to keep principals who have been on the job two years or less.[13]

In July 2010, Horace Mann Middle School appeared on the state Board of Education's list of 1,000 schools deemed so bad that parents have the right to transfer their children to a better school in their district or any other district.[14]

In August 2010, a charter high school, Metropolitan Arts and Technology, began sharing the Horace Mann Middle School campus. The school was built to hold some 600 students, but enrollment in Horace Mann Middle School had dwindled to 330.[15] Some middle school parents were uneasy about their children sharing the campus with older high school students.[16]

In February 2011, the school district announced that Buena Vista, an elementary school with a well-regarded Spanish immersion program, would merge with Horace Mann to form a kindergarten through eight-grade school called Buena Vista Horace Mann. "We wanted to expand into a K-8," Sanchez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "There have been massive surveys of kids that show that kids feel safer in them. And they do better in testing."[17] When the 2011-12 school year began in August 2011, Maria Dehghan became principal of the new school.[18]

Principal of Cleveland Elementary School

In August 2011, Sanchez became principal of Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco.[19]


  1. ^ Editors (September 26, 2003) "Truce in the Schools." San Francisco Chronicle.
  2. ^ S.F. schools chief vows to stay in job
  3. ^ Knight, Healther (September 7, 2005) "Ackerman says she'll quit as schools chief." San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. ^ San Francisco Board of Education Resolution
  5. ^ S.F. schools join war on obesity, ban junk food / Soda, candy to be banished - but only from cafeterias
  6. ^ Knight, Heather (September 25, 2003) "Schools chief in S.F. hints at quitting." San Francisco Chronicle.
  7. ^ SAN FRANCISCO / School board votes to dump JROTC program
  8. ^ a b Ibid.
  9. ^ Staff Report (November 10, 2006) "End of the JROTC?" AsianWeek.
  10. ^ SAN FRANCISCO / Board approves year extension for high schools' JROTC program / Classes allowed to count for physical education credit
  11. ^ Tucker, Jill (May 14, 2009) "S.F. school board hires Sanchez as principal." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 11-7-2011.)
  12. ^ Tucker, Jill (May 12, 2009) "School board mulls suspending rule for Sanchez." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 11-7-2011.)
  13. ^ Tucker, Jill (March 9, 2010) "Tough choices for 12 S.F. schools in bottom 5%." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 11-7-2011.)
  14. ^ Tucker, Jill (July 16, 2010) "." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 11-7-11.)
  15. ^ Chavez, Lydia (June 21, 2010) "Charter High School to Share Horace Mann Space." (Retrieved 11-7-11.)
  16. ^ Raygoza, Octavio Lopez (January 12, 2011). "Two Schools, One Building." (Retrieved 11-7-11.)
  17. ^ Smith, Heather (February 7, 2011) "Two Mission District Educational Institutions Unite." (Retrieved 11-7-2011.)
  18. ^ Elston, Kate (September 28, 2011) "Growing Pains at New K-8 Aiming to Be One." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 11-7-2011.)
  19. ^ Elston, Kate (September 28, 2011) "Growing Pains at New K-8 Aiming to Be One." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 11-7-2011.)

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